Caibidil a hAon: The Noun (an tAinmfhocal)

Gender (an Inscne)

Firinscneach agus baininscneach

In Irish, there are 2 grammatical genders (inscní):  masculine (firinscneach) and feminine (baininscneach)

Basically, those living things which are male are named with masculine nouns, for female creatures then feminine nouns.
There are definite exceptions to the rule: e.g.: stail  = stallion is feminine, cailín = girl is masculine (about the suffix -ín see below)
For all inanimate objects: Belonging to one group or another is mostly random, or. dependent on the ending (see below)
In this way, Irish is quite similar to German, with the difference that Irish has no "thing" gender (neutrum) anymore.

where are the differences between the genders?

there are differences:

how does one recognise the gender of a word?

Masculine nouns are the following: Feminine nouns are the following: All other words are difficult. masculine nouns end in the nominative often in broad consonants ,
feminine nouns on the other hand mostly in slender ones.

the diminutive suffix (iarmhír an dhispeagtha) -ín

diminutive = pet form

The suffix -ín is the same as the German -chen or -lein (fear = man > firín = little man)
Words ending in -ín (4th declension) are actually masculine.
Basically, masculine are those words, that in the diminutive are no longer able to be taken as the root meaning or those that take on a whole new meaning.
(e.g. "cailín" is not the diminutive of the archaic "caile", just as little as the "Mädchen" is still seen as the diminutive of "Maid". This is why "cailín = girl " is masculine!)

In the case of a real diminutives (an díspeagadh) it's a bit more complicated:

Side note : Today only the suffix -ín used to produce the diminutive . Earlier one used further suffixes as well, e.g. -óg (feminine), -án (masculine), e.g. cnocán = a little hill, eitleog = a little flight , ordóg = thumb (= "little hammer ")

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© copyright Lars Braesicke 1999 / 2000

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[ 1 ]:masculine words denoting people with a naturally feminine gender may still use the feminine pronoun (an cailín > sí, í) (and the other way around). But still some noun and pronoun genders do not agree (see personal pronouns)
[ 2 ]: -ún, úr: also words stemming from Latin, there feminine, are masculine in Irish: an naisiún = the nation, an nadúr = nature