33 Comments This discussion is locked.
German is quite difficult but I now see the advantage of knowing two languages. My native language is Spanish and all these inflections in adjectives, nouns, etc., are similar to the Spanish ones, including this rule of not using articles for occupations. Sometimes, I get to see some English structures and I'm like 'this is also familiar'. German, for me, is a big mixture of the grammars I am familiar with. Of course there are some new rules I have to deal with but they will come with practice :)
@QuintanillaJon : I don't think German words change depending on gender - every word has its specific grammatical gender. Or are you referring to this: der Arzt, die Ärztin; der Lehrer, die Lehrerin; der Autor, die Autorin ? The -in does that, but I think only in the case of people and occupations.
See if this helps:
German gender hints: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa042098.htm and http://german.about.com/library/blgen_die.htm
The German words for many professions will change based on the gender of the person. The standard rule is that it will add "-in" to the end of the word if the person is a woman. There may or may not be a vowel shift involved too [as there is with Ärztin].
This also affects the plural of the word, which will now end in "-innen' to the end.
If you know the person is a woman, you would use the feminine form. If you're not sure, I believe it's safer to use the male version.
The grammatical gender usually matches the biological sex of the person that you are referring to. So the word that refers to a male baker is grammatically masculine, and the word that refers to a female baker is grammatically feminine. In the vast majority of cases, the female variant is formed by simply adding the suffix -in to the male variant, e.g. der Bäcker becomes die Bäckerin, der Arzt becomes die Ärztin, and der Schüler (the pupil) becomes die Schülerin.