Words with gender
Spanish language by Liz Parry
I always knew English speakers had it easier when it comes to gender. Well you know what I mean! We don’t have to make our adjectives agree with our nouns, or learn that ‘agua’ is feminine and the only reason it’s “el agua” is because “la agua” is quite difficult to say, and as soon as you’re talking about waters with an ’s’ you’re OK and can say ‘las aguas’. Of course we do sometimes have to debate whether a female poet should be called a poetess, or whether that’s too antiquated, or too politically correct, and whether the same applies to actors and actresses. Do we have female bishops? Bishopesses? But I digress.
The reason this came to mind is that on Saturday I attended a gala event to elect Weight Watchers Member of the Year. In Spain. (I was asked to be part of the jury and no, before you ask, I have never been a Weight Watcher).
It was all very well organised, with posters on the walls and stage of the Finca La Biznaga announcing the gala “Socia del Año” event. The certificate was ready for the winning “Socia”, and so was a designer handbag which was part of the prize. The presenters did stumble a bit, because just one of the contenders was a man, so all their prepared speeches about the “damas” who were “socias” and deserved a prize had to be adapted to include the one “caballero” who was an equally deserving “socio”.
They did keep remembering to give him a mention, but Weight Watchers has been a female preserve for so long that he was always an after-thought. The main problem arose though when he won the competition and it was announced that he was, in fact, “Socia del año”.
He took it all in good part, and his wife was very pleased with the handbag.
Filed under: Spanish language by Liz Parry