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Nouns and gender

Postby cwmgoch » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:37 am

When I started searching this time last year for a Welsh course, I noticed that a lot of sites and blog posts were making quite a big deal about the importance of learning the gender of nouns at the same time you learn the noun itself. I don't do this at all! Up to now, whenever I've learned the gender of a noun (and it's not often!), it's either been during a lesson or because I've randomly picked it up within the context of a sentence.

What I really like about SSiW is that I feel like I'm learning grammar without reams of paper filled with lists, tables and colour-coded lists and tables! So at the moment, it doesn't seem like something to really worry about. But then I see lots of other people worrying about it, and start to wonder whether I should be worrying about it! :smile:

So I suppose my question is: Is this going to bite me in the pen ôl later on down the line? Do I need to start being more systematic about this, or is it ok for me to continue learning nouns and randomly pick up their gender later on within the context of a sentence?

Diolch o flaen llaw for your always useful advice. :smile:
Please feel free to correct my Welsh. Currently on Cwrs 3 De, Gwers 4.
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby RobertBruce » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:47 am

Nah. Just forget it. Let it come naturally.

If you ask a native speaker how they know that the word Ysgol is feminine, for example, they'll say something like "because it's ysgol fach, not bach". So you'll ask "but why do you say ysgol fach?", and the chances are that they'll answer "Because I just do". No-one has taught them this, they haven't learnt it from tables or anything, they've just picked it up as they've gone along. And if it's good enough for them... :wink: :D
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby essenbee » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:48 am

S'mae Jonathan,

I guess the glib answer is that kids just pick it up so so should we. In practice, I try to make a mental note of the noun's gender when I can, but I do not worry about it at all. One way to practice that I have found useful, is to pair the noun with a suitable adjective (such as a colour - glas for example), and just say the two together a few times: ci glas, cath las. Your mileage may vary of course!

Hwyl,

Stu
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby RobertBruce » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:59 am

Yup. Glib. That's me. :ouch:
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby Lurch2 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:03 pm

I'm somebody who doesn't mind wading through grammar books and learning tables, and often find them helpful- but I find it absolutely impossible to learn the gender of a noun without hearing it used in a sentence. It doesn't often stick then, but it sometimes does! And they are starting to add up :wink: .

Just my pennyworth and how it works with me.
Please feel free to correct my Welsh. My English, however, is beyond all hope.

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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby Aran » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:22 pm

cwmgoch wrote:But then I see lots of other people worrying about it, and start to wonder whether I should be worrying about it! :smile:


Resist the power of the crowd!!

There's probably no single element of the language that I had to be more careful about when writing the course, and there are still hiccups here and there (most of which I will fiercely defend as 'examples of stuff that people say in more than one way' - which is occasionally actually true!).

But is Catrin significantly more reliable on this particular front than I am? No, not really. And I can remember being in Gloywi Iaith courses (which were for first language speakers as well as advanced learners) that were full of first language speakers who mangled their noun genders all over the place - and if you want confirmation of that, just listen carefully to most Welsh bands!

It's one of those things where if you reached the Nirvana of perfection, you wouldn't be talking all that much like a first language speaker...:wink:

To give you a little context - Catrin and I spent a while umming and ahhing about 'a glass or two' in the new course - gwydrad neu ddau - because we both thought that gwydrad should be feminine, but that you'd never, ever hear anyone say 'gwydrad neu ddwy'. Turns out we were wrong - no, you'll never hear 'gwydrad neu ddwy', but that's because gwydrad (or gwydraid, if you want to be correct!) is masculine. Live and learn!

Are you crossing it off your worry list yet?...:wink:
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby essenbee » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:21 pm

RobertBruce wrote:Yup. Glib. That's me. :ouch:

I wrote that before you posted, so it wasn't aimed at anyone Robert! :D Rather at me trotting out the same old truism.

Hwyl,

Stu
Ar hyn o bryd, dw i'n astudio: Cwrs 3 Gwers 20 (fersiwn y Gogledd)
Yn ddiweddar, dw i wedi bod yn gwrando ar Meinir Gwilym
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby Craig F » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:35 pm

What’s really happening the SSiW way is that we are learning sound pattern association. We say it this way because ‘it sounds right’. Sometimes this has unintended consequences. I will want to always drink the ‘wine’ and shut the ‘door’. It just rolls of the tongue.
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby Aran » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:33 pm

Craig F wrote:I will want to always drink the ‘wine’ and shut the ‘door’.


Just keep drinking wine and shutting doors and you really can't go too far wrong...:wink:
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Re: Nouns and gender

Postby RobertBruce » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:12 pm

essenbee wrote:
RobertBruce wrote:Yup. Glib. That's me. :ouch:

I wrote that before you posted, so it wasn't aimed at anyone Robert! :D Rather at me trotting out the same old


Sorry Stu, I wouldn't have made the joke if I really thought that's what you meant! :D
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