Characteristics of the Spanish language in AX Semantics


In Spanish, you need to know the gender of the noun in order to form the accompanying determiners, adjectives, and numerals correctly.

Spanish has two genders for nouns: masculine and feminine. There are two numbers: singular and plural. Additionally, it only has one case for nouns: nominative. But for personal pronouns Spanish has additionally the cases accusative, genitive and dative.

grammatical namevaluesexamples
gendermasculineel puerto azul
(the blue port)
femininela casa azul
(the blue house)
numbersingularuna casa roja
(a red house)
pluraldos casas rojas
(two red houses)
cases (noun)nominativeel perro (the dog)
cases (pronoun)nominativeMario está construyendo una casa. Él está construyendo una casa.
(Mario is building a house. He is building a house.)
accusativeMaría está construyendo una casa. María la construye.
(Maria is building a house. Maria builds it.)
genitivesalirse con la suya (to get one's way)
dativeMaría le da a Luigi un libro. María le da un libro.
(Maria gives Luigi a book. Maria gives him a book.)
adjectives (noun)after-nounel teléfono negro (the black phone)
before-nounel excelente producto (the excellent product)
verb tensespresentescribe (He writes)
past (preterite)escribió (He wrote)
past participleescrito (written)
imperfectescribía (He wrote)
futureescribirá (He will write)
gerundescribiendo (writing)

The standard order of a noun phrase in Spanish is the following:

preposition + determiner + numeral + noun + adjective

See for example:

con   estos  tres   libros     populares
with  these  three  books[pl]  popular
PREP  DET    NUM    NOUN       ADJ
"with these three popular books"



For Spanish nouns the lexicon needs to encode gender and determiner changes. If the lexicon entry is missing, the NLG platform tries to find the most probable gender based on heuristics. The plural forms should be added to the lexicon if they are not regular.

Lexicon entries for nouns may also be necessary for inflecting determiners, adjectives and pronouns correctly. These are omitted from the output, if a lexicon entry is required, but missing.


The basic lexicon entry for casa (house) contains:

  • gender: f
  • inflection table for case and number:


If you need lexicon entries for countries, write to the support about that and you will get them for Spanish with automatic handling of determiners.


In the lexicon the inflection table for gender and number can be encoded, as well as the adjective position (before the noun or after the noun).

For adjective position, the default is "after noun". Certain adjectives should stay before the noun. In that case, "before noun" has to be selected in the lexicon. For instance, limiting adjectives which define a number or amount of a noun:

Hay pocas naranjas.
(There are few oranges.)
Tengo menos dinero.
(I have less money.)


The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects the wrong way, you should add it to the lexicon.

Container settings


The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for Spanish: definite, indefinite, demonstrative, distal, medial, and possessive.


The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when a numeral variable is used. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.

textnueve días
(nine days)
el noveno día
(the ninth day)
digit9 días
(9 days)
el 9º día
(the 9th day)

For Spanish, both cardinal and ordinal numerals are written out until 100 on the platform, otherwise (above 100) the output is in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example:

cien coches
(one hundred cars)
101 coches
(101 cars)

Prepositions and determiners: contractions

If users configure prepositions and determiners in the container, they are automatically adapted, when phonetic assimilation needs to happen. For instance, the prepositions a and de are contracted with the definite determiner el:

al/del cine
(to/of the cinema)

Another example, where only the determiner is adapted, would be:

un agua
(a water)

Here the determiner una is changed to un, because the noun agua starts with a stressed a.

Determiner switch

Determiners can be switched according to lexical information. If you set the determiner switch for a specific noun in the lexicon, it will automatically switch to another determiner when you add the determiner you intend to switch in the container. The container setting for Alemania in the first example is: preposition="a", determiner is unset (blank), and case="nominative".

a Alemania
(to Germany)

In the second example, the container settings for Estados Unidos (United States) are still: preposition="a", determiner is unset (blank), and case="nominative". However, the determiner switches from none to definite, because it is configured in the lexicon entry for Estados Unidos. As the result, the definite determiner (i.e. los) is added to Estados Unidos.

a los Estados Unidos
(to the United States)


If the lexicon entry of a country includes a switch from none to definite, there is still a way to use the country without the article (e.g., just "United States"). The determiner will always remain None by setting determiner=None in the container. Only an unset determiner (blank) triggers the switch from none to another determiner.

Language Variants

The AX NLG platform offers 12 variants of the Spanish language:

  • Spain (Standard)
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Uruguay

The differences between these variants are mostly lexical. In some Spanish language variants (Argentina, Guatemala and Uruguay) voseo - the use of vos as a second-person singular pronoun, along with its associated verbal forms - replaces tuteo, i.e. the use of the pronoun and its verbal forms.