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 Names of places 



Names of countries, rivers, districts, mountains...  follow the same gender rules as common nouns.



As expected, feminine NAMES are marked (final -e) 


They mostly end with a consonant + -e:

[-k] Afrique, Belgique ;

[-p]  Alpes, Europe ;

[-ch] Autriche ;

[-n] Chine,  Guyane , Mayenne , Toscane ;

[-t] Côte d’Ivoire, Egypte ;

[-s] Corse, Ecosse, France, Grèce, Suisse ;

[-d] Floride, Inde, Suède Thaïlande ;

[-j] Norvège ;

[-gn] Espagne, Pologne , Catalogne;

[-z] Tamise ;

[-R] Angleterre ; Loire ;

[-l] Sicile ;


... more rarely with a vowel + -e, but when they do, it is mostly with a vowel  i  or é:

[-i] Asie, Hongrie, LibyeNormandie, Russie, Serbie , Jordanie, Malaisi;

[-e] Corée, Pyrénées; 


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As expected, 
masculine NAMES  are unmarked.


They mostly end with a vowel sound (followed or nor with a silent final consonant) :

[-a] Angola, Canada, Etats-Unis, Jura, Kenya, Sahara;

[-o] Colorado, Kilimandjaro;

[-i] Mississippi,  Pays de Loire, Chili;

[-E] Tibet,Uruguay, Dauphiné;

[-an] Iran, Pakistan;

[-on] Gabon, Japon, Piémont;

[-in] Limousin;


More rarely, they end with a pronounced consonant :

[-k] Danemark, Québec, Maroc;

[-d] Tchad;

[-n] or [-m] Viêt-Nam,Yémen,Yunnan;

[-s] Honduras, Benelux, Laos;

[-R] Equateur;

[-l] Brésil, Portugal, Sénégal, Népal,Nil;


Place NAMES have the same ratio of EXCEPTIONS than other nouns:


Foreign loanwords :

Cachemire m. (Eng. Kashmir),

Cambodge m.  (Skt. Kampuchea),

Mexique m.  (Sp. Mexico m.),

Mozambique m. (Port. Moçambique m.), final -e is pronounced [e]

Zaïre m. (Port. Zaire m.) ; final -e is pronounced [e]


Nouns from Latin :

Danube m. (< Danubius m.),

Rhône m. (< Rhodanus m.) ;

Finistère m. (< lat. finis terrae m./f. les confins de la Terre) ;


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CITY NAMES (Urban headache...)

 

Like for other nouns, gender of city names is often inherited from Latin:

Carcassonne (< Carcaso, ōnis, f.), 

Marseille (< Massilĭa, ae, f.),

Rome (Rōma, ae, f.), 

Limoge (<Lĕmŏvīcum, i, n.),

Bourges (< Bituricum, i, n.),

Rodez (Rūtēni, ōrum, m. )...

 

Some cities show clearly their gender with a definite article:

Le Caire, Le Mans, La Rochelle, La Ciotat...


But those cases are rare,  cities are usually not determined:

Londres est la capitale de l’Angleterre.

Toutes les routes mènent à Rome.

 

A feminine form can be found due to the elision of  VILLE f.

(la ville de) Paris est belle.

Bangkok est (une ville) trépidante.

 

… as well as two masculine forms, one defined or partial :

le Bruxelles des années 30  (not the Bruxelles of today)

le vieux Nice (a particular part of  Nice, not the entire city)

 

...another one when, for example, the name of the capital city stands for the State:

Pékin reste déterminé à agir.


READ also Genre, nombre et prépositions des départements

 


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