Skip to main content

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

See other formats

Modem Descendants of Latin            355

Relatively few French nouns have an explicit gender label like the
-O or -A endings of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian The original
Latin vowel terminals which help to mark the gender of the Spanish,
Portuguese, or Italian noun have disappeared or have changed past
recognition The preceding examples (p 354) illustrate this

The following rules are useful to the student of French, and the
beginner who is not familiar with Latin or with another Romance
language should learn them French nouns are

(a) MASCULINE if they end in —

(n) -fi (excluding those ending in -Tfi and -Tlfi)
(111) Consonants other than those mentioned below.

Examples   rhentage, inheritance          le laboratoire> laboratory

le vesttatre, cloak-room        le vaisseau^ vessel^ slup
le college, college                 h conge s leave

(&) FEMININE if they end in

(i) -Tfi and -Tlfi
(11) -ŁE

(in) -E preceded by one or more consonants (e g   -ale, -ole>
~ule; -be> -ce> -de3 -fey -ne> -pe]

Examples    la vamte> vanity                    rarnvee^ arrival

es friendship              la viande, meat

In all Romance languages the behaviour of the adjective tallies closely
with that of the noun, and in all of them there are two classes What is
always the larger class is made up of adjectives with four forms, i e
separate masculine and feminine forms both singular and plural The
smaller class is genderless Adjectives of this type have only two forms,
singular and plural. The singular forms of Spanish, Portuguese, and
Italian adjectives of the larger dass have the terminals -O (masc ) or
-A (fern ) The genderless Italian adjective has the singular terminal -Ey
as have many genderless Spanish and Portuguese adjectives Singular
forms of other genderless Spanish and Portuguese adjectives end m a
consonant. The plural forms of all Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese
adjectives follow the same rule: the plural form of the adjective is like the
plural form of a noun with the same singular ending
The following examples therefore illustrate all essential rules for use
of the Italian adjective,