Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordsmith Wednesday: Dese, dem, and dose damn genders!

Coming up with the correct gender of nouns can drive any student of French fou. Gender even infiltrates a common phrase like “this one,” which is celui-ci if the thing you’re referring to is masculine, say, a woman’s breast. If it’s a beard, which is obviously feminine, it’s celle-ci. Of course, breasts usually come in pairs, so you’d better know that “those” plural masculine breasts are ceux-là, while plural feminine beards are celles-là. This French version of “dem and dose” has at least eight variations to be memorized. Here's a chart for the masochistic (the rest of just point and grunt):

English                  Masculine                  Feminine
this                           celui                            celle
these                        ceux                            celles

that                          celui-ci                        celle-ci
those                       ceux-là                        celles-là

In my next life I may study Latin instead -- it's easier.

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