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¿Por qué en este versiculo de la Biblia que sigue se dice "alma mía" y no "alma mío"?

Salmos 42:1-2 Reina-Valera 1960 (RVR1960)

42. Como el ciervo brama por las corrientes de las aguas,
Así clama por ti, oh Dios, el alma mía.

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It has been translated as alma mía because alma is a feminine noun. The fact that it is preceded by el is because it is stressed on the first a and it would not be euphonious to say la alma mía

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    This should reference some kind of FAQ for newcomers to the Spanish language. A lot of people who speak Spanish as a second language are totally unfamiliar with feminine nouns that take el rather than la Feb 1 '19 at 20:06
  • @WalterMitty and indeed on this site spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/44/… but I suspect unless you have an idea about the rule it is hard to find it searching the internet.
    – mdewey
    Feb 2 '19 at 9:33
  • That's why it needs to be in a FAQ. Feb 2 '19 at 12:17
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As stated by 'Walter Mitty's' comment it's important to explain why el alma, rather than la alma (maybe it's the origin of OP's confusion on the use of the feminine or masculine possesive).

Alma is a feminine noun. However, there's an interesting rule in Spanish regarding the use of la (the feminine definite article) and el (masculine definite article). The Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas (DPD) states the following:

2.1. El artículo femenino la toma obligatoriamente la forma el cuando se antepone a sustantivos femeninos que comienzan por /a/ tónica.

In plain english, this means that we have to use el in all feminine nouns that begin with a stressed letter a. This doesn't mean that the gender of the noun is changing! We only change the article. Exemples (these are all feminine nouns):

  • Agua: El Agua (Á-GU-A. Stress in the first a, therefore we use el).
  • Águila: El Águila (Á-GUI-LA. Stress in the first a, therefore we use el).
  • Aviación: LA Aviación (A-VIA-CIÓN. Stress on the last syllable, therefore we use la).

In your example (el alma mía) we use the feminine possessive (mía) because alma is a feminine noun. However, we use el (the masculine article), because the first "a" in alma is stressed.

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  • It might also be useful to cite the etymology of "la". Centuries ago, it was something like "ela" (spelling?). In cases like agua, it was shortened to el, while in most cases it was shortened to la. Is there a good authority to cite on this? Feb 2 '19 at 12:10
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    I found this reference, under Etimología 2, but it's perhaps not authoritative. es.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/el Feb 2 '19 at 12:20
  • Son buenos ejemplos. Feb 2 '19 at 20:37
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    By your comment, "This doesn't mean that the genre of the noun is changing! " do you mean "This doesn't mean that the GENDER of the noun is changing!" ??? Feb 2 '19 at 20:42
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    Technically in this case, when we say el agua we're still using a feminine article, it just happens to share the form with the masculine one. So we can say it's an alloform of the feminine article. This is similar to when we say se lo regalé. The se isn't a reflexive pronoun, it's just a special form of le(s) that happens to match the reflexive, but it's still an indirect object pronoun. Feb 2 '19 at 21:25

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