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Is there any specific rule for why the word "Büro" uses the "das"-Artikel or is it just one of those "just memorize it" words?

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    Why do you consider the office in any way special compared to other ‘just learn them’ words? – Jan Jun 8 '17 at 19:57
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    Why is it "der Löffel", but "die Gabel" and "das Messer"? Genus is just one of those things you have to learn when learning new words, it doesn't follow any rules. – Polygnome Jun 8 '17 at 20:01
  • For some categories of words there are anyway rules (or rules of thumb), e.g. those ending on -ion are usually female. I suppose, the question is if Büro (or Bureau in the older spelling) is part of such a group. – Christian Geiselmann Jun 8 '17 at 20:07
  • Well, there are indeed some rules that cover a big amount of words and in case of doubt, you have a good chance to figure the right article. My personal argument is that it is because from the French "bureau" and just germanized and thus an international word and those are mostly "das". I just wanted it confirmed (or denied). – Kai Jun 8 '17 at 20:12
  • Here is a nice etymology for the English bureau, which is, of course, based on the French bureau: etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bureau However, it does not help with the genus issue. – Christian Geiselmann Jun 8 '17 at 20:24
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Am I misguided considering that many words ending on -o are neuter in German?

das Büro

das Klo

das Bistro

das Velo

das Chateau [okay, probably in analogy with das Schloss]

das Tableau

das Stroh [?! - probably only coincidentally]

das Holdrio [yes, confirmed by Duden; not to be confused with der Hallodri]

das Bordereau / das Bordero [however, Duden accepts both das Bordero and der Bordero]

However

der Espresso

der Cappuccino

der Bardolino (may also be because of der Wein)

der Risotto [Duden says it is der, although where I grew up in Germany it is definitely das - which Duden calls Austrian]

So, perhaps, words ending on -o unless they are Italian? No! Because of

das Allegro

das Allegretto

das Presto

das Largo

das Sforzato

das Diminuendo, das Crescendo

etc.

So, words on -o, unless they are Italian food?

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  • That would confirm my idea...those words are all (except Stroh) not German, but derived from French (or Italian in the case of Risotto) – Kai Jun 8 '17 at 20:19
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    Stroh was a joke, anyway. For Risotto, Der Duden suggests der Risotto and claims that das Risotto was in use only in Austria. Which I doubt, as I am from Germany (okay, grown up in the South) and we say das Risotto there. – Christian Geiselmann Jun 8 '17 at 20:35
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    Der Espresso and der Cappucino obviously because they are just der Kaffee. – Janka Jun 9 '17 at 6:20
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    der Po, der Dildo, der Euro, der Flamenco, der Latino, der Maestro, der Mephisto, der Mafioso, der/die Mambo, der Kosovo, der Trafo, der Porno, der Oregano, der Pluto, der/das Storno, der Tango, der Tornado, der Torso, der Zoo, der Voodoo — größtenteils lateinischen Ursprungs, aber ich hab das Gefühl es gibt kaum germanische Wörter, die auf O enden. Soweit ich das richtig überblicke, ist auch keines der Wörter in deiner Antwort germanisch. (Ausnahme: Stroh) – Em1 Jun 9 '17 at 7:36
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    @Em1. Schöne Liste. Bei Kosovo ist jedoch anzumerken: In der Tat wird das oft als der Kosovo bezeichnet, doch jedem slavisch Sprachkundigen sträubt sich das Rückenfell, denn in allen slavischen Sprachen sind auf -o endende Substantive sächlich. Also das Kosovo. Ich meine, dass Zeitungen,die Wert auf Qualität legen, das auch so benützen. – Christian Geiselmann Jun 9 '17 at 9:49
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Yes Büro derives also from the French. In the 19th century it was still written Bureau even in German, cf. Brockhaus. Note, that the word can mean the room as well as the group of people working there, see Duden, e. g. in

Das ganze Büro war in Aufruhr.

Especially in the latter meaning neuter is really convincing.

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    Still, bureau being of French origin anyway does not explain neuter, or does it? – Christian Geiselmann Jun 8 '17 at 21:13
  • How does that answer the question? – Hubert Schölnast Jun 9 '17 at 11:18
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Integration of loanwords in Germany usually works using the article of the appropriate meaning in the target language. During that time Bureau has most likely been associated with a German word which has the article "das".

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    Dann wäre es "die Klo(sett)" und "die Bistro", um einfach mal zwei andere (mehr oder weniger direkt) aus dem franz. entlehnte Wörter zu nehmen. Wobei die Grundaussage deiner Antwort grundsätzlich richtig ist. Das Problem ist hier vielmehr die Frage. – Em1 Jun 9 '17 at 9:39
  • Bei Klo(sett) und Bistro muss man erforschen, was das deutsche Bezugswort bei der Bildung des Artikels war. Es heißt z.B. "Die SMS" wegen "Die Nachricht". – äüö Jun 9 '17 at 10:26
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    @äüö: In Österreich aber »das SMS« und (vorwiegend) auch »das E-Mail« (und das Joghurt, das Cola, das Keks aber der Spray, der Radio, der Gummi und die Ausschank, die Schneid). Alle Regeln, die du aus der Analyse der im deutschen Deutsch üblichen Genus-Zuordnungen einfallen, musst du immer auch mit den österreichischen Zuordnungen abgleichen. In vielen Fällen gibt es schlichtweg keine Regel. – Hubert Schölnast Jun 9 '17 at 11:17
  • @HubertSchölnast: Ich habe meine Antwort auf Deutschland eingegrenzt, da hier diese Regel greift. – äüö Jun 12 '17 at 7:45
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If in doubt you can fall back on.

Der --> männlich

Die --> weiblich

Das --> neutrum

As a Büro is not a living thing and therefore gender neutral you could call it das. But that is just one of the many rules that you could use to explain something that essentially follows culture/tradition.

Also see der Arbeitsraum vs. das Arbeitszimmer. Both refer to the same thing, just using a different compund word which in essence then determins the article being use.d

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