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Cartera / Mujer Cartero

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by vtalley, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. vtalley Junior Member

    English-U.S.
    I have two related questions:

    As I understand it, it is correct to say "la mujer cartero" for a woman who delivers mail. Is "cartera" also acceptable? I thought that cartera was a billfold but maybe it also means a female postal worker.

    Second question: Would the plural of "la mujer cartero" be "las mujeres carteros" or "las mujeres cartero"?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Milton Sand

    Milton Sand Modómano, 'mano

    Bucaramanga, Colombia
    Español (Colombia)
    Hello,

    I don't find it necessary to say «mujer» there; it could be simply «la cartero». (Around here, older people still say “la médico/arquitecto/abogado”). But contemporary grammar says that woman should be called «la cartera». Context will make it clear.

    Regards.
    ;)
     
  3. _SantiWR_ Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    "La cartera" is perfectly alright. If it also means "the wallet", that's not a bigger problem than "el frutero" meaning "the fruit bowl".
     
  4. Milton Sand

    Milton Sand Modómano, 'mano

    Bucaramanga, Colombia
    Español (Colombia)
    I think I have failed to emphasize that “little” point more accurately. «La cartera» is the best option and you should decide on it. It doesn't matter that it also means “the handbag” because—as I said—context will make it clear.
     
  5. vtalley Junior Member

    English-U.S.
    Thanks for the help!

    Just for grammar's sake, would the plural of "la mujer cartero" be "las mujeres cartero" or "las mujeres carteros"? Thanks again!
     
  6. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    As MiltonSand said 'la cartera' is the correct one. We have to avoid using la mujer cartero,
     
  7. Milton Sand

    Milton Sand Modómano, 'mano

    Bucaramanga, Colombia
    Español (Colombia)
    Let's suppose it were correct, then I'd say that «mujeres cartero» would work fine. That way it would sound like I were talking about women playing roles of «mailmen» (dressing like them, acting like them, some having a mustache maybe) since «cartero» would be working as an adjective.

    However, I must insist it is not correct not only because the feminine sex of people delivering mail is not the subject of the context, but actually because there is a gramatical feminine inflexion for «cartero» and for all of the nouns ending in «-ro» and «-r»: «-ra». Even in the old times! My elders usually keep the masculine form only for professions requiring a college degree, but such usage is considered an arcaísmo by now, which I love, but my loving it does not make any difference in modern Spanish grammar.

    Regards,
    ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  8. vtalley Junior Member

    English-U.S.
    This is super interesting to me. The reason I was using "la mujer cartero" was because the textbook I teach from uses that distinction, similar to "el policía", "la policía" and "la mujer policía". Anyway, it will turn into an interesting teaching moment when I explain to my students about the evolution of the language as gender roles have changed and cultures have changed. Thanks for all the discussion!
     
  9. juan2937 Senior Member

    Spanish
    We in Colombia use 'repartidora de correo' and repartidor de correo also.
     
  10. Milton Sand

    Milton Sand Modómano, 'mano

    Bucaramanga, Colombia
    Español (Colombia)
    I see! That would have been useful to know from start! The case with «policía» is different because of the ambiguity of the word. (You only add «mujer» if disambiguation is required, but, as we usually resort to context-based synonyms like «la agente» to avoid word repetitions, you won't need that more than once.)

    Only some words like «abogado, arquitecto, médico» used to be epicene, but maybe not everywhere. Now look what I found: «...en algunas zonas es perfectamente normal que una mujer que ejerce la medicina sea “la médica”, mientras que en otras, sigue siendo “la médico”; una poetisa puede preferir ser llamada “la poeta”; así como una abogada, “la abogado”.» ~Consultas at elcastellano.org (underlined by me.)

    The ‘problem’ with «cartera» is the speaker's fear of being understood to have said «wallet/purse». In fact, some Spanish-speakers really see the need to call «mujer cartero» a mailwoman, like in the thread “Una mujer-cartero. ¿El/la cartero/a ?” in Sólo Español. You might also like the thoughts in the thread “Género en profesiones” in Sólo Español too.
    That is right (yet more formal), and any Spanish-speaker understands it.

    Regards,
    ;)
     

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