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Myrtonos

General guide to learning Latin based languages

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Myrtonos
On 1/21/2019 at 4:35 AM, Nesf said:

Since masculine and neuter nouns have the same forms in the singular, it really doesn't matter - it only really matters if you want to form the plural, which for a mass noun, you're not going to do.

Which means that there is no difference between masculine and neuter mass nouns. Nouns that don't have a plural form are therefore masculine or feminine.

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Nesf

There is no difference between masculine and neuter nouns in the singular, and no difference between feminine and neuter nouns in the plural, regardless whether they have a plural or not.

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Myrtonos

In that case, nouns that don't have plural forms must either be masculine or feminine.

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Nesf

They can be masculine, feminine or neuter. Gender is not dependent on number. Or they have plural forms, but like lemn, they change their meaning in the plural.

Edited by Nesf

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Myrtonos

But whether neuter nouns are the same as masculine or the same as feminine does depend on number, and mass nouns are not, and cannot be marked for number. Therefore the distinction between neuter nouns and others depends on marking for number, and mass nouns cannot be marked for number.

For examples in English, we cannot say one coal or two coals, for example. What we say is 'one piece of coal' or 'two pieces of coal'. But 'much coal' does work.

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Nesf

No, they don't depend on anything, they just are masculine, feminine or neuter, regardless whether they get used in the plural form or not. Many uncountable or mass nouns can be used in the plural, but their meaning changes, as in your coal example.

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Myrtonos
26 minutes ago, Nesf said:

...they don't depend on anything, they just are masculine, feminine or neuter, regardless whether they get used in the plural form or not.

 

But you said there is no difference between masculine and neuter nouns in the singular, and no difference between feminine and neuter nouns in the plural, and if so, it is impossible for a noun that doesn't have a plural form to be neuter.

27 minutes ago, Nesf said:

Many uncountable or mass nouns can be used in the plural, but their meaning changes, as in your coal example.

Exactly, their meaning changes to a countable one, and in that case, it is a countable noun.

Looking at English, there are plenty of mass nouns that simply do not have a plural form, they can come right after 'much' but never right after a number. If such nouns exist in Romanian, they would have to be masculine or feminine.

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Nesf
20 hours ago, Myrtonos said:

it is impossible for a noun that doesn't have a plural form to be neuter.

Why would it be impossible? A noun's gender is not determined by it's plural form. It's plural form is a consequence of its gender, not its gender a consequence of its plural form.

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Myrtonos

But the plural forms of nouns are the only difference between masculine and neuter nouns and the singular forms are the only difference between masculine and feminine nouns. Therefore there is no way to tell neuter nouns that don't have singular or plural forms from both masculine and feminine nouns.

Note to @RiRi, it is as if some nouns in Spanish that can have el in front of them in the singular got las instead of los in the plural. Imagine something like el nombrelas nombres.

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Nesf
1 hour ago, Myrtonos said:

Therefore there is no way to tell neuter nouns that don't have singular or plural forms from both masculine and feminine nouns.

This is true, and native speakers can make mistakes. I think that they can be given a plural, but would their meaning in the plural. Ulei (oil) is also neuter, and has a plural form 'uleiuri'. Uleiuri would mean in English 'types of oil'.

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