Mauvais genre

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 Generalities

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 Definition 


Suffixation is one of the derivational processes which imply the addition of a suffix at the end of a word or a stem.  The derived word or derivative becomes then a different word from the original one and often of a different word class as well. 
 
Only suffixes have an impact on gender of derivatives due to their final position. Prefixes (affixes added at the beginning of a word) have no effect on gender.

 Suffixes should not be confused for:

1) Inflexions which do not change the original word into a new one, it just changes its form, i.e. from singular to plural or from present to past tense...

2) Latin or Greek roots in learned compound nouns such as téléphonegéographie.

3) False suffixes which might look like suffixes but don’t change the meaning, the word class nor the gender of the original nouns. They’re often found in familiar language like in cinoche m. for cinéma m. téloche f. for télévision f..

4) Pattern endings inherited from other languages such as marketing (Eng.), question (Lat.) or enthousiasme (Gr.). Those endings generated most of French suffixes later on.  From Latin suffix -(i)tas (veritas, identitas, qualitas...) originated French suffix -ité used to create new French derivatives like: banaliténouveaupublicité...
 
Pattern endings and suffixes have actually the same impact on gender. Nouns that come from an adoption like compétence (< lat. competentia f.) or from a creation like transparence (< adj. transparent) are both feminine and belong to the same family.  In this chapter about suffixation, we will use the « not so elegant » term of  suffix-ending when referring to them.
 
Some endings never made it as suffix, they are non-productive. Some of them, on the contrary, have been extremely productive.

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Suffixation patterns


The original base can be a full word, like in : table + suff. –eau tableau m.
or a root, like in : souffr(ir)- + suff. –ance f. > souffrance.

Between the base and the suffix, an « augment » might be inserted to ease the linkage, like in: 
fabriqu(er)- + -at- + suff. –ion fabrication f. ; 
ferm(er)- + -t- + suff. -ure fermeture f..

Just like full words, suffixes can have synonyms (same meaning but different forms), like suff. –eur, –euse and –rice are used to form names of apparels or devices such as in: baladeur photocopieuse / calculatrice

They also might have homonyms (same form but different meanings), like suff. eur (apparels: compteur) and –eur (qualities: grandeur).

The same suffix can also have several forms, like :
Suff. –ier / -er (trees) : pommier / oranger;
Suff. -oir / -oire  (instruments/tools) : arrosoir / bouilloire;
Suff. -ion / -aison/ -çon  (actions) : transmission livraison / leçon ;

Regular suffixation

The large majority of suffixes follow the Gender Rule; this means that marked suffixes produce feminine nouns when unmarked ones, produce masculine nouns.

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 List of Main French Regular suffixes

 Unmarked Masculine Suffixes

 Marked Feminine Suffixes

 

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-ail

-ain

-ais

-al

-an

---

---

-ant

-ard

-as


-at

---

-eau

---

-ent


---

-et

-eur

---

-ien

–ier, -er


-illon

-in

-is

---

-ment

-oir

-ol

-on

–ot

---

---

---

---


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bétail

tibétain (langue)

Bordelais (région)

signal

roman

---

---

collant

dossard

frimas


habitat

doigté

---

tableau

---

précédent 

différend

---

boulet

compteur

---

italien (langue)

saladier ;

pommier, oranger;

portillon

tambourin

gazouillis

---

chargement

arrosoir

menthol

ballon

îlot

---

---

---

---

 

-ade

-aille

-aine

-aise

-ale

-ane

-ance

-ande

-ante

-arde

-asse

-ace

-ate

-ée

-ède

-elle

-ence

-ente


-esse

-ette

-euse

-ie

-ienne

-ière


-ille

-ine

-ise

-ude

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-oire

-ole

-onne

-otte

-(r)aie

-rice

-rie

-ure

 

grillade (grill)

muraille (high wall)

vingtaine

Marseillaise (chant)

finale

médiane

alliance

offrande

imprimante

cuissarde

caillasse

populace

lauréate

bouchée

pinède

ruelle

résidence

permanente


sagesse

boulette 

friteuse

maladie

éolienne

soupière


brindille

comptine

bêtise

exactitude

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baignoire

bestiole

bombonne 

roulotte

bananeraie

calculatrice

garderie