Posted in English

Neuter Kids on the Block

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had backed out of a seminar on suffragettes in Portugal. Well, the tutor, seminar leader, whatever, sent out an email with some course materials. I was interested in the opening lines (In the image up there, ūüĎÜ) Can you spot it?

As you probably know, portuguese has two genders, masculine and feminine, and all nouns have one or the other, even though physical objects and abstract concepts have no biological sex, they are all sorted into two categories too. And if referring to a group of – say – two women and two men, or even a thousand women and one male cat, the fact that there’s a mix of genders means you use the masculine as default so it would be “eles” not “elas”. Obviously this seems a bit silly on its face. I’m not going to get on my soapbox here because it’s not my language, but it seems like it would be fairer if you went with the majority or something. Anyway, what you have in the screenshot is the use of “querides” with an – es ending instead of either – as or – os.

It’s easy to see why this makes sense from a feminist point of view since mixed groups shouldn’t default to the masculine ending. It’s not just a typo either. At the end she says “beijinhos para todes”, which I keep pronouncing as “toads” and imagining a princess/frog situation.

I’ve had someone explain to me that e can be used as an ending for people describing themselves as “non-binary”. I haven’t seen any examples of this in the wild. For example, if you read the Wikipedia entry for Sam Smith you’ll find it carefully written to avoid any pronouns or gender-specific endings that refer to him directly. Where they do exist they are made to refer to other nouns. For example in the first paragraph it says “√© uma personalidade brit√Ęnica” where the a on the end of brit√Ęnica refers to “personalidade” not to Smith himself. I think it would be kind of silly to squeeze gender-specific endings out of words referring to people, since a language that has gender for everything except people would be even sillier than a language that has gender for everything including people. IMHO one of the best things about English is that you don’t have the faff of remembering random genders for every single object and every single idea that has ever existed. If they don’t have a sex then they are all just “it”, and that’s beautifully simple.

O Feminino é o Moderno

And one final thought on gender: I always find it odd that for example the idea of feminity itself is masculine. What do I mean? Well, there’s a book called “O Feminino e o Moderno” by Ana Lu√≠sa Vilela, F√°bio Maria da Silva and Maria L√ļcia Dal Farra. Why is The Feminine Masculine? Weird historical reasons, that’s why!

Equally surprising is the word “gr√°vida” (pregnant) which, if you look it up, is defined as the feminine version of gr√°vido, as if men could get pregnant and in fact pregnant men were the default. It’s all a bit Judith Butler if you ask me.

Posted in English

Gender Wars 3: Attack of the Nouns

Madculine and Feminine nouns
Two nouns undergoing “flex√£o”

OK, so if you’re a new learner, you’ve probably come across a few explanations of how gender works in Portuguese, and how to work out if a given word is masculine or feminine just by looking at it. Different teachers have slightly different rules so I sat down to road-test them and see which versions were reliable and which had so many exceptions that they weren’t worth bothering with. I used a list of the 1000 most popular portuguese nouns (details in Appendix 3 below) and used excel formulae to see what rule *should* apply vs what gender it actually has.

This third version of the list has some new refinements for nouns ending in -√£o. As you know they are very variable. I usually hear abstract nouns are feminine and concrete nouns are masculine but that’s a bit vague and there are lots of exceptions. But then I came across a video where some guy (I wish I could remember who so I could credit him!) said the thing to do is to look at the letter immediately before the -√£o. Verbs ending -√ß√£o, -s√£o and to a lesser extent -i√£o are the ones that are treated as abstract and feminine. They tend to be similar to english words ending -tion or -sion. The rest are manly and butch. Once you split the rule like this, it makes more sense and there are very few exceptions. So… I’ve updated the table below

Portuguese Noun Genders – All The Rules I Know

More specific rules nearer the top override more general ones further down. So for example, “dezena” is masculine because it meets the “all numbers are masculine” rule even though it ends in A. And Av√≥ is feminine because it meets the “Male and Female people” rule even though it ends in an O. Sorry about the colour-scheme, but… well, you know… just trying to harness my cultural stereotypes in a way that makes it easier to follow.

