Of the 'Le' & 'La'

Dee-Banson-08

Dee-Banson-08

Hi. I am a new man around. I hope this forum can help my French grow. The course is not bad at all. By the way, is there any sure-bet way or a useful guide to readily know which form of le or la a particular word takes. I find this a hurdle for now. Of course it is pretty easy with living things as their sexes is a ready guide. Any clues? Thanks in advance. Dee'Banson

Hi there, welcome to the forum. I hope you really enjoy learning French with Rocket French. Getting used to the concept of nouns having a gender can be quiet confusing to start with. But it could be worse. German has THREE different genders, so luckily French has only two. Here is an explanation of genders from the second Rocket French grammar lesson: Gender definition is at the heart of French communication. This is what gives the language balance and harmony as you learn to speak it and write it. The concept of gender can feel confusing for new students of the French language. Having a gender does not mean that nouns actually refer to male or female things, although, in most circumstances, the nouns that refer to males (such as a male doctor or a male animal) are masculine, while nouns that refer to females are generally feminine (such as a female doctor or female animal). In many situations, you will be able to distinguish between masculine and feminine nouns by the distinctive association to a gender. For example, the sun tends to be associated with masculine imagery, and in French we find that its gender is also masculine: “le soleil”. The moon tends to be associated with feminine imagery, and, in French, it is feminine: “la lune”. In this Lesson Plan, there will be repeated clues to help you understand this concept better with word endings and the short words used before the noun, known as the article “the” in English and “Le” and “La” in French. ? Le = masculine article, the, e.g. Le soleil. ? La = feminine article, the, e.g. La lune. It is important to note that without “le” in front of “soleil”, and “la” in front of “lune”, the words are incomplete and incorrect! You may find it impossible to figure out the gender of other nouns, however. For example, how would anyone know whether “a table” or “a cup” is masculine or feminine? (“La table” and “la tasse” are both feminine.) You won’t be able to figure out the gender of most nouns from their English equivalents. Once you know the word in French, however, you’ll be able to figure out the gender by becoming familiar with its sound and where it fits in the rhythm of a sentence. In everyday conversation and communication, we use nouns all the time. As we continue to talk about nouns in French, it’s useful to talk about both living things and abstract things so that we can understand the concept of gender. As mentioned previously, the article (“the”) before a noun in French is not only an integral part of the root word, but is also a major clue to the gender of the word. In other words, as you learn new words, you will always be learning them with either a Le in front, as in “Le soleil”, “the sun”, or a “La” in front, as in “La lune”, “the moon”. This will help you to begin categorizing genders as you build your conversation skills. ? As a general guide, groups of words termed masculine often end with a consonant, and groups of words termed feminine often end with the vowel e. Note that there are plenty of exceptions to this guideline! ? Le is always in front of a masculine noun, and La is always in front of a feminine noun, unless the noun is a plural, or the noun begins with a vowel I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any further questions :D
Dee-Banson-08

Dee-Banson-08

Hi Nathalie, Thanks for that response, not bad at all. Let me just hope as you reckon, that i'll get used (get the hang of it like your Paul will say) to knowing the gender of the noun(s) as i learn the words. Do the Germans actually have three genders to contend with? Unbelievable! I know you did not start the French language (or German) but don't you think it would av been a lot too easy to get around the languages/words without the genders. Like in English for example, a 'cup' is a cup and a 'table' is a table, sans no need for any gender qualification. I love French nevertheless-since childhood. Thanks again for the help. Cheers.

Hi there, hehe, yes, languages could be easier, but I guess that is the beauty of it, they are all different and provide different challenges. I think the concept that a thing has a gender is quiet intriguing (and perhaps frustrating at times when learning new words). German has feminine, masculine and neuter nouns. The more you listen to spoken French the more you will "get the hang of" what sounds right and fits with the beautiful melody of French.If you listen to the Interactive Audio Course or a French radio station, chansons, TV...even if you don't understand much to start with, apart from some isolated words perhaps, it will help immensely. Let us know how you get on. :D
Dee-Banson-08

Dee-Banson-08

I think this response is invaluable. I have always thought of listening to French radio or TV Station-exactly what suggested now. I live in London, any idea how to link such stations-Internet? Interestingly, i was in Paris(first time) in Dec and l'hotel tv- channels sounded strange. But from now on i am definite i can pick a few words (as you guess) and get better with time. You are immensely appreciated for this line of thought. Cheers.

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