Site Feedback

Undecided questions
Italian: Feminine and Masculine

I was wondering why the Italian language has masculine and feminine words? It's so far pretty easy to speak but I'm worried I won't be able to remember when I speak it. Is it important to say the masculine and feminine words?

For learning: Italian
Base language: English
Category: Uncategorized

Share:

0 comments

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

     

    Answers

    Sort by:

    Becca, the use of gender in language goes very deep in language history. It is intrinsic to both ancient Greek and Latin, and ancient Hebrew has it as well. In that sense English is something of an exception in dropping it. I don't know enough of the old Anglo-Saxon to know if it used gender.

    I well understand your preoccupation with remembering the correct gender. Yes, it is important. And yes, you will make mistakes. :) That is okay; keep going. Since gender is not part of how native English speakers think, we must acquire it, and that takes time and sometimes demanding focus. If it is of comfort, I occasionally hear native Italian speakers correct themselves on gender in mid-sentence.

    One source for excellent listening practice is the podcasts of the RAI, the Italian national radio network, at http://www.rai.it/. I have a number of programs that I follow. A good podcast summary page for RAI3 is http://www.radio3.rai.it/dl/radio3/Page-ddd8f97e-d1a5-4a0f-94a0-9db44bd29c68.html. There are of course other channels that may be of more interest to you.

    Hello Becca,

    Yes it is important and essential ,otherwise the gender will not be recognized in Italian.
    In English when you say :
    "The driver arrived at time".
    You will know the gender from the context or the pronouns mentioned before and after this sentence.
    In Italian it is made precisely distinctive by adding an 'a' to feminine nouns and an 'o' to masculine ones.They mostly all follow this simple rule, which makes it easy to memorize.
    I don't think it is confusing or difficult to practically use it when speaking.
    It is a matter of time and practice,that you get used to applying those distinctive qualities of nouns in Italian language.It is not only for the nouns actually, it extends to articles and adjectives as follows:

    Becca è una brava raggaza.
    Becca is a good girl
    Marc è un bravo raggazo.
    Marc is a good boy.

    Obviously this differentiation between genders is crucial in the language. Just keep practicing until it becomes an easy job.
    Good luck:)


    Submit your answer


    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.