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Thread: FR: des (chaussures de) tennis - genre

  1. #1
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    FR: des (chaussures de) tennis - genre

    Wordreference, as well as my own experience with French, indicates that "des chaussures de tennis" and "des tennis" (when speaking of sneakers) are feminine plural words. The elementary French textbook that I use to teach says that "des tennis" (sneakers) is masculine. Is there any reason why this would be the case, or can I confidently tell my students that the book is wrong and "des tennis" is feminine?

  2. #2
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    Re: FR: des chaussures de tennis

    In my opinion, "des tennis" is feminine, because "des (chaussures de) tennis" is implied. We would say "elles sont belles tes tennis" rather than "ils sont beaux tes tennis". Never heard it used in the masculine form.

  3. #3
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    Re: FR: des chaussures de tennis

    Merci! My thoughts as well.

  4. #4
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    Re: FR: des chaussures de tennis

    Then why un tee-shirt, when chemise is implied?

  5. #5
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    Re: FR: des chaussures de tennis

    Hi,
    I wouldn't say "chemise" is implied in "T-shirt". The word has been lexicalised as is and like all new words in French, it is masculine.

  6. #6
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    Re: FR: des chaussures de tennis

    Many foreign words indeed become masculine in French, regardless of the implied noun, but this is not systematical, Tonton (p. ex.: une holding, une interview).

    Anyway, back to the original question, we indeed often use tennis in the feminine when referring to shoes, but the masculine is not unusual. The masculine can be justified by either the above or the fact that the implied noun can also be masculine, e.g., un soulier.

  7. #7
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    Re: FR: des (chaussures de) tennis - genre

    I knew there were contradicting examples to the general assumption that all new nouns are masculine but I didn't want to make it too complex.
    However, to go back to our point, I have *never* heard the word 'tennis' meaning shoes in the masculine.
    I did a quick survey (I asked 1 person ! ) and we both agree on that point.
    Perhaps the masculine gender is a regional peculiarity.

  8. #8
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    Re: FR: des (chaussures de) tennis - genre

    As a matter of fact, I've heard it used in both feminine and masculine in France… Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, I guess I would also use it in the feminine, but I actually never say tennis for shoes—and this is probably a regional thing! —I say baskets instead (in the feminine).

    Larousse says:
    Sorte de sandale à tige de toile et à semelle souple et adhérente, adaptée à la pratique du tennis. (S'emploie aussi au féminin.)
    which seems to imply that both genders are used but that the “main” gender is the masculine—although it may be only due to the fact that the sport is always masculine.

  9. #9
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    Re: FR: des (chaussures de) tennis - genre

    Maybe I'll let my students use either one. They'll be happy with two options. I'm so glad this became an interesting discussion!

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