Why do they choose masculine and feminine for food?

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Why do they choose which food is masculine and feminine? Just curious.

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updated AGO 21, 2009
posted by LionelMessi1012

3 Answers

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Why is a ship a "she", if in Spanish is a "he"? English got influences from so many tribes and languages, that people ended up with a mix of many different complex inflections all at the same time, which was extremely confusing, so they gradually began to get rid of most of the inflections, including conjugations and genders. At the moment there are only theories about genders, and they are rather complicated to explain if you haven't studied Indo-European morphology and phonetics, but the most popular theory is about the distinction between the active and passive quality of things, plus phonetic factors related to each language inflections. Notice that different languages, even though they all have a common ancestor, have different genders for the same words.

updated AGO 21, 2009
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
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Thanks guys. That was a lot of help.smile

updated AGO 21, 2009
posted by LionelMessi1012
Y también interesante!
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You may just as well ask how they assign gender to any word. Flip a coin?

I think that they consider the etymology of the word, rules like most words ending in "a" are feminine, similarities to other words, and such. Or they throw darts at a board.

I just did the lesson on Flowers. In it was the Spanish word for Baby's Breath. The Spanish word is la gipsófila. The Latin scientific classification is Gypsophila paniculata. Does that give you some idea how they came up with the word. Since it ends in "a" which is a common feminine ending it was made feminine. (I'm sure it was not that simple. I'm just suggesting a reasoning.)

updated AGO 20, 2009
posted by 0074b507