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This is rather late in the day, but I recently stumbled upon a post on "Belles Lettres" on this very topic and was much impressed.

(NOTE: The video is 84 minutes (!) long and includes pretty in-depth 
background information on linguistics, language history etc. 
- a lot of the things he says won't make sense if you haven't at least 
a nodding acquaintance with this stuff. Also, his choice of examples 
is sometimes a bit off, but he makes several excellent points.)

(Note: The video is 84 minutes (!) long and includes pretty in-depth background information on linguistics, language history etc. - a lot of the things he says won't make sense if you haven't at least a nodding acquaintance with this stuff. Also, his choice of examples is sometimes a bit off, but he makes several excellent points.)

This guy does offer a (for me) somewhat surprising view on the topic:

He shows that the grammatical "genus" has only a more or less coincidental connection to "gender", because "Mann" and "Frau" were thought to be somehow "representative" of their grammatical category (genus). What had happened in early history was that people started to use additional endings to express certain aspects.

The first addition was a group of endings to say that "this is an inanimate object" - this became the "neuter" genus.

The second addition was a group of endings to say "this is a group of things/people" - this became the "feminine" genus.

The nouns that didn't take a new ending stayed in the "old" default form - later called the "masculine" genus.

  • The first addition was a group of endings to say that "this is an inanimate object" - this became the "neuter" genus.

  • The second addition was a group of endings to say "this is a group of things/people" - this became the "feminine" genus.

  • The nouns that didn't take a new ending stayed in the "old" default form - later called the "masculine" genus.

So, no real gender, just grammatical categories that got rather muddled over time.

What this means for the question in hand is this: There are basic guiding rules but also a ton of exceptions - the rules will help somewhat, but you'll still make mistakes. This shouldn't bother you too much, because it happens to everyone. :)

The bit of the video that was really stunning was how he showed the way this allows pretty accurate predictions of what genus new words will likely develop oferover time. (around the 00:34 mark). This will blow your mind. :)

This is rather late in the day, but I recently stumbled upon a post on "Belles Lettres" on this very topic and was much impressed.

(NOTE: The video is 84 minutes (!) long and includes pretty in-depth 
background information on linguistics, language history etc. 
- a lot of the things he says won't make sense if you haven't at least 
a nodding acquaintance with this stuff. Also, his choice of examples 
is sometimes a bit off, but he makes several excellent points.)

This guy does offer a (for me) somewhat surprising view on the topic:

He shows that the grammatical "genus" has only a more or less coincidental connection to "gender", because "Mann" and "Frau" were thought to be somehow "representative" of their grammatical category (genus). What had happened in early history was that people started to use additional endings to express certain aspects.

The first addition was a group of endings to say that "this is an inanimate object" - this became the "neuter" genus.

The second addition was a group of endings to say "this is a group of things/people" - this became the "feminine" genus.

The nouns that didn't take a new ending stayed in the "old" default form - later called the "masculine" genus.

So, no real gender, just grammatical categories that got rather muddled over time.

What this means for the question in hand is this: There are basic guiding rules but also a ton of exceptions - the rules will help somewhat, but you'll still make mistakes. This shouldn't bother you too much, because it happens to everyone. :)

The bit of the video that was really stunning was how he showed the way this allows pretty accurate predictions of what genus new words will likely develop ofer time. (around the 00:34 mark). This will blow your mind. :)

This is rather late in the day, but I recently stumbled upon a post on "Belles Lettres" on this very topic and was much impressed.

(Note: The video is 84 minutes (!) long and includes pretty in-depth background information on linguistics, language history etc. - a lot of the things he says won't make sense if you haven't at least a nodding acquaintance with this stuff. Also, his choice of examples is sometimes a bit off, but he makes several excellent points.)

This guy does offer a (for me) somewhat surprising view on the topic:

He shows that the grammatical "genus" has only a more or less coincidental connection to "gender", because "Mann" and "Frau" were thought to be somehow "representative" of their grammatical category (genus). What had happened in early history was that people started to use additional endings to express certain aspects.

  • The first addition was a group of endings to say that "this is an inanimate object" - this became the "neuter" genus.

  • The second addition was a group of endings to say "this is a group of things/people" - this became the "feminine" genus.

  • The nouns that didn't take a new ending stayed in the "old" default form - later called the "masculine" genus.

So, no real gender, just grammatical categories that got rather muddled over time.

What this means for the question in hand is this: There are basic guiding rules but also a ton of exceptions - the rules will help somewhat, but you'll still make mistakes. This shouldn't bother you too much, because it happens to everyone. :)

The bit of the video that was really stunning was how he showed the way this allows pretty accurate predictions of what genus new words will likely develop over time. (around the 00:34 mark). This will blow your mind. :)

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This is rather late in the day, but I recently stumbled upon a post on "Belles Lettres" on this very topic and was much impressed.

(NOTE: The video is 84 minutes (!) long and includes pretty in-depth 
background information on linguistics, language history etc. 
- a lot of the things he says won't make sense if you haven't at least 
a nodding acquaintance with this stuff. Also, his choice of examples 
is sometimes a bit off, but he makes several excellent points.)

This guy does offer a (for me) somewhat surprising view on the topic:

He shows that the grammatical "genus" has only a more or less coincidental connection to "gender", because "Mann" and "Frau" were thought to be somehow "representative" of their grammatical category (genus). What had happened in early history was that people started to use additional endings to express certain aspects.

The first addition was a group of endings to say that "this is an inanimate object" - this became the "neuter" genus.

The second addition was a group of endings to say "this is a group of things/people" - this became the "feminine" genus.

The nouns that didn't take a new ending stayed in the "old" default form - later called the "masculine" genus.

So, no real gender, just grammatical categories that got rather muddled over time.

What this means for the question in hand is this: There are basic guiding rules but also a ton of exceptions - the rules will help somewhat, but you'll still make mistakes. This shouldn't bother you too much, because it happens to everyone. :)

The bit of the video that was really stunning was how he showed the way this allows pretty accurate predictions of what genus new words will likely develop ofer time. (around the 00:34 mark). This will blow your mind. :)