Why is it "der Bär" and "die Maus" and not "das Bär" and "das Maus"?
March 9, 2014 12:08 PM Subscribe
Is it acceptable, in the name of practicality, to ignore gender while speaking German?
posted by triceryclops to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I am trying to learn German using Duolingo.com and while I'm have little trouble recalling the nouns themselves, remembering their respective genders is a task of increasing complexity. A lot of the comments sections on the Duolingo confirm that memorizing the genders of nouns is something that comes with immersion and exposure, and I'll probably never reach the proficiency of a person for whom it is their mother tongue.
I did a little bit of Googling on the subject and arrived at this article
which I found interesting. The article seems to imply that a gender-neutral form of German is a relatively new and deviant concept.
But for practical purposes I'd like to know if it's acceptable to use gender neutral articles for everything except things that are specifically male or female. I know that if I were to go to Germany, I would at the very least immediately out myself as a non-native speaker, but I was also wondering if this would also be a major cultural faux pas that would be excessively off-putting.