Is "Дівчата" neuter (instead of the expected feminine)? I'm judging by the plural ending.
The singular form of "дівчата" is "дівчина", and it is feminine. However, there is a colloquial word for "a girl" with the same root - "дівча", and it is neuter!
But you're right, "дівчата" does look like a plural of a neuter word. It could well be that etymologically "дівчата" was formed as the plural of "дівча", but I can't be sure. Just treat it as an irregular plural for now.
Дівчата is plural, so technically, it doesn't have any gender :) From the point of view of the grammar for sure.
This doesn't seem right to me. I made a note that masculine plural nouns tend to end in "-и" or "-і," feminine plural nouns tend to end in "-и" or "-і," and neuter plural nouns tend to end in "-а" or "-я." Is this an oversimplification?
You are right here in the sense that дівчата comes from дівча -> дівчато (?) -> дівчатко which is neuter. But it is also plural for дівчина which is feminine. And in this case it follows the same declension patterns as the plural of neuter words (e.g. кошенята). Sorry, didn't quite understand what you wanted at first ^^
Google Translate gives... дівча -> girl дівчато -> girl дівчатко -> girl дівчина -> girl
Yikes! What's the difference between these words? Do they have different shades of meaning? Which one should I use in which situation?