Rule Examples Exceptions
Dependent:
Male and Female animals/people depend on individual’s sex*
  • o touro / a vaca
  • o irm√£o / a irm√£
  • o dirigente/a dirigente
  • o autor, a autora
  • o rapaz
  • o socialista, a socialista
  • o jesu√≠ta
  • o chefe
Dependent:
Ordinal numbers depend what’s being counted, because they are effectively adjectives!
  • o primeiro (dia)
  • a segunda (noite)
Masculine:
Nouns ending in
-o (but not -√£o though)
-r
-l
-z
-u
  • o lugar
  • o amigo
  • o chap√©u
  • o papel
  • o final
  • a tribo
  • a dor
  • a cor
  • a flor
Masculine:
Names of Lakes, Rivers, Mountains etc
  • o Tejo
  • os Himalaias
  • o Brasil
  • o Atl√Ęntico
  • o Tamisa (despite the -a ending!)
Masculine:
Compass points
  • O Leste
  • O Oeste
  • O Norte
  • O Sul
Masculine:
Car brands** & types of wines
  • o Madeira
  • o Ferrari
  • a Mercedes (but only the brand. The car is “um Mercedes”)
Variable:
The seasons obey their last letter rules o=masculine, a=feminine
  • o ver√£o
  • o inverno
  • o outono
  • a primavera
Variable:
Week days obey their last letter rules o=masculine, a=feminine
  • o s√°bado
  • o domingo
  • a segunda feira
  • a ter√ßa feira
Masculine:
Words from greek, usually ending -a: most usually in
-ema
-grama
-eta
  • o programa
  • o problema
  • o sistema
  • o poema
  • o cometa
  • o planeta
  • o mapa
  • o telefonema
“Gorjeta” is the only word with these endings that doesn’t match but Priberam says it’s not greek
Masculine:
Letters
  • o a
  • o p
Masculine:
Cardinal numbers
  • o um
  • o cento
  • o milh√£o
Feminine:
Words ending in
-ção
-s√£o
-i√£o
a acção
a actuação
a administração
a alteração
a aplicação
a aprovação
a associação
a atenção
a avaliação
a canção
a classificação
a colecção
a comiss√£o
a competição
a composição
a comunicação
a concepção
a conclus√£o
a condição
a constituição
a construção
a criação
a decis√£o
a declaração
a definição
a designação
a dimens√£o
a direcção
a discuss√£o
a disposição
a distribuição
a divis√£o
a edição
a educação
a eleição
a emoção
a estação
a evolução
a excepção
a expans√£o
a explicação
a exploração
a exportação
a exposição
a express√£o
a extens√£o
a federação
a formação
a função
a fundação
a geração
a impress√£o
a inflação
a informação
a instalação
a instituição
a intenção
a interpretação
a intervenção
a investigação
a ligação
a manifestação
a miss√£o
a nação
a negociação
a obrigação
a observação
a ocasi√£o
a opção
a operação
a opini√£o
a oposição
a organização
a orientação
a paix√£o
a participação
a população
a posição
a preocupação
a press√£o
a pris√£o
a privatização
a produção
a profiss√£o
a protecção
a publicação
a reacção
a realização
a redução
a regi√£o
a relação
a religi√£o
a representação
a resolução
a reuni√£o
a revis√£o
a revolução
a secção
a selecção
a sensação
a sess√£o
a situação
a solução
a televis√£o
a tradição
a transformação
a uni√£o
a utilização
a variação
a vers√£o
a vis√£o
a votação
o apresentação
o avi√£o
o coração
Masculine:
Other words ending in
-√£o
o alcatr√£o
o algod√£o
o balc√£o
o c√£o
o capit√£o
o cart√£o
o ch√£o
o cidad√£o
o escald√£o
o feij√£o
o órgão
o padr√£o
o p√£o
o patr√£o
a gest√£o
a m√£o
a quest√£o
a raz√£o
Feminine:
Most words ending in
-a
  • a d√ļvida
  • a √°gua
  • a palavra
  • a terra
  • o clima
  • o dia

(likely also greek)

Feminine:
Words ending in -ez
  • a estupidez
  • a gravidez
  • a viuvez
  • a surdez
  • a vez
Feminine: 
Words ending
-dade
-ie
-tude
-gem
-ice
-√£
  • a cidade
  • a viagem
  • a garagem
  • a juventude
  • a esp√©cie
  • a velhice
  • o √≠ndice
Feminine:
Names of towns & countries
  • A Madeira
  • A R√ļssia
  • A Fran√ßa
  • A Sui√ßa
  • A Isl√Ęndia
  • Londres
 Places specifically named after male things:

  • O Rio de Janeiro
  • O Porto

Places consisting of a male noun + adjective

  • O Reino Unido
  • Os Estados Unidos
Feminine:
Names of the Academic Arts and Science subjects
  • a medicina
  • a matem√°tica
  • a biologia
  • a f√≠sica
  • a geografia

*=Note that some of these change their endings but some – like dirigente, cientista, keep the same ending.

