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Gender

PostPosted:Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:38 pm
by Sheff_Blade
I have always found the concept of gender for things that obviously don't have a gender as very strange indeed. Spanish, like many other languages, is a case in point: la casa but el lapiz. I believe in France there's an academy or institution who decides the gender for a new noun, but who pronounces on such things in Spain? Who decided it was el ordenador? Do other spanish-speaking countries always accept their decision?

Similarly, do the Spanish have the same arguments as in the UK about the gender of such words as chairman, mankind, spokesman, policeman?

Re: Gender

PostPosted:Sat Oct 31, 2015 12:46 pm
by jambalaya
The Real Academia Espanola based in Madrid oversees Spanish language in a similar way to the French one. It works with 21 other Spanish speaking countries.
Other regions with different versions have their own colleges. For example the Institut d'Estudis Catalans based in Barcelona and the Valencian Institute in Valencia.
Not such a problem with "gender" words. For example, un portavoz (spokesman) simply becomes una portavoz. A chairman (usually translated as el presidente) simply becomes la presidente and so on.
Whilst gender does have its own rules, some words don't follow them. For exanple el ave and el agua which should be feminine but, because the Spanish run vowels together, they would come out as la ve or la gua which hides the word.
Even cleverer with people like un tendero (shopkeeper) becoming una tendera or el politico (the politician) becoming la politica.