On some sites коала, коалы, коале, коалу, коалой/коалою, коале

On some sites коала, коала, коала, коала, коала, коала

What is right?

  • In modern word it is склоняемое
    – Craftist
    Mar 5, 2016 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


As it often happens, this word had been borrowed as indeclinable into Russian, but had later accepted declension as more people were becoming familiar with it.

In older texts it's indeclinable:

  • Живут коала на ветвях особого вида эвкалиптов и питаются листьями. [коллективный. Из почты «Огонька» // «Огонек». № 34, 1956]

  • Вероятно, возрастающее внимание общественности к этому яркому шустрому зверьку сможет сохранить ему жизнь, как оно когда-то помогло спасти коала в Восточной Австралии. [Клуб Почемучек // «Юный натуралист», 1976]

, in newer ones it does decline:

  • Зоопарк, наверное, выполнил свой годовой план, постоять в очереди к коале пришел и мэр города. [Ирина Соколова. Бабочки летают (заметки о Тайване) (1999)]

  • Австралийскому сумчатому медведю коале бесполезно предлагать морковку или бутерброд с сыром. [Т. Подоскина. Нескучная латынь // «Наука и жизнь», 2008]

Dictionaries don't agree on declinability and gender either: Lopatin treats it as declinable feminine or indeclinable masculine; Zarva's Русское словесное ударение says it's masculine and indeclinable; Большой Толковый Словарь (the 1998's edition) says it's declinable feminine.


This is a two-stage process. First, we get used to the name and correlate it with similarly sounding (gorilla, zebra, panthera and so on). Next, we transfer all declination forms onto it, because this seems natural. So, koala becomes feminine, although it has also male connotations (медведь, а не медведица). Russians tend to thinks that words ending with "a" are feminine.

(my private opinion is that koala is not declinable - because it does not drink)

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