I'm just relying on memorization to conjure the gender of nouns. Perhaps if I understood etymologically why these genders came about, I would have an easier time remembering. There are three perplexities that I would like to demonstrate with some example words:
- Original Formation. What traits make an object masculine or feminine? "El sonido" does not have sexual organs. Sound is not even visible. So why did the creators of Spanish choose "el sonido" instead of "la sonida"?
- Special Rules. If it ends in -a, it is feminine. If it ends in most other letters, it is masculine. However, if it ends in -dad or -ción, it is feminine. What's the rhyme or reason for adding -dad and -ción rules? Why couldn't "la ciudad" just be "el ciudad" for simplicity?
- Irregularities. Why is "idioma" masculine and "mano" feminine? Language can be spoken by either gender and hands also belong to creatures of both genders. I have a feeling that there may be a cultural or historical reason why some nouns became irregular in gender.