**= Jeremy Clarkson would love this, I’m sure

Appendix 1: Not-So-Easy E

Some teachers say that nouns ending in E are split between abstract and concrete. However, as you can see, contrary to the textbook rule, it’s mixed pretty evenly on both sides. Conclusion: the rule is bollocks, I’m afraid, and we’ll just have to learn these the hard way.

Masculine Feminine
In theory, these should all be concrete (things you can see and touch) In theory these should all be abstract (ideas, emotions)
o acidente
o ambiente
o ataque
o barrete
o breve
o clube
o combate
o continente
o controle
o corte
o costume
o crime
o debate
o dente
o destaque
o empate
o exame
o filme
o gabinete
o golpe
o horizonte
o instante
o interesse
o legume
o leite
o limite
o mestre
o monte
o nome
o nordeste
o padre
o parque
o peixe
o príncipe
o regime
o romance
o sangue
o telefone
o teste
o transporte
o vale
o volume
a an√°lise
a arte
a √°rvore
a ave
a base
a carne
a chave
a classe
a corte
a crise
a estante
a face
a fase
a fome
a fonte
a frase
a frente
a gente
a gripe
a hipótese
a m√£e
a metade
a morte
a noite
a parede
a parte
a pele
a ponte
a posse
a rede
a sa√ļde
a sede
a sorte
a tarde
a torre
a vontade

(NB Corte appears in both sides because it can mean either “The court” or “The cut”, both reasonably common but having differing genders just to be bloody awkward)

Apprendix 2: Mistakes, Mis-Shapes, Misfits

When I’d counted all the words that fit the rules and the exceptions, there was a short list left over of words that met none of the rules. The majority seem to be masculine, apart from f√©, lei, ordem and nuvem.

  • a f√©
  • o fim
  • o g√°s
  • o jardim
  • a lei
  • o m√™s
  • a nuvem
  • a ordem
  • o pa√≠s
  • o p√©
  • o som
  • o tom

Appendix 3: the List of 1000 Most-used Portuguese Words

I got the list from a site called Hackingportuguese but I took out a couple of words that I saw that were Brazil-specific and a couple that looked like they were (at least in European Portuguese) only used as adjectives, and replaced them with random nouns from a Memrise deck, to bulk it up to a thousand again. I subjected the survivors to extreme torture in an excel spreadsheet in order to see how many exceptions there were, using Excel formulae to check the ending against the supposed rule. My version of the list is available as a spreadsheet here in case you want to play with it and check my work.

Posted in English

Male And Female He Created Them

Portuguese words with very different meaning according to their gender

o r√°dio – a radio / a r√°dio – a radio station

o capital – capital, funds / a capital – the capital city

o caso Рthe case /  a casa Рthe house

o cargo – someone’s role or responsibility / a carga – cargo

o grama – gramme / a grama – creeping plants such as grass

o caixa – cash book / a caixa – box (caixa can also be a cashier, male or female)

o luto – grief / a luta – fight

o queixo – chin, jaw / a queixa – complaint

o polícia Рpolice officer / a polícia Рpolicy

o bolo – cake / a bola – ball

o carteiro – postman / a carteira – wallet

o cabeço Рheadland / a cabeça Рhead

o puto – a kid / a puta – a whore

Posted in English

Sauce for the Gender 2: Electric Boogaloo

This is a revisiting of one of my most useful blog posts, based on the criteria of number of times I go back to it! I felt like there were too many exceptions and it was worth looking again to see how safe the rules were and whether I could tweak them. To do this, I have taken the list of the 1000 most popular portuguese nouns I mentioned in that post (published on an extremely useful site called Hackingportuguese but currently only available on the Internet archive site because the original is having technical issues) and I have subjected it to extreme torture in an excel spreadsheet in order to see how many exceptions there were. This work has taken me two days so I hope it will pay off.

My version of the list is available as a spreadsheet here. It is actually modified: I took out a couple of words that I saw that were Brazil-specific and a couple that looked like they were (at least in European Portuguese) only used as adjectives, and replaced them with random nouns from a Memrise deck, to bulk it up to a thousand again.

