I'm new to Italian, and I'm grappling the concept of gender. For example, the word scimmia (monkey) is feminine, but sure there are male monkeys. What do we do if we want to specify a male monkey?

  • If your question is only about male monkeys you should perhaps change the title, which is much broader Aug 21 '15 at 22:53
  • Nope, I am using monkey to illustrate my overall questions. But feel free to edit it to be more appropriate
    – jxhyc
    Aug 21 '15 at 22:56
  • No way I'm going to change your question if it's not clear what your question is. Aug 22 '15 at 7:38

You would simply refer to them as:

  • la scimmia femmina

  • la scimmia maschio

If you are talking/writing about monkeys you would just say, il maschio (the male) e la femmina (the female). See the example below:

Lo strano amoreggiamento dei cebi della Serra da Capivara. Femmine che tirano sassate per attirare i maschi: corteggiamento estremo in natura.

  • 3
    Also it depends on the case, but when addressing "unknown" genders "in general" just using the plural usually works: for one "le scimmie"
    – kos
    Aug 22 '15 at 13:25

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