« Goodbye, Reuben Tuesday... | Main | A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything. »

French Can't Agree on Gender

frenchgenderflag.gifIn a startling study, giving all of us non-French reason to smirk, results show that the French can't agree on what the gender of nouns are, even though the language is highly standardized. Dalila Ayoun, Professor of French Linguistics at the University of Arizona, simply asked 56 native French speakers to assign a gender to some sample nouns. Of the 93 masculine nouns they only unanimously agreed on 17 of them. Of the 50 feminine nouns, only 1 of them!

The disparity increases when you factor in age. Teenagers agreed on far fewer than the adult participants. Language Log has more on the study.

All I can say is, Viva la difference! Or is that le difference?


That's very reassuring! I always had trouble remembering that stuff, and thought it was rather stupid and arbitrary.

Post a comment