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  5. "An interesting problem."

"An interesting problem."

Translation:Un problema interesante.

May 30, 2018

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Why not una problema?


Problema is a masculine word. Several others (ending in -ma) are el programa, el clima, el idioma, el poema, el tema, el sistema, el drama, and there are others.


yeah, that one really caught me off guard. I always assumed problema was feminine (not at all in a sexist way!! Just based on spelling). Thanks for sharing your response. Otherwise I was about to think Duo simply had this one wrong :)


Todos los problemas son masculinos, y todas las soluciones son femininas.


I came to ask the same "why is problema masculine?" But then I realized I could read your joke like a breeze and that was super cool. Gracias Duolingo


The fact that I can now feel insulted in two languages is both encouraging and quite sad lol


And other exercises it corrects me to say 'una problema', where is this one is 'un problema'. No wonder I'm not progressing quickly I'm being misled.


There should not be any exercises that correct you to "una problema". It is ungrammatical. If you come across one of those again please report it as an error


So how do you know if a word is masculine or feminine? I thought -o = masculine and -a was feminine......

Is it only because it ends -ma?

This is what I struggle with the most.


Though there are some strong patterns, there are also many exceptions. It is best to learn all nouns with an article so you can remember the exceptions as well as the predictable patterns.


No, its just because there are some irregularities, but most of the time -a is feminine and -o is masculine. Another irregular example is "el agua" even though agua ends in -a.


My understanding is that these exceptions come from the word origins themselves. Words like dia and problema are of Greek origin, and this is why they deviate from the otherwise simple Latin rules of thumb. How are you, as a reader, supposed to know? You're expected to memorize, of course!


So in spite of hearing "no problemo all my white life, its not even a word?!


Sure it is. It's a perfectly fine word in Esperanto. It is not, however a word in Spanish.


A lot of words that originally come from Greek (if I recall correctly) have what appear to be "mismatched" gender pronouns in Spanish. I think it had to do with their original gender in Greek? Examples include:

el mapa la mano el problema


Because even in Spanish they like to blame the man (un) for something a woman did, problemA. LOL Just kidding, chill.


:D true or not i will never ever forget it again. Thanks


Why are there so many words ending in a that are preceded by un and so many that end in o or e yet are preceded by una


The patterns are more complex than just -o and -a, and there are a lot of exceptions even when there are patterns. Sometimes a word has been shortened, like la mapa and la foto. Most words that end in -ma are masculine because they were borrowed from Greek. Nouns that end in accented vowels are often masculine: (á, é, í, ó, ú).

Nouns that end in -e are more often masculine, but there are a lot of feminine ones too.

Nouns that end in -d and -z are usually feminine. Nouns that end in other consonants are usually masculine.

I like to look up the history of nouns that are exceptions, because it helps me remember better. Wiktionary is pretty good: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/foto#Etymology_12

but sometimes it pays to look further: https://blogs.transparent.com/spanish/word-origins/

Much more here: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/masculine-and-feminine-nouns


I guess we just have take them as they are and commit them to memory.


They only seem like many, because we don't notice all the words that match the -o/a rule. The reason why some words don't match that rule is often that the word was adopted from a different language, gender and all. Also, some words are really abbreviation whose full forms have a different suffix.


How do I recognise when to use Un vs Una?


You have to memorize it for each noun. I recommend that as you study and memorize each noun, you memorize them with an article. "la manzana", "la mano", "el carro", "el problema". Then, "una" is used for the "la" nouns and "un" is used for the "el" nouns.


Thank you, you explained yourself well


Are these words we will just need to memorize or is there something we can look for to remind us which of the -ma words are masculine?


I'm making up these numbers to make a point. 90% of -a words are feminine. 90% of -ma words are masculine. There are few (or possibly no) patterns that are 100%. You're probably better off memorizing the nouns with an article or with an adjective so you automatically associate the correct gender with each noun.


LA pregunta should equal Una problema, no?


No. They are different words. La pregunta is feminine. El problema is masculine. Don't be fooled by the -a on the end. Problema dos not follow the typical pattern. It is masculine, even though it ends in -a.


If problema is masculine, they should make it problem because then it would be easier for English speakers and less confusing about the whole masculine-feminine thing.


If you know of a good way to get all English speakers to say "foots" instead of "feet" so it will be easier for learners of English, then we might be able to make a deal.


The way I remember it is masculine is thinki.g of my ex-husband as a problem! Problem/masculine. Works for me.

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