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.
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