You probably chose the most awkward example to make your point, since agua is indeed a feminine noun, which makes the el in front of it a feminine article. The reason la is not used is because agua begins with a stressed 'a' sound, which makes for a couple of changes from the normal determinant pattern.
- el agua profunda = la profunda agua
If you want to have a masculine noun that ends with 'a', you could go for día or drama.
The text-to-speech software that Duo uses is not perfect in any way. Usually, Spanish is very phonetic, which means that you know how a word is pronounced just from seeing how it's spelt. That makes it easy to build a TTS. You don't need to define as many exceptions as in, say, English. But there are exceptions in Spanish, and if you forget about them, the TTS is going to make mistakes.
Normally, any 'x' in modern Spanish is pronounced as [ks], like in English. But México and other words from Nahuatl keep the Old Spanish transcription of their [ʃ] sounds (English 'sh' sound). Modern Spanish doesn't have the [ʃ] sound anymore, so it approximates with the [x] sound now.
The actual, traditional pronounciation of "Mexico" is "MEH-shee-co".
Piper, are you asking about the sound that sounds somewhat like a mix of 'r', 'l' and 'd' when you have a single 'r' between two vowels? That's a tap-'r', which is one of the more common sounds among the languages of the world, and it is how a single 'r' between two vowels should be pronounced in Spanish.
You form the tap-'r' by placing the tip of your tongue against the alveolar ridge (that bump in your palate behind the top teeth) and immediately forcing it off again with a puff of air. It takes a bit of practice if you're not used to making the sound. To start, practise with the word tren by pronouncing it as "t-den".
Of course it has. It only takes some history. In this particular case, bear in mind that there were times when there were no restaurants or bars, but only inns at crossroads. And the housekeeping lady (usually wife of relative of the owner) used to do housekeeping for the guest rooms as well.
First of all 'cama' =bed; 2nd: I put housekeeper and was marked wrong. In "The New World Dictionary" housekeeper is the 2nd entry under 1.), waitress was under the 2.) definition; even so, I was corrected with 'server' -at least DL should have the decency to say waitress, if that were the point for some reason...
I definitely still use "waitress" in my (native US) English. I don't use it because I'm sexist; I use it for the same reason Spanish has a distinction between "mesero" and "mesera": because that suffix to denote femininity ("-ess"), which we got from Greek through Latin and French (all of which use feminine endings) never died out in my dialect. It's not reason of sexism. It's reason of etymology.
You are correct. However, what I was saying was implying on the question at hand. I daresay that classifying genders incorrectly (not literally incorrectly, but instead incorrectly to the person who would become offended.) is a very common way to become angry. Thanks for explaining, though!
It seems that you want the language to fit into your world of expectations. You need to bend with the meanings of the language you are learning. If it is more common to use a term not comfortable to you, consider that it is acceptable in that language, and it may not have evolved as it has in English. You can make the adjustment for your translations, no doubt, and can describe the translations for "waiter." But I encourage you to not transfer what has evolved in English exactly to any other language.