2

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Why is it 'el sofá' but not la?
Because of the accent'

  • Posted Sep 25, 2008
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8 Answers

3

Votes

"Sofa" is masculine in French, so James' guess is likely to be right.

However, although most nouns ending in -a are feminine, there are a few ones (mostly Greek, but also from other languages, like sofá) that are masculine despite their ending, and they just have to be memorized, unfortunately. Some of the most common exceptions are:

aroma
axioma
buda
carisma
clima
día
diagrama
dilema
drama
fantasma
idioma
mañana
panda (also in feminine)
planeta
prisma
sistema
tema.

Notice that many of them end in -ma (from Greek).

P.S. I didn't see samdie's post.

  • Sep 26, 2008
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  • Not forgetting problema - I tend to use that on a daily basis... - afowen Jan 19, 2011
  • nice - margaretbl Jan 19, 2011
1

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It might be because it was considered a foreign word. It came from French, sofa, which came from the Persian 'offe, which came from Classical Arabic 'uffah. The accent has nothing to do with the gender.

Or maybe the Spaniards sprinkled in a few words like this just to trip up foreigners, so they could spot any spies. hehe

  • Sep 25, 2008
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1

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There are many words in Spanish that were borrowed from Greek that end in "a" (mostly that end in "ma" that are masculine). In these cases the usual practice was to preserve the gender that the words had in the original Greek. But, speaking more generally, loan words are much less likely to preserve the "a"=feminine "o"=masculine rule (and even in Spanish there are exceptions (e.g. el día).

  • Sep 25, 2008
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  • Greek nouns ending in -ma are generally neuter. They can be feminine, but never masculine. - CaroleAR Jan 19, 2011
0

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Jaja. ok.

  • Sep 25, 2008
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0

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Actually I didn't think that the word sofa carried an accent in Spanish.

  • Sep 26, 2008
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tad said:

Actually I didn't think that the word sofa carried an accent in Spanish.


oh, but I see that it does...

  • Sep 26, 2008
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So the next question being is it 'un sofá nuevo o nueva? More general question being, in these examples, does the adjective follow the gender or the spelling of the noun?

  • Jan 19, 2011
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  • Always the gender... - afowen Jan 19, 2011
  • tie! - 0074b507 Jan 19, 2011
  • So it would be 'el sofa nuevo'? - barhamo Feb 14, 2011
0

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The adjective always matches the noun in gender and number. It does not matter if the word ends in an "a" or "o".