Would it be okay to accept: Is she a waiter? Since in common, everyday usage, we hardly make that distinction anymore in English?
It should be accepted, since 'waiter' certainly is sometimes used to refer to a woman, and not just a man.
No, that is not acceptable because mesera refers directly to a female being, and waiter does not.
What is Political Correct is a vouge, a social style, and not a reality about the English language.
Judging by the down votes I have been given, it appears that there are PC fans present here, where PC in my mind means, Permanently Confused.
No, it's not your naive labeling that people are down-voting you for (at least not primarily), rather, it's that the meaning of words are descriptive, not prescriptive. Over time, a word that was once gendered ceases to be. English has slowly moved from a gendered language (Old English had M, F, N genders) to a non-gendered language. Once common, words like "authoress" and "poetess" are archaic, and words like waitress are vestigial. It's very obviously YOU that are "permanently confused", as this trend is centuries old. If you want to be the last person who still says "policewoman" instead of police officer, go ahead, but don't expect the rest of the world to remain in 16th century.
You are describing "politically correct": no matter how long-winded you have become, in the process.
It may have started in Hollywood (or among feminists): those who thought gender descriptive words were condescending.
(Like the old man in a beard, I am of HIS generation! And, I remember what you cannot "possibly" remember! He is right and you are wrong! Political correctness is the basis for this type of change (at least here in the U.S.)
And, if you are going to carry that nonsense out to its logical conclusion, you will have to address all "policeMEN" as "police persons" (right along with "chairpersons" and "spokespersons").
Once you "commit yourself to that", are you ready to go the whole nine yards, on it?
(You can't just 'pick and choose', young man!)
Nope, Hippoposthumous is correct if we look to science as opposed to opinion on this. If you understand lingusitics and the evolution of language you will understand that a previously gendered word moving into neutral use can adopt a previously specific gendered word as representative of the whole and become accepted as non gendered usage.
In instances where the word has a distinct female form (often indicated by the suuffix 'ess'), but the basic (or 'male') form does not specifically indicate a male (such as the example of 'waiter'), and can equally well be applied to any member of the profession (whether male or female), it is now common practice to drop the suffix and use the latter as a gender neutral term.
In cases where the word was formed with what seems to be a specific male indicator (e.g. ending in man), arguments are made that the original meaning of man was gender neutral (Old English) and it was only considered male gendered because the professions were typically male dominated. Because of that, as women entered those professions, instances arose of people feeling that they then had to specify the female gender in such roles so 'woman' was added as a suffix. Now, in English, we are moving back to recognising we don't have to specify gender and are now commonly dropping that pointless addtion.
Other gendered terms are being completely changed into new terms - and why should this be such a big deal? Laguages change - word usage changes. And, as Hippoposthumous posted, the term now is usually 'police officer' so in giving you that specific example he'd sort of already answered your argument about picking and choosing anyway :)
EugeneTiffany, I believe you hit the nail on the head. It is camarera to indicate a waitress, a female person.
And, if you REALLY want to go "Old School", on this, the word "camarera" can refer all the way back to the root word "cámara" (which, besides meaning "camera", means "chamber", in English.)
And, although there are still two "cámaras" (chambers) in the American system of government (i.e., the Legislature), the old, standard definition of "camarera" has the following meaning:
Personally, I see TWO root words, in "camarera":
Now, where is the "table" (as in "waiting tables"), in all this?
EugeneTiffany, You don't always have to 'defend' yourself in ways that are inflammatory, or will start another argument.
First time seeing camarera in Duo. Luckily waitress was the only obvious answer, otherwise i would have taken a stab at "photographer"
I used "Is she a waiter?" and it was incorrect. In America it has become more common to use 'Waiter' (or more frequently, 'Server') as the preferred gender neutral term, same for 'Actor'. https://culinarylore.com/food-history:waiter-waitress-server/
Why is there no article before this noun? Un camarero? Una camarera? Porque no?
Because it is a profession. They never have an article unless you are going to add more to the description, such as, "he is an intelligent engineer" --> "Él es un ingeniero inteligente"
I kind of think of it as a "trait" of a person. Would you describe a tall person as, "She is a tall"? No, we say, "She is tall".