So I’ve recreated my table (below) in what I hope is a more accurate way. TL;DR: Most of the rules are pretty good, I found a new rule I hadn’t heard of and I decided that nouns ending in e are a wilderness of chaos and despair from which there is no escape. In most cases, more specific rules seem to override more general ones. So for example, “dezena” is masculine because it meets the “all numbers are masculine” rule even though it ends in A. And Av√≥ is feminine because it meets the “Male and Female people” rule even though it ends in an O. I’ll update the Memrise Deck I’ve been working on to reflect this new set of rules tomorrow.

Oh and again, sorry about the colour-scheme, but… well, you know… just trying to harness my cultural stereotypes in a way that makes it easier to follow.

Rule Examples Exceptions
Dependent:
Male and Female animals/people depend on individual’s¬†sex*
  • o touro / a vaca
  • o irm√£o / a irm√£
  • o dirigente/a dirigente
  • o autor, a autora
  • o rapaz
  • o socialista, a socialista
  • o jesu√≠ta
  • o chefe
Dependent:
Ordinal numbers depend what’s being counted, because they are effectively adjectives!
  • o primeiro (dia)
  • a segunda (noite)
Masculine:
Nouns ending in
-o (nb, not -ão though)
-r
-l
-z
-u
  • o lugar
  • o amigo
  • o chap√©u
  • o papel
  • o final
  • a tribo
  • a dor
  • a cor
  • a flor
 Variable:
Nouns ending in
-√£o
The textbook says abstract nouns are largely feminine and concrete nouns largely masculine Slightly unclear and too many exceptions to list here. See the table below this one.
Masculine:
Names of Lakes, Rivers, Mountains etc
  • o Tejo
  • os Himalaias
  • o Brasil
  • o Atl√Ęntico
  • o Tamisa (despite the -a ending!)
Masculine:
Compass points
  • O Leste
  • O Oeste
  • O Norte
  • O Sul
Masculine:
Car brands** & types of wines
  • o Madeira
  • o¬†Ferrari
  • a Mercedes (but only the brand. The car is “um Mercedes”)
Variable:
The seasons obey their last letter rules o=masculine, a=feminine
  • o ver√£o
  • o inverno
  • o outono
  • a primavera
Variable:
Week days obey their last letter rules o=masculine, a=feminine
  • o s√°bado
  • o domingo
  • a segunda feira
  • a ter√ßa feira
Masculine:
Words from greek, usually ending -a: most usually in
-ema
-grama
-eta
  • o programa
  • o problema
  • o sistema
  • o poema
  • o cometa
  • o planeta
  • o mapa
  • o telefonema
“Gorjeta” is the only word with these endings that doesn’t match but Priberam says it’s not greek
Masculine:
Letters
  • o a
  • o p
Masculine:
Cardinal numbers
  • o¬†um
  • o cento
  • o milh√£o
Feminine:
Most words ending in
-a
  • a d√ļvida
  • a √°gua
  • a palavra
  • a terra
  • o clima
  • o dia

(likely also greek)

Feminine:
Words ending in -ez
  • a estupidez
  • a gravidez
  • a viuvez
  • a surdez
  • a vez
Feminine: 
Words ending
-dade
-ie
-tude
-gem
-ice
-√£
  • a cidade
  • a viagem
  • a garagem
  • a juventude
  • a esp√©cie
  • a velhice
  • o √≠ndice
Feminine:
Names of towns & countries
  • A Madeira
  • A R√ļssia
  • A Fran√ßa
  • A Sui√ßa
  • A Isl√Ęndia
  • Londres
 Places specifically named after male things:

  • O Rio de Janeiro
  • O Porto

Places consisting of a male noun + adjective

  • O Reino Unido
  • Os Estados Unidos
Feminine:
Names of the Academic Arts and Science subjects
  • a medicina
  • a matem√°tica
  • a biologia
  • a f√≠sica
  • a geografia

*=Note that some of these change their endings but some – like dirigente, cientista, keep the same ending.

**=¬†Jeremy Clarkson would love this, I’m sure

Nouns ending in -√£o

This is a list of all the nouns ending with these two letters (excluding things like “irm√£o” and “ver√£o” that trigger more specific rules). As you can see, they are largely feminine and largely abstract but with quite a lot of concrete masculine nouns acting as exceptions. Conclusion: the rule is pretty sound but if in doubt, err on the side of feminine.

