Grammatical gender is a concept that is foreign to English. English words do not have “gender” and the very idea of words being either “masculine” or “feminine” seems extremely strange and almost comical to an English speaker. But this feature of language is found in all Romance languages, and is definitely important to know about when learning Talossan.
Essentially, every single Talossan noun has a specific “gender” — either masculine or feminine. Even inanimate objects, such as “desk” and “computer” have gender. That’s just the way it is, and to know Talossan, you have to know what the gender of every single noun is, so that you can surround it with the appropriate (masculine or feminine) forms of other words.
Luckily, Talossan has a very easy way to determine the gender of (almost) any noun. There are a number of words that don’t follow the rules, of course (Talossan wouldn’t be a believable and real language without those!), but essentially:
- if a word ends in -a or -à, it is feminine (unless it ends in -istà)
- if a word ends in -iun, it is feminine
- if a word ends in -ù (or if it is a single-syllable word ending in u, meaning that the u is stressed even though it is not marked as such), it is feminine
- otherwise, the word is masculine.
So if you want to say “a desk”, you would use üna pupitra, using the feminine form of the indefinite article “a” (üna) since pupitra is a feminine gender noun, and if you want to say “a computer”, you would use ün computex. It would be wrong to use ün for a feminine noun, and wrong to use üna for a masculine noun, unless the the sexual (not grammatical) gender of a noun is important to communicate, in which case the article can provide that information. For example, üna cadì (= a female judge).