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Male vs female names of animals, birds and insects in Spanish

 

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  #1  
Old August 29, 2010, 06:57 AM
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Question Male vs female names of animals, birds and insects in Spanish

Hello,

I'm not very sure about the male and female names of animals, birds and insects in Spanish. I know that the gender of some animal names in spanish is easily identified by switching the terminal letter "a" to "o" for male and vice versa. This rule does not apply in so many names. Consulting Google translate, I found out that "hembra" is added to the name of bird, animal or insect to identify its gender and "macho" is added for male. I just need more clarifications on this subject.

Thank you
vita32
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  #2  
Old August 29, 2010, 07:41 AM
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From wiki:
Quote:
Often, the masculine/feminine classification is only followed carefully for human beings. For animals, the relation between real and grammatical gender tends to be more arbitrary. In Spanish, for instance, a cheetah is always un guepardo (masculine) and a zebra is always una cebra (feminine), regardless of their biological sex. If it becomes necessary to specify the sex of the animal, an adjective is added, as in un guepardo hembra (a female cheetah), or una cebra macho (a male zebra). Different names for the male and the female of a species are more frequent for common pets or farm animals, e.g. English cow and bull, Spanish vaca "cow" and toro "bull".
In English, it is common to refer to animals, especially house pets, for which the natural gender is known as "he" and "she", accordingly, and to animals of unknown gender as "it". Individual speakers may refer to animals of unknown sex by a gender, depending on species — for instance, some speakers may tend to refer to dogs as "he" and to cats as "she".
If a name of an animal applies to the species, it is known as an epicene name, for example el perro = dog, but la perra specifically for a bitch.
In addition, you have to be a bit careful when using a feminine form to indicate a female of a species. For example, el zorro = the fox, and el lagarto = lizard, but the female forms zorra and lagarta (as far as I know) have taken on other meanings (as has bitch in English).

Other than that, you just have the learn the genders, I'm afraid.
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Interesting!

What's the name of a/how do you call a female cheetah?
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chileno View Post
Interesting!

What's the name of a/how do you call a female cheetah?
Um - un guepardo hembra (a female cheetah) ?
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
Um - un guepardo hembra (a female cheetah) ?
Sorry. In English
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by chileno View Post
Sorry. In English
That makes a bit more sense. As far as I know, there isn't a word. Normally, you can make a feminine derivative from an English noun by adding -ess. Some stupid sexists sometimes object to this, so that for some reason, and actress is now an actor. But you still have waiter - waitress. You also have lion - lioness, but because cheetah is not an English word (It's Hindi for spotted, I think) the ending doesn't work, so not *cheetahess.

So it's a female cheetah.
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Old August 29, 2010, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
That makes a bit more sense. As far as I know, there isn't a word. Normally, you can make a feminine derivative from an English noun by adding -ess. Some stupid sexists sometimes object to this, so that for some reason, and actress is now an actor. But you still have waiter - waitress. You also have lion - lioness, but because cheetah is not an English word (It's Hindi for spotted, I think) the ending doesn't work, so not *cheetahess.

So it's a female cheetah.
So, it isn't much differenfe in English from Spanish.
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