HomeQ&AEl sofá?

El sofá?

2
votes

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

14825 views
updated AGO 9, 2011
posted by DarkTree

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.

updated AGO 9, 2011
posted by lazarus1907
Not forgetting problema - I tend to use that on a daily basis... - afowen, ENE 19, 2011
nice - margaretbl, ENE 19, 2011
1
vote

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).

updated ENE 19, 2011
posted by samdie
Greek nouns ending in -ma are generally neuter. They can be feminine, but never masculine. - CaroleAR, ENE 19, 2011
1
vote

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

updated ENE 19, 2011
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

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?

updated FEB 14, 2011
posted by barhamo
Always the gender... - afowen, ENE 19, 2011
tie! - 0074b507, ENE 19, 2011
So it would be 'el sofa nuevo'? - barhamo, FEB 14, 2011
0
votes

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

updated ENE 19, 2011
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
0
votes

tad said:

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


oh, but I see that it does...

updated SEP 26, 2008
posted by tad
0
votes

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

updated SEP 26, 2008
posted by tad
0
votes

Jaja. ok.

updated SEP 25, 2008
posted by DarkTree
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