I first came across the concept of gender in language in a Spanish textbook years ago. Back then, I was new to language learning and I couldn’t quite comprehend the concept that every language has a different structure. My knowledge of languages came from my native tongues of English and Mandarin Chinese. Even then, the concept of “structure of languages” wasn’t familiar to me – I can’t describe what structures exist in my native tongues too. It was a mindblowing moment indeed – and I was rather shocked at the prospect of needing to know the gender of every word. Where’s the logic? What are the rules?
Years later, I’m less myopic (lol) about languages and I loveee seeing how each language has its own unique characteristics. That said, I’m still rather overwhelmed by the concept of gender.
Just learnt that Russian has 3 genders (male, female, neutral) and there are (thankfully) rules that govern the gender of the word (by the last letter of the word). Well, there’s still exceptions, but I’m still thankful. Read somewhere that there are languages that don’t quite have rules governing the gender of the word (!), not sure if that’s indeed in the case.
That said, I’m still very stumped over how a male university student (студент) and female university student (студентка) is differentiated, but doctors (врач) are not. Nooo I cannot comprehend.
Does the concept of gender exist in your native tongue / target language? How do you learn them? Please share with me!