Masculine Feminine
In theory, these should all be concrete (things you can see and touch) In theory these should all be abstract (ideas, emotions)
o alcatr√£o
o apresentação
o avi√£o
o c√£o
o capit√£o
o cart√£o
o ch√£o
o cidad√£o
o coração
o escald√£o
o órgão
o padr√£o
o p√£o
o patr√£o
a acção
a actuação
a administração
a alteração
a aplicação
a aprovação
a associação
a atenção
a avaliação
a canção
a classificação
a colecção
a comiss√£o
a competição
a composição
a comunicação
a concepção
a conclus√£o
a condição
a constituição
a construção
a criação
a decis√£o
a declaração
a definição
a designação
a dimens√£o
a direcção
a discuss√£o
a disposição
a distribuição
a divis√£o
a edição
a educação
a eleição
a emoção
a estação
a evolução
a excepção
a expans√£o
a explicação
a exploração
a exportação
a exposição
a express√£o
a extens√£o
a federação
a formação
a função
a fundação
a geração
a gest√£o
a impress√£o
a inflação
a informação
a instalação
a instituição
a intenção
a interpretação
a intervenção
a investigação
a ligação
a manifestação
a m√£o
a miss√£o
a nação
a negociação
a obrigação
a observação
a ocasi√£o
a opção
a operação
a opini√£o
a oposição
a organização
a orientação
a paix√£o
a participação
a população
a posição
a preocupação
a press√£o
a pris√£o
a privatização
a produção
a profiss√£o
a protecção
a publicação
a quest√£o
a raz√£o
a reacção
a realização
a redução
a regi√£o
a relação
a religi√£o
a representação
a resolução
a reuni√£o
a revis√£o
a revolução
a secção
a selecção
a sensação
a sess√£o
a situação
a solução
a televis√£o
a tradição
a transformação
a uni√£o
a utilização
a variação
a vers√£o
a vis√£o
a votação

Appendix 1: Not-so-Easy E

The original version of this post stated that nouns ending in -e followed the same pattern as those ending in -√£o so I made up a list in the same format as the -√£o list. However, as you can see, contrary to the textbook rule, it’s mixed pretty evenly between abstract and non-abstract on both sides. Conclusion: the rule is bollocks, I’m afraid, and we’ll just have to learn these the hard way.

Masculine Feminine
In theory, these should all be concrete (things you can see and touch) In theory these should all be abstract (ideas, emotions)
o acidente
o ambiente
o ataque
o barrete
o breve
o clube
o combate
o continente
o controle
o corte
o costume
o crime
o debate
o dente
o destaque
o empate
o exame
o filme
o gabinete
o golpe
o horizonte
o instante
o interesse
o legume
o leite
o limite
o mestre
o monte
o nome
o nordeste
o padre
o parque
o peixe
o príncipe
o regime
o romance
o sangue
o telefone
o teste
o transporte
o vale
o volume
a an√°lise
a arte
a √°rvore
a ave
a base
a carne
a chave
a classe
a corte
a crise
a estante
a face
a fase
a fome
a fonte
a frase
a frente
a gente
a gripe
a hipótese
a m√£e
a metade
a morte
a noite
a parede
a parte
a pele
a ponte
a posse
a rede
a sa√ļde
a sede
a sorte
a tarde
a torre
a vontade

(NB Corte appears in both sides because it can mean either “The court” or “The cut”, both reasonably common but having differing genders just to be bloody awkward)

Apprendix 2: Mistakes, Mis-Shapes, Misfits

When I’d counted all the words that fit the rules and the exceptions, there was a short list left over of words that met none of the rules. The majority seem to be masculine, apart from f√©, lei, ordem and nuvem.

  • a f√©
  • o fim
  • o g√°s
  • o jardim
  • a lei
  • o m√™s
  • a nuvem
  • a ordem
  • o pa√≠s
  • o p√©
  • o som
  • o tom

Amended 1/2/19 – realised I’d written a “new rule” that was nonsense

Posted in English

Sauce for the Gender

In the third of what I am now definitely thinking of my Four Evil Exes articles, here’s what I can find on the subject of remembering which nouns are masculine and which feminine. It turned out to be easier than I thought, although I’m sure the exceptions will plague me. I wish I’d done it ages ago, actually, but that’s the trouble with the 4 evil exes: they are boring and difficult and don’t have fun workarounds I can use, so it was just a case of ploughing through the literature – in this case, “Portuguese – an Essential Grammar” by Am√©lia Hutchinson and Janet Lloyd, with some supplemental examples cribbed¬†from Fun With Portuguese¬†and My Five Romances. I also got some tips from Benny the Irish Polyglot¬†and¬†read an entertaining post on the subject by Lady of the Cakes, whose blog is a great deal prettier and better-written than mine. Her post is a bit more pessimistic when it comes to finding patterns in this mess, but on the plus side does have (a) a picture of some cake and (b) rude words.

