As discussed in the previous course (A1.1), the professions have masculine and feminine forms. For example, a male doctor is “der Arzt” and a female is “die Ärztin.” In most cases, an ‘in’ is added to the ends of the names of professions in the masculine form to create the feminine form. Occasionally, an umlaut will be added to the stem vowel of the masculine noun to form the female equivalent (e.g. der Rechtsanwalt / die Rechtsanwältin).
However, there are nouns formed from adjectives, and they have “weak” endings when preceded by definite articles, meaning that they do not in and of themselves clearly indicate the gender of the noun. An example of this is found in the word for employee:
der Angestellte / die Angestellte male/female employee
In this case, the definite articles (der/die) indicate gender in place of the ‘in’ in the previous examples. This is due to the formation of these nouns from adjectives (e.g. angestellt = employed). This can also be seen in nationalities such as German:
der Deutsche / die Deutsche male/female German BUT ein Deutscher / eine Deutsche
As seen in the example above, when preceded by an indefinite article (ein/eine), the ending of the noun becomes “strong,” which means that the ending carries the gender of the noun (‘er’ for masculine, ‘e’ for feminine).