Why is the word "Madchen" which means a girl/maid, a neuter gender? Why is it not feminine? Also, how do I distinguish among all the genders? They get confusing, because genders do not really exist among non-living things in English.
Any word with the diminutive ending "-chen" is neuter because that's what the grammar police decided on. There are some patterns like this (-ung, -ie endings usually point to feminine, -er endings usually point to masc.) but really it's a matter of memorization, or of having a good dictionary. Here's a good dictionary:
Hope this helps!
Also, "chen" is a diminutive form of a word. In this case the word is "die Maid" (the maiden). There is also the joke that it is the diminutive from die Made (maggot :D) Is it because the maggot turns into a beautiful butterfly?
Other examples are:
Das Brot - Das Brötchen (small bread) Das Haus - Das Häuschenouse (small house) Die Wurst - Das Würstchen (small sausage) Der Hund - Das Hündchen (small dog)
Notice that the first vowel gets an umlaut üäö. And so changes its sound.
You have to learn the gender for each noun. Always note the gender too when you encounter a new noun. And learn its plural form too, because there is no general rule for that either.
funny article ( topic: "der die das" ) ... ... http://www.learn-german-smarter.com/learn-german-articles.html ... ... auch in einer deutschen Version zu lesen http://www.beste-tipps-zum-deutsch-lernen.com/deutsche-Artikel-lernen.html