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From: "H. S. Teoh"

> But I *have* heard about European languages which assign genders to
> non-animate objects in a basically arbitrary way. IIRC, there's a
> masculine word in Spanish which is feminine in Portuguese.

Gee, just one?  Across the French/Spanish divide with which I'm a little
more familiar, the classic example is la fin/el fin (Portuguese weighs in
with "o fim"). But it seemed over the summer that as I was reading some
Spanish stuff, I ran across some words which jolted me 'cause they weren't
the gender I was used to in French. Alas, no examples come to mind just now.
Perhaps this is the turf of Latin third declension i-stems? Seemed there
were a couple (finis, finis among them) that could be either masc. or fem.
Don't know if this counts as a legit example, but Latin navis, navis (ship,
f.) is fem. in Spanish, la nave, but masc. in Portuguese, o navio; French,
too, is masc., le navire, but maybe some suffix got tacked on to make it
masc.? Dunno. At any rate, there must be more.

Kou