La Section de la langue Jèrriaise

La Batâle des Sexes - Battle of the Sexes

Mastchulîn ou féminîn? Masculine or feminine? Like many languages, Jèrriais differentiates between things which happen to be in the same category as men, and other things which are in the same category as women.

Let's take the ladies first: words which take eune (a/an) or la (the) include bouannefemme (wife), soeu (sister) and méthe (mother). All logically enough are considered feminine. Les vaques (cows) and other female animals are also referred to as ou or oulle (she). Ou donne lé miyeu lait du monde, la Jèrriaise (she gives the best milk in the world, the Jersey cow). Other female animals are la jeunment (the mare), la catte (the cat - female) and la pithotte (the goose).

If we want to talk about the gander, on the other hand, we can say l'pithot. Lé boeu (the bull), lé j'va (the horse) and lé cat (the cat) are equally naturally masculine and take un (a/an) or or l' (the).

But sometimes one is hard-pressed to explain why some things are considered masculine or feminine. Why do we say lé rat (the rat) but la souothis (the mouse)? Why lé zèbre but la girafe? Nou n'y comprend ni tchu ni tête (one can't make head nor tail of it)!

Some words, especially les mêtchièrs (professions), change depending on whether a man or a woman is referred to. For example, dans eune banque (in a bank) you'll find un bantchi (a male banker) or eune bantchiéthe (a female banker). À la campangne (in the country) one will say “Bouônjour!” to un fèrmyi (a male farmer) or eune fèrmiéthe (a female farmer or farmer's wife). Your male neighbour is un vaîsîn and your female neighbour is eune vaîsinne, just as a male cousin is un couôsîn and a female cousin is eune couôsinne.

But perhaps we shouldn't look for too much logic when la barbe (the beard) and la moustache (the moustache) are both feminine!


La Section de la langue Jèrriaise
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