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In German there are few nouns that have no article and thus seemingly no gender:

Examples

Google
Nahost
Nord
Allerheiligen

In the example "Nord" we could overcome this by using "der Norden" instead:

Die Schiffe kamen alle aus dem Norden, der in Richtung ihrer Heimat liegt.

But how would I build this sentence using "Nord" or in case of any of the other examples:

Die Schiffe kamen alle von Nord, [der/die/das] in Richtung ihrer Heimat liegt.
Die Schuld liegt allein an Google, [der/die/das] die Suchergebnisse nicht korrekt filtert.
Ich hörte nichts Gutes aus Nahost, [der/die/das] Heimat vieler Konflikte ist.
Wir treffen uns immer zu Allerheiligen, [der/die/das] in Bayern ein Feiertag ist.

What grammar rules help me to build these relative clauses correctly?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can safely treat these words as neutral when formulating clauses. Therefore, it's das in all of Your examples.

This rule does not apply to names of persons. They are used without article, but do have a gender:

Hier kommt [no article!] Fred, der heute gut gelaunt aussieht.

Das ist [no article!] Anna, die ihren Freund mitgebracht hat.

Esp. for company names, the issue is avoided in German by adding the legal form of the company:

Das sind die Zahlen der BMW AG, die in diesem Jahr einen großen Erfolg hatte.

(AG = Aktiengesellschaft, feminin)

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But even names of persons can be used with article, am I mistaken? See this question for example: "ich bin die Gigili" –  user508 Feb 26 '12 at 12:46
2  
You may use names with article in southern parts of Germany and in Austria (and in the TV-show "Sendung mit der Maus" ;), i.e. when talking to small children). However, You are always on the safe side if You don't use articles with persons' names. –  Black Feb 26 '12 at 13:05
    
Makes sense, thank you. –  user508 Feb 26 '12 at 13:14
1  
@Black Your answer is exactly right. I would only add that using "wo" or "was" and the like to start the Nebensatz is another way around the problem. :-) –  Kevin Feb 27 '12 at 16:41

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