30 Days to Master The Gender of French Nouns - Talk in French
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30 Days to Master the Gender of French Nouns

Whenever I ask a student what is the most difficult part about learning French, there are 3 typical answers:

  • French Pronunciation
  • Verb tenses
  • Noun genders

Ah the infamous French gender for nouns.

Why do we have those rules  for words? Who plays heads or tails with each word and decides that a table (une table) is feminine and a book (“un livre”) is masculine. Nonsense!

Well, I feel the pain and I created a course that will tackle this issue in two major ways.

1/ Understand the logic behind the gender (because yes, there is a sort of logic/pattern behind the words)

2/ Try to create some automatic reflex when it comes to choosing the gender.  The objective is to develop a reflex when you say the word in French.

Develop “a melody for a word"

French people do not memorize the gender of words. They just see it , hear it everyday and whenever somebody says the wrong gender of a noun, people will automatically cringe and think “hey it does not seem right, it is not le table but la table”.

Imagine your favorite song and you know the lyrics of by heart but suddenly the singer did not sing it in the original version but in a different language.

This is the same idea for gender. You have to learn the “melody of a word” by associating the word with the gender automatically.

I want you to develop the same logic by creating a daily routine for 30 days. Spend 15 minutes per day by associating a word with the right gender. I am not asking you to memorize the word itself.

The 600 words challenge

Wait! it is easier than you think.

I took the 600 most frequently used words in French.  These 600 words account for 90% in common texts. If you know all of them, you can claim “yes I speak 90% French” (does that make sense? Nah nevermind).  

I break it down into a 30-day drill session in order to make it less monotonous and difficult for you.

Learn the gender of 20 words without memorizing them--it is not something terrible right? Of course you can even speed up the process by focusing on the word that you really care about. If you don’t want to talk about politics with your friends, then no need to learn the word “president”.

How does it work exactly?

Each day you will have to listen 20 words (not memorizing) several times. There is a checklist of the words of the day, it will help you to verify that you know well the gender. You will listen to 4 tracks (MP3) per day at a different speed:

  • Normal speed: "Un livre / Le livre"
  • slow (to let you repeat the word): Un livre....
  • Random:  Again there is a gap to repeat the word but in a different order.
  • Quiz: I say the word without saying the gender  (for example: "livre") and you have to repeat with the right article ("un livre") and then you will hear the correct answer.

Every 5 days you will have a mini quiz.

Do not hesitate to repeat the audio one or two times  to make sure you get it right.

The course also comes with a PDF that has more than 600 pages. I show 1 word per day so you can download the PDF on your smartphone and just swipe the page like a flash card.

If you want to learn more about it, check out the course page below. 

Best of luck on your lessons!

About the Author Frederic Bibard

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Twitter and Google +

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