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  5. "El español es un idioma inte…

"El español es un idioma interesante."

Translation:Spanish is an interesting language.

April 22, 2018



Why is it "un" and not "una"?


"Idioma" is one of several masculine words ending in "-ma": tema, problema, programa, drama, clima, etc.


Thanks for the "-ma" tip!


This rule is true for words of Greek origin ending with "-ma." However, words that are not of Greek origin are typically female (e.g. the llama / la llama, the dame / la dama).

The reason for this is that in Greek these words were originally neuter, and they remained neuter when they were absorbed into Latin. However, as Spanish diverged from Latin, those neuter words became masculine.


Thanks!!! Knowing the history behind the rule helps keep the rule in mind. Here's a lingot!


THANKS for the explanation.


Thank you that's worth a Lingot


Idioma vs. langua, whats the difference? Unfortunately this is something duo doesn't do so well, give any context for which words are appropriate in what situations


Briefly, idioma is used when talking about a certain language, like the language of a country or of a specific group of people. Spanish language, the language of the court, etc.

Lengua/lenguaje is used when talking about how someone expresses themselves, or when talking about speech itself. Foul language, colloquial language, the likes.


Thanks RyagonIV! Great explanation.


Wish i can give you a lingot! Thanks for your explanation!


Ryagon, would it help to think of "idioma" as "language" and "lengua" as "vernacular" or "linguistic expression?"

Thanks for your explanation!


If that helps you remember these words, then sure, that sounds good.


Yep another good explanation RyagonIV


My Spanish textbook contains a chapter called Aprendemos lenguas extranjeras. Is it correct to use lengua this way?


Hawwah, sure, that's fine.


I believe the difference matches the two English words they most often directly translate to: 'idoma' = 'language' and 'langua' = 'tongue'. In English the word 'tongue' can be used in place of 'language' in certain contexts. Likewise in Spanish.


According to spanishdict.com lengua=tongue or language and lenguaje=language.


I don't mean to imply that "idioma" doesn't mean "language".


Is "el" really necessary before "espanol"?


Yeah. You're making a statement about the language itself, so you need the article here.


Ok I get it...a general statement. Thank you.


Is there a guideline/rule for using the definite article in Spanish?


The definite article in Spanish is used whenever you're referring to something specific. That's pretty much it.

The biggest difference to English is probably how generalisations are handled. English doesn't use articles when you make a generalisation (i.e. claim that some property applies to every instance of some noun), but Spanish does:

  • Snow is white. - La nieve es blanca.
  • I hate apples. - Odio las manzanas.
  • Children don't pay taxes. - Los niños no pagan los impuestos.


Thank you, very helpful.


Definite articles are used with names of languages in Spanish when the language is the subject of a sentence.

El japonés y el alemán son lenguas difíciles. Japanese and German are difficult languages.

El español me gusta mucho. I really like Spanish.

When a language is the object of a verb, the definite article is not used.

Yo hablo español. I speak Spanish.

Quiero aprender español. I want to learn Spanish.

Me gusta estudiar español. I like to study Spanish.


Thank you! That explains why in the 'why don't you teach me german?' one, there is no 'el'. (Por que no me ensenas aleman - i think, from memory)

[deactivated user]

    No kidding.


    Why is it 'El Español' and not just 'Español'


    We're talking about the concept of the Spanish language, the language itself. It's an abstract noun here, like "love" or "death", and those usually use the definite article in Spanish.


    That it is, my friend. That it is.


    You have that right!


    Sí, es interesante


    Can not understand the child


    the language word is not appear in the choices


    Idioma (el) is the word for language


    idiom means language in English (technically) , does idioma mean something different than lengua


    "Idiom" does not precisely mean "language".

    Idioma is slightly different from lengua, but colloquially they get interchanged quite a bit. Idioma refers to the language of a particular people or country: "El español es el idioma de muchos países de América del Sur." Lengua is a bit broader, referring to that systematic communication form in general: "Actualmente estoy aprendiendo cuatro lenguas." I would use lenguas in the above sentence.


    Sounds like translating the phrase as Spanish is an interesting idiom is a better one than what Duo likes


    But "idiom" does not mean "language" in English.


    Do you put 'el' or 'la' when it's a proper noun?


    "Proper nouns" are names of things and people, and you usually don't give them articles, like "George" (Jorge), "Spain" (España), or "Walmart" (Walmart).

    The español here is a nominalised adjective, i.e. an adjective that you're using as a noun to represent some concept. Nominalised words (including other types like verbs or numerals) are always masculine in Spanish.

    EDIT: Slight correction here. Nominalised adjectives are usually neutral and use the neutral article lo, like in "Espero lo mejor" - "I hope for the best." The español in this sentence is an actual masculine noun, referring to the Spanish language. (Sep. '19)


    Gave me this same sentence earlier to write in english and it was "una" then. Now she's saying "una" and it's marked wrong...


    Idioma is a masculine noun, so it never takes una.


    Literally contrdicts the lesson before where 100 people are fighting about idioma/legnua. The previous lesson (in my flow) marked idioma as incorrect.


    When do you use idioma vs. lingua?


    Idioma refers to the language of a country or a specific group, like "El idioma de Argentina es el español." The term lengua rather refers to a way of speaking, or when talking about the concept of language itself. "No me gusta tu lengua" - "I don't like your language."


    What is the difference between idioma and lenguaje?


    I explained that above. In short, idioma refers to what you'd usually call a "language", the form of communication that a specifc group uses to exchange ideas. It's usually bound to that "group" idea, so idioma would be used for the language of a country or the language of professionals, scientists, lawyers, the likes.

    Lengua and lenguaje refer to the way of speaking, and to talk about communcation itself. Lenguaje is what you'd use to talk about colloquial language, dialects, and the like.


    Thanks for responding. After I posted, I’d actually contacted my friend who is Puerto Rican and native speaker. She explained it the same way.

    Thanks for responding so quickly.


    It is absolutely correct


    I got 2 words out of my mouth "El espanol" before it counted my answer as wrong before I could even say the entire phrase. Straight up//


    Andrea, that sounds like the Duolingo app doesn't have permission to access your microphone. You should check that.


    Estoy de acuerdo!


    while speaking the sentence most words change color to blue but sometimes one or two words remain grey . Does it mean that Duo did not catch those due to pronunciation?


    Are Spanish speakers ever reminded (as are English speakers) not to run their words together?


    If interesting means confusing then yes !


    It's a beautiful and cheerful sounding language and, so far, seems pretty easy which is great for a natural born English speaker because most of us aren't even as good at English as many Europeans ;-)


    Gotta slow down...not a race. I typed: Spanish is an interesting idioma.... I translate and my mind re-translates!!

    [deactivated user]

      why is it "El español" i never understand


      I agree with this sentence


      My answer was identical to 'the correct' one, AGAIN!!!!!


      When this happens, please reproduce your answer in the forum, using a cut/paste or screenshot if possible, so we can see what you actually wrote. It is likely you have a small error somewhere that escaped your notice. I have never, ever, had an "identical" answer marked wrong. I have often thought my answer was identical, but eventually, I have always found my mistake.

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