What is the reason behind mapa having an el in the begginnging when mapa is feminine? | SpanishDict Answers
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2 Vote

Thanks for any answer!

5 Answers

4 Vote

I found this on the net for you, muy interesante no? smile

The correct form is “el mapa”. Originally, the word comes from the medieval Latin expression “mappa mundi”, where “mappa” refers to “napkin” or “canvas”, as the material maps were painted on. Even though “mappa” is a feminine noun, “mappa mundi” (map of the world) was lexicalised in Spanish as a masculine noun, and “mapa” is an abbreviation of that expression, retaining the masculine gender.

  • thanks so much. like everyone else thought i had a problem with like feminisim and masculine but i get that i just wanted a reason. like el mano is la mano because there was a bad violent gang and whoeve said el mano got killed so it changed to la mano - amyloves2boo Aug 12, 2010 flag
  • you do know mano mens hand and not man. I have never heard af a hand being killed - coolclay Aug 12, 2010 flag
2 Vote

Hi amyloves2boo ,One of the hardest things for people to get used to when learning Spanish is the idea that nouns (people, places, animals, things, ideas, and feelings) have a gender (male, female). There is always a question of "How can a table be feminine? and "How can a a book be masculine?" This doesn´t mean that the table or the book is physically feminine or masculine, but in a grammatical sense, the ending is. Below you will find a quick rundown of how to deal with all the gender confusion and a few easy ways to remember all the exceptions.

check this thread it will help you a lot grinGender (masculine, feminine)

1 Vote

There is a generals rule that words ending with an a are feminine and words ending in o are masculine which is true the majority of the time but there are exceptions for both.

For instance el agua is masculine and la mano is feminine.

Rules are meant to be broken.

  • Correction: Agua is a feminine noun. It is preceded by the article "el" only in the singular form because it begins with the letter A. Since la ends in A, that would cause a pronunciation problem, which is fixed by using el. But the word is feminine. - Goyo Aug 11, 2010 flag
  • Estoy de acuerdo con Goyo - silverlake Aug 12, 2010 flag
1 Vote

The short answer is that mapa is masculine, not feminine. There are some masculine nouns that end with an -A. They're just exceptions to the rule, for a variety of reasons.

1 Vote

This masculine/feminine thing and the agreement of articles with their nouns has been an Achille's heel for me. I am SLOWLY working through my frustration at so often getting it wrong. In conversation, especially, it seems that I grab the wrong article, even when the noun obviously ends in an A or an O.

Here's where I am with this now and why spanishdict.com is so great...

If you go to the flashcards or take any of the tests associated with the lessons, you will learn that the scoring is very unforgiving. You have to get the answer EXACTLY correct, including matching article and all appropriate accents (or tildes).

As I was having problems remembering "LA girafa" one day, it occurred to me that when they are young, Spanish speaking people learn their nouns TOGETHER with the appropriate article. Therefore, it only sounds right to them that way. In English, we learn only the noun, because we have neutral articles, so who cares?

This creates a block in the English speaker's mind. The article becomes an extra, separate thing to learn in addition to the noun, and that makes it frustrating, feeling like double the work, doubling the chance that you get it wrong.

In learning this new language, we have to learn a different way to learn, too.

So, the answer, in my experience, is to learn the article and noun TOGETHER, as one concept, as we do in spanishdict.com. Most of the time, it makes sense (la girafa), but in the cases where there are e endings or inconsistencies in the rule, I now have an easier time accepting "it is what it is."

  • Yes, that's the best way to learn them, as a pair. - KevinB Aug 12, 2010 flag
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