Stealing Words from the French

The English language is filled with words (called loan-words) deriving from many different languages: German, Italian, Greek, even Romanian and Sanskrit.  Some of these words (those from the Romance languages, usually) have genders assigned to them, and this concept, often times, doesn’t translate well into the English language.

It seems that the English language has forgotten about gender-specificity, especially in foreign words. Whoever here has took a foreign language class will understand the idea of nouns, adjectives, and even verbs that apply explicitly to one gender. In Italian, for example, if an adjective or noun ends in -a or -e, it is feminine; if it ends in -o or -i, then it is masculine. This idea permeates throughout all the Latin languages (which consist of Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Catalan, among others)– every object, for example, “car,” has a gender assigned to it (“car,” la macchina in Italian, is feminine).

Now, in the English language, most nouns and adjectives are gender-neutral, although some might have a specific gender associated with them. For example, the adjective “beautiful” can be used to describe both a man and a woman (I have heard of both), yet we most commonly use it to describe something feminine.

There is a list of gender-specific words in the English language. We all know the difference between “waiter” and “waitress,” “actor” and “actress,” “hero” and “heroine”– these nouns are all tailored to one gender. Yet, what about these? Did you know the difference between these words? And, when, specifically, to use them?

  • blond= masculine
  • blonde=feminine
  • brunet=masculine or feminine
  • brunette=feminine
  • fiancé=masculine
  • fiancée= feminine

This is something they don’t teach in English class– the difference between “brunet” and “brunette.” I, myself, have never seen the word “brunet” written.

Well, now, readers, you all know. Use these words appropriately, because now you are more educated in the art of proper word-assignment!

PunnyRabbit out! (GD)


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