11

If we use name of a foreign company as a single word f.e. Samsung, Ford, Microsoft, IBM, Shell, and even StackOverflow, what gender form the following verb should take?

Should it be Samsung предложил or Samsung предложила?

Should the gender be guessed from the phonetic traditions of language, like (simplifying) if it ends with consonant, it will be masculine, or it should be taken from the word which is associated with the name, i.e. if it is "компания Samsung" then Samsung will be она? If the latter is right, why Аэрофлот is masculine - because it is not a foreign company?

7

I don't know about the rule from THE ultimate Russian language manual, but let's look at everyday users.

For example this Forbes article. Its title is: "Почему Renault-Nissan за 5 лет так и не возродил АвтоВАЗ". Renault-Nissan is used here as in your first guess, it ends with a consonant, and used as a masculine word.

Then, the first sentence in the article is: В 2008 году концерн Renault-Nissan купил 25% АвтоВАЗа, вчера было объявлено, что доля иностранцев вырастет до контрольной. Где же результат? The author might be specifically using masculine prefix words through the article: альянс, концерн, to match the consonant in the end of Renault-Nissan...

...But might be not! Because further down we see this: Что это изменит и почему Renault-Nissan, получившая блокпакет еще в начале 2008 года, до сих пор не спешила перестраивать работу гиганта социалистической индустрии на современный лад, пользуясь ноу-хау Гона?. Yes, yes, Renault-Nissan, получившая! Here author implies that Renault-Nissan is компания, as in your second option, and guess what, any native speaker will perfectly get his message right.

But your second option will not work with Russian company names! At least not with companies which use Russian words in their names! You can say "Аэрофлот" заполучил and компания "Аэрофлот" заполучила, but you can't say "Аэрофлот" заполучила. "Империя сумок" устроила распродажу sounds right, but "Империя сумок" устроил распродажу doesn't. But in some cases it will sound OK, usually with abbreviations: ТАНЕКО поглотила, Концерн ТАНЕКО поглотил, ТАНЕКО поглотил.

As you can see, I'm really scratching the surface here, there could be many other little rules in many other cases.

  • Let's elaborate on your example on Russian company names. What is the difference between them and the foreign? Looks like as soon as we are comfortable to decline the names the gender attaches naturally. For example: у Самсунга не было других предложений... Is it the case? – farfareast Dec 20 '12 at 14:52
  • The difference is that saying Самсунг выиграла у Эппл would not be counterintuitive, while saying Аэрофлот выиграла у Ютейр would be, because флот is a strictly masculine word from the dictionary. On the other side, saying Ютейр выиграла у Аэрофлота would be meaningful, because Ютейр is a simple proper noun which doesn't hold any Russian words in it. Mindblowing, I know :) – Daniel Ganiev Dec 20 '12 at 15:16
  • 2
    And if you don't want to be buried in all the nitty details, you can always use the компания "<company name>" сделала form, and you will never be wrong. – Daniel Ganiev Dec 20 '12 at 15:29
  • Your Forbes example is a poor one, as it just shows bad writing. Sure, “any native speaker” shall understand it forsooth, but the inconsistency sticks out like a sore thumb. That said, the rest of the explanation is sufficiently good if less than scientific. – theUg Feb 2 '13 at 23:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.