4 In Others / General

#4 Gender in Russian language

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!

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  • Reply
    5 October, 2019 at 5:01 AM

    i recommend the who is she stories on lingq! they’re fun and effective.

    • Reply
      13 October, 2019 at 9:40 PM

      oooo will give it a try thanks!

  • Reply
    14 October, 2019 at 4:07 AM

    Hey, in my native language, German, the nouns also have a gender (female, male and neuter). However they do not have a certain ending and you have to learn the gender for each one individually. Some are easy to guess e.g. the word for woman ,’die Frau’ , is female and ‘der Mann’ (the man) is male. The word for boy is ‘der Junge’, which is male. Makes sense right? But then there is ‘das Mädchen’ (the girl), which is neuter. We do have a way to show the gender of a noun. In German there are three words for ‘the’ (der,die and das). They always have the same gender as the following noun. ‘Die’ is female, so if you look at ‘ die Frau’ (the woman) you will know that ‘Frau’ is female. But like in English you don’t always need an article before a noun. So really the only thing you can do is to learn the gender 🙂

  • Reply
    16 November, 2019 at 12:19 PM

    my first language is German, which has the same three genders. it’s also one of those fun languages where, though there may be hints with certain endings and such, you may not have a clue what gender a word has. fortunately, all plural nouns are feminine. there are also four cases. I wasn’t even aware of gender and such until I was exposed to certain aspects of English and Spanish… it just didn’t occur to me haha

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