Imagine I want to translate to Russian the word "community of working writers" such that "writers" means both male and female ones.

Here are obvious variants:

  • Сообщество работающих литераторов и литераторш
  • Сообщество работающих писателей и писательниц

Both are so long that they can compete with German.

Is there a word for "writer", which is gender-neural and shorter than "писатели и писательницы"?

I am fine with rarely used or archaic terms.

  • may be not exactly what you are looking for, but in the feminist/gender-equal circles (esp. in some Russian media) it is common to use such word as "авторка". To me it is not exactly as serious писательница or литераторша though. Can argue whether you like it or not, but it is a separate heated discussion. Such category of words are referred as феминативы in Russian and more and more of those are being created nowadays. May 9, 2019 at 23:07
  • What the "working" is for? To contrast with no longer working ex-writers? The whole phrase sounds slightly odd to me.
    – tum_
    May 10, 2019 at 5:31
  • 1
    How about Сообщество работающих авторов?
    – ralien
    May 10, 2019 at 12:32
  • In Russian feminine is not diminishing, unlike in inferior languages.
    – user11858
    May 10, 2019 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


In Russia there's ongoing discussion - and it's getting quite fervent- on whether so called feminitives (the English wiki is called just "Gender_marking_in_job_titles") should or shouldn't be used.

Unlike the German tradition of always using feminitives (I'm sticking to this word for the lack of a shorter term) in phrases like "Enwtickler/in gesucht" in Russia only particular words have equally used feminine forms but even in that case they quite often differ stylistically. Compare, for instance, парикмахер and парикмахерша - both are used but the feminine one is quite colloquial.

Ironically words писательница and работница are one of few exceptions - they are actually used quite often and considered to be stylistically quite neutral. However for a Russian speaker something like союз писателей и писательниц or клуб работников и работниц will sound strange. De-facto the masculine form will be used.

  • 11
    Ah, and don't forget that sometimes what seems to be a feminitive is a totally different profession (e.g. машинист and машинистка)
    – Alissa
    May 9, 2019 at 13:22
  • 15
    @Alissa sometimes it's not even a profession - like генеральша is not a woman-general )
    – shabunc
    May 9, 2019 at 13:25
  • -ша used to denoted the wife of 'X'. It's not productive in that sense now, but still retains that flavour.
    – VCH250
    May 11, 2019 at 5:38

Currently in Russian collective designation of people engaged in the same profession or occupation defaults to the plural masculine form, in which case it becomes unisex even if a feminine form exists in the singular.

В русском языке названия профессий рабочих и должностей служащих выражаются формой мужского рода и в случаях, когда относятся к лицам женского пола в официально-деловом стиле. Существует небольшая группа имен существительных, которые образуют парные наименования женского рода, принятые в нейтральных стилях речи. В разговорном языке широко распространены названия профессий женского рода со суффиксами –ша, -ха, -лка, -чка, которые содержат в себе оттенок пренебрежительности

Многие имена существительные мужского рода, обозначающие лицо по профессии, занимаемой должности, выполняемой работе, занятию, ученому или почетному званию и т. д., в официально-деловом стиле сохраняют свою форму и в тех случаях, когда относятся к лицам женского пола, например: педагог, токарь, геолог, физик, конструктор, новатор, судья, адвокат, доцент, кандидат наук, ветеран труда, лауреат международного конкурса, мастер спорта.

Во множественном числе грамматические значения рода не разграничиваются.



Community of working writers = Сообщество работающих литераторов/писателей/мастеров пера

similar to English

  • 1
    I'd add that there are some professions for which there is a widely-used feminine version that is not diminishing, and that there are lots of people that try to invent feminine version for every profession, but it's rather controversial and often their versions don't sound so good.
    – Alissa
    May 9, 2019 at 13:20
  • 4
    indeed, however the specific suffixes mentioned in the citation only create derogatory connotation in modern language May 9, 2019 at 13:26
  • As of today? Did I miss something important? How was it yesterday?
    – Zeus
    May 10, 2019 at 3:23
  • 1
    @Zeus don't be too picky, "as of today" means just "по состоянию на сегодняшний день" and does not necessarily implies that it was different previously.
    – shabunc
    May 10, 2019 at 7:43
  • 1
    'As of today' strongly implies that something has changed or will change
    – VCH250
    May 11, 2019 at 5:45

Фразу "community of working writers" вполне можно перевести как "сообщество пишущих". В подходящем контексте (да, пожалуй, и без него) смысл передаётся точно.

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