As you can see, most of the rules have exceptions, so it’s not as if I can be guaranteed to never screw up again if I learn them but if I don’t happen to know a word, it might boost my hit-rate a few percentage points.In most cases, more specific rules seem to override more general ones. So for example, “milh√£o” is masculine because it meets the “all numbers are masculine” rule even though it’s an abstract noun ending in -√£o.

Oh and sorry about the colour-scheme, but… well, you know…

Rule Examples Exceptions
Dependent:
Male and Female animals/people depend on individual’s¬†sex*
  • o touro / a vaca
  • o irm√£o / a irm√£
Dependent:
Ordinal numbers depend what’s being counted
  • o primeiro (dia)
  • a segunda (noite)
Masculine:
Nouns ending in
-o (nb, not -ão though)
-r
-l
-z
  • o lugar
  • o valor
  • o papel
  • o final
  • o rapaz
  • a foto
  • a tribo
  • a gravidez (understandably enough…)
 Masculine:
Concrete nouns ending in
-e**
-√£o***
  • o sangue
  • o clube
  • o cora√ß√£o
  • o ch√£o
  • o √≥rg√£o
  • a fonte
  • a √°rvore
  • a m√£o
  • a televis√£o
Masculine:
Names of Lakes, Rivers, Mountains etc
  • o Tejo
  • os Himalaias
  • o Brasil
  • o Atl√Ęntico
  • o Tamisa (despite the -a ending!)
Masculine:
Car brands**** & types of wines
  • o porto
  • o¬†Ferrari
  • a Mercedes
Masculine:
The seasons*****
  • o ver√£o
  • o inverno
  • o outono
  • a primavera
Masculine:
Weekend days
  • o s√°bado
  • o domingo
Masculine:
Words from greek, usually ending -a: most usually in
-ema
-grama
-eta
  • o programa
  • o problema
  • o sistema
  • o poema
  • o cometa
  • o planeta
  • o dia
  • o mapa
  • o clima
  • o telefonema
Masculine:
Letters
  • o a
  • o p
Masculine:
Cardinal numbers
  • o¬†um
  • o cento
  • o milh√£o
Feminine:
Most words ending in
-a
  • a d√ļvida
  • a √°gua
  • a palavra
  • a terra
Feminine: 
Words ending
-dade
-ie
-tude
-gem
-ice
-√£
  • a cidade
  • a viagem
  • a garagem
  • a juventude
  • a esp√©cie
  • a velhice
Feminine:
Abstract nouns ending in
-e
-√£o***
  • a crise
  • a parte
  • a gente
  • a li√ß√£o
  • ¬†o norte
Feminine:
Names of towns & countries
  • A Madeira
  • A R√ļssia
  • A Fran√ßa
  • A Sui√ßa
  • A Isl√Ęndia
  • A Londres
 Places specifically named after male things:

  • O Rio de Janeiro
  • O S√£o Paulo
  • O Porto

Places consisting of a male noun + adjective

  • Reino Unido
  • Os Estados Unidos
Feminine:
Names of the Arts and Sciences
  • a medicina
  • a matem√°tica
  • a biologia
  • o teatro
  • o cinema
Feminine:
Names of days during the working week
  • a segunda feira
  • a ter√ßa feira

*=This rule supersedes all others. So “a mulher” is feminine even though it ends with r, for example

**=When looking for samples of nouns ending in -e as examples to use of concrete (masculine) and abstract (feminine) it was striking how many exceptions there were to this rule on the list. I’ve left it in because it’s in the textbook but, at least with the more common nouns, it seems like feminine outnumbers masculine for most -e nouns, even the concrete ones

***=When looking for samples of nouns ending in -√£o as examples to use of concrete (masculine) and abstract (feminine) it was striking that the first twenty or so -√£o words on this list were all abstract, feminine ones

****=¬†Jeremy Clarkson would love this, I’m sure

*****=one exception out of four words is pretty shonky though. It’s only one away from a 50-50 split! Maybe best remember these by their endings and pretend the rule doesn’t exist!