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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Six genders 
23rd-Nov-2011 11:57 am
Weather vane

If you ever studied Spanish, you may have learned that Spanish words come in two genders, masculine and feminine. That's wrong. There are six:

Masculineel niño.

Femininela niña.

Neutral — very few exist in Spanish, but a big one is lo, an all-purpose pronoun.

Epicene — words in which the gender does not indicate the sex. These are almost always names of animals, like la cabra, "the goat." To indicate a male goat, you have to say la cabra macho, "the male goat."

Common — words like pianista or "pianist," which do not vary. For male and female pianists, you refer to el pianista or la pianista.

Ambiguous or vacillating — words like mar or "sea," which can be el mar or la mar and the meaning is the same.

Keep studying.

— Sue Burke

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