May 12, 2012, 3:07 PM
Post #1 of 8
How often have we overheard "expert" gringos telling newbie gringos about how masculine words have "an el" and "end in 'o' "?
How often have we found Mexicans looking at us oddly, after we have just delivered some question or request in our "best Spanish"?
While struggling to learn Spanish, I've accumulated lists of the quirks of meaning and usage of words (related to gender issues) commonly used in daily interactions, and finally sat down to take a crude stab at the problem.
This forum has a lot of really fine Spanish speakers and teachers, and I offer the following for your insights and advice on improvements:
El, La, “a”, “o”: Easy as Pie? or Fraught with Confusion for Gringos?
La, El, “a” or “o“…
Cruising the web this morning exposed yet another gringo saying:
” “O” endings on words are masculine “
This “gem” of wisdom came from a well experienced gringo who posts very regularly, claims over 20 years on & off in Mexico, and a guy who spins good “insider” yarns about hanging out with many of Merida’s elite, writing advice rich with personal ideas of Mexican/Yucatecan culture.
This little “gem” is particularly seductive, because it is so simple.
Easy to understand, easy to remember, and so easy to apply.
Have any readers considered that overly-simple gringo-Spanish rules might have caused your workers or store clerk to briefly look askance at you, and gotten you unexpected and sometimes frustrating results?
. . .
Unfortunately, expat assumptions that “o” endings means masculine & that “a” endings means feminine, is a major cause of eye-rolling by knowledgeable Spanish speakers. Casual gringo usages of “el” and “la” also raise myriads of misunderstandings between good-intentioned gringos and their Spanish/Mexican listeners.
Briefly consider how “a” and “o” and “á” endings right can get gringos into no end of problems:
Raya / Rayo (One is a stripe or scratch or Manta Ray, while the other is lightning)
La papa / El Papa (potato v. the Pope)
Papá / Papa (dad v. potato)
El cometa / La cometa (comet v. kite)
Mama / Mamá (breast v. mother)
. . .
Check out http://yucalandia.wordpress.com/...gringos-the-article/ to read the rest, and see what suggestions and additions you can offer to my elementary effort.
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com