One or an apartment? One or a dumbbell? Some common nouns are difficult to agree with the correct gender. Test your knowledge with our slideshow below showing the names that are difficult to match with their gender. But, how are the masculine and feminine gender associated with the different common nouns?
Generally, the gender is conventional and is assigned based on the usage of the word. Since then, the French Academy, founded in 1634 by Cardinal de Richelieu, has been responsible for drawing up the dictionary of the French language every year, fixing the use of words. But, more recently, many debates call into question the attribution of feminine or masculine for common nouns or proper nouns.
In particular, the feminization of job names was taboo for many years. Indeed, it was not until 2019 that the French Academy agreed to grant women the professions. Beyond a question of grammar, this subject is part of a broader debate on equality between women and men.
On this line, the mayor of Pantin, Bertrand Kern, announced for the year 2023 the change of name of the city. Indeed, the latter was renamed Pantine.
“We want there to be awareness of this equality between women and men which is not yet perfect”, announces the mayor in his wishes for the new year, as FranceInfo relates. This symbolic measure was not unanimous since the day after the feminization of the name, the inscription “Pantine” was vandalized.
Moreover, the mayor Bertrand Kern is not really at the origin of this idea. Indeed, he explains that it is the director of communication of the city of Seine-Saint-Denis, Astrid Desbuquois, who proposed the feminization of this name.
Find out in our slideshow below if the following common nouns are attributed to the feminine or masculine gender.