"I'm too sexy for gender agreement"
In lesson 3, I'm presented with the sentence "Mi hermana es una modelo," meaning "my sister is a model." Although the feminine article is used, "modelo" ends in an 'o' the way you would expect for a masculine word. Am I missing something? Are there many more male models than female models in the Spanish-speaking world, such that the occupation only has one gendered version?
In principle, noun gender should be quite straightforward, but there are a few considerations that prevent it from being so. One of them is the preference for euphonic words (Spanish is very sensitive to this). Another is the etymology of the word itself (e.g., if from Greek, they tend to end in -a for both genders). Yet another is whether the word ends in -e. But there is a big gray area in all of this. For example, in Castilian Spanish they say "la Presidente" whereas Latin Americans are quite comfortable with saying "la Presidenta". And, by the way, I looked at the Spanishdict examples and I find that they got a few of them wrong. You can indeed say "la marinera", "la cerrajera" and "la soldadora". I wouldn't be caught dead saying "la cerrajero", "la marinero" or "la soldador".
Now imagine how people feel learning English, where we don't even HAVE rules.
Take, for example, this old English rule: "'I' before 'E' except after 'C', or when sounding like 'A' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh'."
At least in America we're taught that one in school. We're quick to realize that there are more exceptions than words that actually follow it. It has thus been revised . . .
'I' before 'E' except after 'C', or when sounding like 'A' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh', plus a lot of exceptions that would take too long to list here. You know what? Just remember ALL OF THE WORDS. And keep in mind almost none of them are spelled how they're pronounced! Also, all of the letters make different sounds depending on where they are and some of them are silent for no reason, especially in foreign loan words.
oddly enough the 'official' line in British schools is to no longer teach "i before e except after c". It turns out there are more exceptions to this rule than agreements...
La mano ends with -o as well. In every language of course there are some exceptions.
:) I think we should consider the fact that a word "model" came up way before we decided that is what we should call people who stroll on catwalks and pose in front of cameras demonstrating someone's products :)