If someone says they have "dos hermanos", does that mean two brothers or two siblings? How can you tell the difference?
Is hermano the same word for brother and sibling or am I missing something here? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm new.
El Hermano is brother, un hermano is one brother.
La hermana is sister, una hermana is one sister.
Los hermanos are brothers or brothers and sisters. Or a brother and a sister.
Dos hermanos ... you will have to ask ... or pay close attention to their names.
Many Spanish words follow this model. Most follow the o to a ending, like abuelo = grandfather, abuela = grandmother, abuelos = grandparents.
But, padre = father, madre = mother, padres = parents.
And, then there is nostotros which means we, if any or all of us are male. If we are all female then use nosotras. But, even if we are a countless group of females and only one male, then nosotros is used.
You may have a hundred friends, if all are female, then, ellas son tus amigas. If ninety nine of your friends are female and one is male, then, ellos son tus amigos.
As you study Spanish you'll discover a lot more.
Okay, a follow up question from lil_toruga.
I guess I have noticed other ones like it...just hadn't put it all together yet. What would be the appropriate follow up question in this case? Would you just ask "hermanos o hermanas?"
Since dos hermanos was said, at least one of them must be male. If both were female then dos hermanas would have been used.
I think I would try, (¿Los dos son muchachos?). This might not be the best way, but, I think it would work.
Hopefully others who know will give us some help here.
I don't think the situation is as confusing as it sounds. If the speaker thinks that the gender of his siblings is germane to the conversation he will say: Tengo un hermano y una hermana or tengo dos hermanos; no hermanas. If he feels that the gender has no significance then he would say Tengo dos hermanos. (siblings)
If he does say Tengo dos hermanos (siblings) and you wish to know if any are sisters simply say ¿Algunas hermanas?
If the speaker thought it was important to specify step-siblings or half-siblings or adopted siblings then he would make the distinction and not just say I have xxxx siblings. If he does, then he didn't feel the distinction was important.
If the speaker thinks that the gender of his siblings is germane to the conversation he will say: Tengo un hermano y una hermana or tengo dos hermanos; no hermanas. If he feels that the gender has no significance then he would say Tengo dos hermanos. (siblings)
Not really, quentin, a native would never automatically say, tengo un hermano y una hermana.