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Romanian Nouns - Gender

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Romanian nouns are classified into three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter). 

We can establish the gender of a noun by its ending, its meaning or by performing the ‘one-two’ test.

*These nouns are invariable (they have one form for both singular and plural).

According to their lexical meaning, nouns are:

Masculine:
- all proper or common nouns that designate male humans, male animals, and male birds:
Alexandru (Alexander), Ion (John)
Om / bărbat (man), cal (horse), porumbel (pigeon)
- all nouns indicating nationalities designating male persons
francez (Frenchman), român (Romanian)
- all nouns indicating the profession of male persons:
zidar (mason), dulgher (carpenter)
- names of trees:
plop (poplar tree), castan (chestnut tree), stejar (oak), palmier (palm tree), măr (apple tree)
Exceptions: salcie (willow), magnolie (magnolia) and some others are feminine
- names of mountain chains (plural only):
Carpaţi (Carpathians), Balcani (Balkans), Alpi (Alps)
- the months of the year:
ianuarie (January), februarie (February),
martie (March), aprilie (April)
- the letters of the alphabet, the musical notes, the name of most numbers
a, b, c, d, etc.; do, re, mi, etc.;
doi (two), trei (three), patru (four), etc.
Exception: o sută (hundred), mie (thousand) – feminine
milion (million), miliard (milliard) – neuter

Feminine:
- all proper and common nouns that designate female humans, female animals, and female birds
Maria (Mary), fată (girl), femeie (woman)
mamă (mother), soră (sister), fiică (daughter)
iapă (mare), găină (hen), vrabie (sparrow)
- all nouns indicating nationalities of female persons, formed by derivation from a masculine noun:
româncă (Romanian), franţuzoaică (French woman)
- the names of some fruits:
piersică (peach), pară (pear), prună (plum)
Exceptions:
strugure (grape), ananas (pineapple) – masculine
măr (apple) – neuter
- Most names of flowers:
Garoafă (carnation), lalea (tulip)
Violetă (violet), orhidee (orchid)
Exceptions: trandafir (rose), crin (lily), bujor (peony)
nufăr (water lily), liliac (lilac)
- the days of the week:
luni (Monday), marţi (Tuesday), miercuri (Wednesday)
- most of the parts of the day:
dimineaţă (morning), amiază (noon),
seară (evening), noapte (night)
- the seasons of the year:
primăvară (spring), vară (summer),
toamnă (autumn), iarnă (winter)
- the names of continents: Europa, Asia, America
- most names of countries:
Albania (Albania), Bulgaria (Bulgaria), Elveţia (Switzerland), Franţa (France), Germania (Germany)
Exception: if the name of a country does not end in -a, it functions as a neuter:
Cipru (Cyprus), Liban (Lebanon), Maroc (Maroc), Mexic (Mexico), Vietnam (Vietnam), etc.
- Most of the nouns expressing a feeling or a state of mind:
frică ( fear), spaimă (terror)
gelozie (jealousy), îndoială (doubt)
- The names of actions:
fugă / alergare (running), joacă (play), vorbire (speech)

Neuter:
- many nouns designating inanimate objects:
creion (pencil), covor (carpet), televizor (tv)
! There are also numerous feminine inanimate objects, and some masculine:
masă (table), carte (book), lampă (lamp) – feminine
sac (sack), cărbune (coal) – masculine
- some nouns designating parts of the human body:
cap (head), nas (nose),
picior (leg), cot (elbow) deget (finger)
! there are names of parts of human body that are:
masculine: ochi (eye), genunchi (knee),
or feminine: mână (hand), gleznă (ankle)

The ‘one-two’ test
We can also identify the gender of nouns by placing a cardinal number in front of the noun:
un / o (one)
doi / două (two)
The cardinal numbers ‘un / o’ and ‘doi / două’ agree in gender and number with the noun that follows.
masculine: Un băiat (one boy) – doi băieți (two boys)
feminine: o fată (one girl) – două fete (two girls)
neuter: un nume (one name) – două nume (two names)

Mobile nouns are words which form lexical pairs (masculine- feminine):
- nouns with completely different forms for masculine and feminine:
băiat (boy) / fată (girl), frate (brother) / soră (sister), ginere (son-in-law) / noră (daughter-in-law), cocoș (rooster) / găină (hen), berbec (ram) / oaie (ewe)
- feminine nouns obtained by adding suffixes to their masculine form:
-ă: coleg (colleague)/ colegă, vecin (neighbour) / vecină
-iţă: sculptor (sculptor)/ sculptoriță, doctor (doctor) / doctoriţă
-că: român (Romanian) / româncă, țăran (peasant) / țărancă
-oaică: urs (bear) / ursoaică, grec (Greek) / grecoaică
-easă: mire (bridegroom) / miresă, croitor (tailor) / croitoreasă
-toare: scriitor (writer) / scriitoare, muncitor (worker) / muncitoare
- masculine nouns obtained by adding sufixes to their feminine form:
-oi: cioară (crow) / cioroi, vulpe (fox) / vulpoi, broască (frog) / broscoi
-an: gâscă (goose) / gâscan, curcă (turkey hen) / curcan (tom torkey), ciocârlie (skylark) / ciocârlan

Epicene nouns are words which have a single gender form:
- only masculine: cuc (cuckoo), șobolan (rat), șarpe (snake), râs (lynx), jaguar (jaguar), rinocer ( rhinoceros), hipopotam (hippopotamus), fluture (butterfly), greier (cricket), liliac (bat), țânțar (mosquito), struț (ostrich), uliu (hawk)
- only feminine: veveriță (squirrel), lebădă (swan), privighetoare (nightingale), lăcustă (locust), hienă (hyena), panteră (panther), girafă (giraffe), lamă (llama)

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