Hopefully that helps!
The thing is this, though: occupations are not physical traits.
Occupations are "nouns"; and, physical traits are descriptive words (adjectives).
So, there is really no direct correlation of these two ideas with each other. It would be nice to think that there is, but I, for one, believe that a direct correlation doesn't exist, between the two.
Just think of how Russians ALSO say it this way.
1st person: "What do you do for a living, Boris?"
Boris: "I am engineer."
(He is actually not speaking "stilted English", here: he is just following the pattern that is customary in his native Russian language. And, Spanish has the same pattern, in this.)
They're not needed when referring to someone's job Ex: yo soy conductor = i am a conductor, the un/una is not needed
Right. What is important is to dump all one's ideas about things being said in Spanish should be structured based on how English works.
Why isn't "She is a waiter" acceptable. The word waitress has almost disappeared from English. Maybe Duolingo needs to get with the times!
But in Spanish they do not use the article before one's occupation so the sentence you have written is unnatural. However in English, we do use the article - so to translate from one langauge's natural sentence into another language's natural sentence, we sometimes add or remove words or change their order. You're talking about literal, word for word translation as opposed to interpretation. It's better to learn the latter so that you can learn to speak naturally in another language rather than say things in a way that native speakers would not :)
waiter should be a valid translation i get that the words are gendered in Spanish, but that's not necessarily true in English
No, but "cámara" is both "camera" and "chamber", in English.
And, following that understanding, we "drop the final 'a' to get the root, like this:
Then, we add the ending, like this:
"cámar-era" -----------> "camarera"
WHY is "chamber" the preferred meaning of "cámara", here, you may ask?
It is because the traditional meaning of camarera is the following:
And this, by the way, has nothing to do with "waiting tables".
(It 'does' have to do with making beds and cleaning the room, in hotels.)
So, the next time you order something in a nice Mexican restaurant, for example, just consider the humor in the following interaction:
1st person: "Chambermaid, will you bring me a menu, please?"
Camarera: "Sure, mister! Right after I make up Mr. Jones' bed, up in Room 202."
Yes, in English, we now use waiter in a gender-neutral way, but here we are learning SPANISH, which is loaded with gender. In my opinion we should not be trying to force English conventions onto the Spanish language. It should be the other way around, if we want to take language acquisition seriously.
But antonywgtn is talking about the English translation of the sentence, not the Spanish sentence, so we should be looking at how we would say it in English, in which case, waiter is often used and a perfectly acceptable translation. It's not about saying exactly what is said in Spanish but about the appropriate translation into English (and vice versa). Hence why when we see a sentence such as 'Tengo calor' in Spanish, we would translate it into English as 'I am hot', rather than the literal translation, 'I have heat' which doesn't work in English.
i no this isn't part, but "el mastero" is a good Spanish name for "teacher".
I put "Is she the waitress?" because there was no "la" or "una" to distinguish between it.
Good question! In English we indicate questions in two ways: 1) We rearrange the verb structure as you described. 2) We change our intonation so our voice's pitch goes goes up at the end. In Spanish, they keep the grammatical structure the same so the question is indicated by the speakers intonation (pitch raises at the end).
I strongly ""dislike"" the incorrectness of the sentence structure, here!
It is lazy (grammatically-speaking) to say the following (in BOTH languages):
"Ella es camarera?"
(She is a waitress?)
The thing that is wrong with this (because it is slang) is that there is a 'formula' for creating interrogatives (viz., questions), in both languages!!
"Es camarera ella?"
(Is she a waitress?)
To many of us who learned proper grammar, it is important to learn correct grammar, in the process of learning the language. (After that, you can go out into the street and learn what you will, out there! But, not in MY classroom!)
Spanish is a gender-riddled language. Try learning Spanish rather than trying to change it into English or something else which it is not.
The task is literally to translate it into English. However we shouldn't be translating literally, we should be translating into appropriate form in the other language, otherwise you are not going to learn native speaking - It should work both ways. The only English translation accepted by Duo is gendered and shouldn't be as we use both gendered and neutral so both should be accepted. We would not, however, translate the English 'She is a waiter' into 'Ella es camarero' as, like you say, Spanish IS gendered.