"I am a boy."
Translation:Je suis un garçon.
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Yes, le is masculine and la is feminine, as un is masculine and une is feminine but the le and un do not mean the same thing. When used in the context that these sentences are using them in un means a and le means the. For example la femme means the woman and une femme would mean a woman.
In French (and a number of other languages, mostly derived from Latin), "masculine and feminine" are not only a sexual distinction between males and females, but also between nouns : "une pomme" is feminine (no sexual connotation of course) vs "un livre" (book), masculine.
Every noun in French has a gender, masculine or feminine, which will affect all determiners and adjectives attached to the noun. So you have to learn every new noun with its gender.
There are 2 groups of articles: definite and indefinite
the book, the man, the water, the woman, the children = le livre (masc. sing), l'homme (masc sing, in front of a word starting with a vowel or non aspirate H), l'eau (fem sing in front of a word starting with a vowel or non aspirate H), la femme (fem sing), les enfants (masc or fem, plural).
a book, a man, a woman, an apple, (some) apples = un livre (masc sing), un homme (masc sing), une femme (fem sing), une pomme (fem sing), des pommes (masc or fem, plural).
I had a question where is had to choose all the sentences that meant "You are a boy" (or something like that) so I selected "Tu est un garcon". It told me I was incorrect because I was supposed to also tick "Tu es un gars". Is there a difference?
When I later had a question where I had to translate "I am a boy" I tried "Je suis un gars" to see if it would work, and it didn't... (Je suis un garçon was the correct answer)
"Je suis un scientifique" is perfectly correct and it can have 2 meanings:
- je suis un scientifique, pas un littéraire = I am good at sciences, not at literature (this does not tell what my profession is, just my mind structure).
- je suis (un) scientifique, plus précisément en physique nucléaire = I am a scientist, precisely in nuclear physics (complemented by my speciality, "scientifique" becomes a profession, with or without the article).
To avoid ambiguity, "scientist" is often translated to "chercheur".
Today, I asked my French colleague. His answer is "je suis scientifique", "je suis chercheur", "je suis physicien" etc. WITHOUT the article if we talk about profession. The article can be used if you want to say that you are one of the known group. "scientist" is not a translation of "chercheur", because the "chercheur" is a researcher.
"le" = "the", so it does not fit.
"le, la, les" (=the) are not more "general", they are definite articles, which means that they indeed define or specify the noun.
je suis le garçon le plus beau du monde = I am the most beautiful boy in the world
je suis le garçon qui a appelé la police = I am the boy who called the police.
"je suis un garçon" means "a boy" or "one boy", where un, like une and des (plural for both genders) are indefinite articles (non-specified).