HomeQ&AMasculine/ feminine

Masculine/ feminine

0
votes

I am looking for suggestions. I speak fluent spanish, and I know that the best way to learn masculine and feminine is to learn it as you learn the language. Unfortunately I became fluent in spanish but never did learn which words were masculine and feminine. So I am constantly making mistakes in that regards. Is there any easy way to learn this? Or has anyone come across a website that might have games to practice this aspect of the language? Thank you very much.

12304 views
updated SEP 14, 2012
posted by feather18gt

11 Answers

2
votes

You pretty much have to learn them one by one, but, as samdie points out, if you recognize some of the forms that come from Greek (usually ending in -ma, like problema, programa, lema, tema, sistema), that will give you a clue about those. (These are all masculine.)

One very common one you already know well ... el día.

Also, remember that nouns that refer to people and end in -ista keep that ending while the article (un/una, el/la, etc.) changes according to the gender of the person referred to.

el periodista = the (male) journalist/reporter
la periodista = the (female) journalist/reporter
un comunista = a (male) communist
una comunista = a (female) communist

updated AGO 29, 2013
posted by hhmdirocco
I like the Greek point. I hadn't made that connection. - rheit, SEP 14, 2012
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Well the thing is words like "el chocolate" can be masculine of feminine, you just change the "e" to "a". So it can be masculine of feminine. Masculine=el Feminine=la but like hhmdirocco said some feminine words can be masculine. hope this helped B)

updated SEP 14, 2012
posted by ironman10199
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Well that is a big topic, is there a way to recognize them or do you have to learn them 1 by 1'

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by eric_collins
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Good point. Both this and the subject of your previous post were discussed recently on this thread: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/show/9649/P0/.

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Clearly, in Spanish, the gender of may words can be inferred from the ending of the noun. That is, you can determine if it is masculine/feminine from the ending. if, on the other hand, you are asking about the larger, philosophical question e.g. "Why is 'corbata' (an item of masculine apparel) feminine while 'vestodo' (an item of feminine apparel) is masculine, the answer would have to be "because that's the way the language developed." First and foremost, one needs to understand that grammatical gender has nothing to do with "sexual association".

Onw=e of the first word that one learns when studying Latin is 'agricola' (which means, 'farmer'). the noun is categorized as feminine (because of its ending) despite the, unsurprising, fact that farmers were exclusively (almost entirely) male.

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by samdie
0
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  1. Not all nouns that end in "a" are feminine (ex. el programa).

    An obvious exception to the "words ending in 'a'" is the exclusion of words derived from Greek that end in 'ma' (and. less frequently some other consonant plus 'a'). Of course, if you have never studied Greek, you may consider this 'rule' unhelpful (but, in fact, if there exists a cognate (a similar word) in English the likelihood is that the word in Spanish (like the word in English) was derived from the Greek. e.g. sistema, problema, lema, dilema, etc.

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by samdie
0
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I tell you then main difference between them...

Masculine words end in O

Feminine words end in a

For example:

el carro

los carros

la casa

las casas

It is not hard to learn

P.S. most that end in e are masculine

but there are some feminine nouns that have a masculine article, I know two right off the top of my head..

el agua

el sistema

Hope to have been helpful.

Careful Eric, you spoke to fast!

  1. Not all nouns that end in "o" are masculine (ex. la mano).

  2. Not all nouns that end in "a" are feminine (ex. el programa).

  3. There are many nouns that end in all kinds of letters besides "o", "a", and "e". You have to take them on an individual basis.

  4. There are no feminine nouns that take the masculine article (or vice versa).
    The word "sistema" is masculine, and is a good example of #2 above.
    "El" in "el agua" is not technically masculine. Do you remember our discussion about "el" and "la" and masculine and feminine articles, and "el agua" and "el hacha"? Have a look at it again http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/show/9649/P0/, and pay particluar attention to posts #6, #9, & #13.

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

I tell you then main difference between them...

Masculine words end in O
Feminine words end in a

For example:

el carro
los carros

la casa
las casas

It is not hard to learn

P.S. most that end in e are masculine

but there are some feminine nouns that have a masculine article, I know two right off the top of my head..

el agua
el sistama

Hope to have been helpful.

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by eric_collins
0
votes

Don't be discouraged, Quentin. You do develop an ear for it, just like you do for pronunciation and syntax. However, if you come across a new word outside of a context that indicates gender, or if you want to use a word that is realtively new to you, then you will have to look it up (or ask someone) until you remember the gender of that word. This, as you know, happens a lot with nouns that don't end in "o" or "a." As you also already know, most of those follow the pattern, but there are "exceptions," most of which you are probably aware of from all your time on the site here.

Bottom line: using it. You learn first of all by hearing, consciously and subconsciously picking up on the gender of different words. Second, you learn by having to look up a word, and you remember by continuing to use it.

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes

Thank you so much for your help. These websites are very helpful. Please don't be discouraged by my post. The reason I still have trouble with this is that I learned spanish in an indian village where spanish was their second language. I learned by ear and never studied. Whatever I learned incorrectly kind off stuck in my brain and I have not been concerned with being a perfectionist. Until now, when I am learning a new profession where perfectionism is a must. This doesn't mean that you won't pick this up with time, just make sure that you learn it correctly and don't get into bad habits like myself. grin

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by feather18gt
0
votes

I am looking for suggestions. I speak fluent spanish, and I know that the best way to learn masculine and feminine is to learn it as you learn the language. Unfortunately I became fluent in spanish but never did learn which words were masculine and feminine. So I am constantly making mistakes in that regards. Is there any easy way to learn this? Or has anyone come across a website that might have games to practice this aspect of the language? Thank you very much.

There are many websites with games on them for practicing the use of definite/indefinite articles. Here is an example.
http://quizlet.com/322351/definite-article-practice-flash-cards/

I think these are fine for beginners, but for someone already fluent in the language, I don't feel that learning the gender of individual words by rote is the best approach. You should be visiting sites that deal with lexicology such as this one:
http://www.e-spanyol.hu/en/grammar/gender.php

For you, when they mention words that end in ... are usually ... it will have more meaning than for someone with a very limited vocabulary like myself. You will know more examples to remember the "patterns".

I would suggest that you PM Lazarus, if he is available, because I believe that he could refer you to a treasure of such references from the RAE alone.

I can not express how disillusioning this post is. As a novice I was hoping that with experience you developed an ear for gender. If someone fluent in the language can't distinguish gender what hope is there for me? confused

updated JUL 18, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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