ITALIAN GRAMMAR: Nouns and Genders

ITALIAN NOUNS AND GENDERS Most Italian nouns end in a vowel—those that end in a consonant are of foreign origin—and all nouns have a gender, even those that refer to a qualities, ideas, and things. Usually, Italian singular masculine nouns end in –o, while feminine nouns end in –a(-tà).

» Masculine » Feminine
   Tavolo (table)    Casa (house)
   Sviluppo (development)    Rosa (rouse)
   Organismo (organism)    Città (city)
There are exceptions for this rule, of course (see table below):
» Masculine » Feminine
   Giornale (newspaper)    F rase (sentence)
   Pane (bread)    Canzone (song)
   Nome (name)    Notte (night)
Gender Inflections for Nouns:
  • Feminine is often obtained from masculine by the alternation -o : -a in the endings
» Masculine » Feminine
   Amico   friend    Amica    friend
   Bambino    little boy    Bambina   little girl
   Cugino    cousin (he)    Cugina    cousin (she)
   Figlio     son    Figlia     daughter
   Maestro      master, teacher    Maestra    teacher (female)
The alteration -e : -a also occurs, cf.:
» Masculine » Feminine
   Signore    mister    Signora      mistress
   Padrone    master, owner    Padrona     mistress of the house
  • Sometimes masculine and feminine are derived from different (or modified) roots:
» Masculine » Feminine
   frate      friar    soura      nun
   fratello     brother    sorella    sister
   padre       father    madre   mother
   uomo       man    donna     woman
   paperone drake    oca duck
  • These are nouns with one form for both genders. Here are included all the nouns suffixed by -ista. Examples:
    • Artista  »  artist
    • Giornalista  »  journalist
    • Pianista  »  pianist
    • Turista  »  tourist etc
  • Some other nouns, like:
» camerata     comrade » consorte      consort
» compatriota     compatriot » amante      lover
» eresiarca    heresiarch » cliente     client
» idiota    idiot » commerciante     trader
» omicida murderer » interprete interpreter

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