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Gender of foreign nouns

As with German nouns, it is difficult or impossible to predict the gender of nouns of foreign origin. If you are not sure, look it up in the dictionary. Several principles are involved when assigning gender to nouns of foreign origin:
  • The "origin principle": Foreign nouns have the same gender as in the original language:

    der Boulevard fr. le boulevard
    die Allee fr. une allée
    der Karton fr. le carton
    die Kaper fr. la câpre
    der Pueblo sp. el pueblo
    die Pesete sp. la peseta
    der Cappuccino   it. il cappuccino
The gender of a borrowed noun can also be different from the gender in the original language. This is especially true when the original gender is unknown or, obviously, when the original language does not have a gender system. The "origin principle" competes with other principles:
  • Analogy with other words having the same ending

    die Garage like die Blamage, die Passage (fr. le garage)
    die Zigarre like die Gitarre an many more in –e (fr. le cigare)
    das Duett like das Tablett, das Amulett (it. il duetto)
    der Computer  like all deverbal nouns in –er : der Arbeiter, der Rechner

    See also Gender and form, word endings

  • Analogy with the German translation:

    der Star like der Stern
    das Training like das Trainieren (and many other English words on –ing)
    die Bouillon like die Brühe (fr. le bouillon)
    der/die Place des Vôges  like der Platz/like fr. la place
    die/der Ponte Vecchio like die Brücke/like it. il ponte
    der Trafalgar Square like der Platz

  • Analogy with other nouns belonging to the same semantic group:

    das Marihuana like das Heroin, das Kokain, das „Gras“
    der/die Grappa   like der Whisky, der Cognac, der Schnaps/like it. la grappa

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