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I just read a rule saying that if a feminine noun starts with 'a'm then the article associated with it should be 'el' or 'un'. Why isn't this rule followed here?
I did a bit more investigation on this. It turns out that the change to "el" and "un" happen only if the first syllable of the noun has the pronunciational accent. So, we get el agua/la araña, un águila/una audiencia, and so on.
Note also that the plural form is always "las" for feminine nouns, because the ending -s breaks up the series of vowels: Las aguas, las almas, etc. An intervening adjective can break it up, too: La pura agua.
In a previous question, "the water" came up and despite people thinking that because water (agua) is feminine and should be "la agua" it's not (el agua). A reason for this was given by another user that it's to do with the sound of a word ending with 'a' and starting with it (a apple vs an apple) why is the same not true here? :(