Gender in the Irish Language
Nouns in Irish are either masculine or feminine. There used to be a neuter gender, but it is no longer used, although you can see the remnants of it in certain placenames. Some grammatical changes work differently for masculine and feminine nouns, so knowing the gender of a noun is important.
Most Irish nouns are masculine, but the following types of nouns are usually feminine:
- nouns ending in a slender consonant (but not -aeir, -éir, -eoir, -óir, -úir, -ín)
- nouns ending in -eog, -óg, -lann
- multi-syllable nouns ending in -acht or -íocht
- names of countries and languages
- abstract nouns ending in -e or -í
Those rules work most of the time, but it's best to learn a noun's gender along with the noun itself. The best way to remember a noun's gender is to practice using the noun with the definite article. That's because the article can cause a change to the noun depending on its gender.
For more information, see: