There seems to come a point on every course I teach, where my lovely students begin to share their theories about why certain words in French or German are one gender or another. It’s a fascinating subject and one that continues to cause consternation class after class. The amount of careful thought and analysis that goes into this, in a tireless attempt to make sense of it and succeed where countless others have fallen down, is proof enough that this matter needs addressing.

I have occasionally admitted that my early strategy, adopted when I first visited Germany as a schoolgirl, was to put everything into the plural. In German this is particularly effective if you choose the dative plural!

Recently one of my students independently came up with the same idea.

At this point I should reveal that one of my very favourite writers, David Sedaris, also used this technique when he briefly went to live in France. I’ve been lucky enough to see David perform live a couple of times and I own several of his books and CDs. If you don’t know his work you can ‘meet’ him now and again  on Radio 4. However you find Mr Sedaris, I promise you are in for a real treat.

Why not start with Me Talk Pretty One Day and share with David his struggles to learn a foreign language?



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