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I've noticed that my Russian-speaking Canadian friends who left Russia before the Internet era always say "моя сайт", "красивая сайт".

People in Russia say "мой". Same I hear from Russians in Israel. Not sure about USA guys.

What could make people think that "site" is "она"? One friend said: "Construction Site" is an "area", "zone" - those words are "она" in Russian. Is that the correct association?


Added on 14-05-05: http://www.shashki.com/PNphpBB2-printview-t-197-start-60.html

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    I think this is a question to Canadians. I think they make a decision based on English language associations, not on Russian language feeling. Сайт sounds masculine in Russian.
    – Artemix
    May 4 '14 at 13:56
  • @Artemix Do not forget that those are ex-Russian Canadians. And they've never heard the word "site" when they lived in the USSR. So, they've learned the subject here. For some reason, "site" does not sound masculine for them...
    – tivnet
    May 4 '14 at 15:22
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    Maybe the word "site" was used "as is" in Russian-speaking Canadian community before it was borrowed as "сайт" become widely accepted word in Russian. I mean that it was used as "purely English" word that has no Russian counterpart (like "Я вчера на сейле купил большой пэк пива с большим дискаунтом!". So, it could be used as a shorter word than "домашняя страница" which was used in 1990-ies and the feminine gender sticked to it at those times. Now when "сайт" is accepted in Russian, the feminine form already existed and continues to be used though "сайт" become a masculine word.
    – Artemix
    May 4 '14 at 17:01
  • @Artemix - I think you are right. Still sounds weird to me: "Как тебе моя новая сайт?" :-)
    – tivnet
    May 4 '14 at 17:36
  • Just found a proof that the same happens with US guys: shashki.com/PNphpBB2-printview-t-197-start-60.html
    – tivnet
    May 5 '14 at 10:59
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(Initially it was a guess, but then @tivnet found a proof from US speaker)

My guess is that the word сайт (site) was used "as is" in Russian-speaking Canadian community before it was borrowed in Russian language and become widely accepted word. I mean that it was used as "purely English" word that has no Russian counterpart (like "Я вчера на сейле купил большой пэк пива с большим дискаунтом!".

So, it could be used as a shorter word than "домашняя страница" (or "веб-страница") which was used in 1990-ies and the feminine gender sticked to it at those times. Now when "сайт" is accepted in Russian, the feminine form already existed and continues to be used though "сайт" become a masculine word.


Now when @tivnet have found a proof I will cite the US poster.

The original post contained the following line:

Сайт не велика по объёму, но сделана с любовью и функциональна.

The poster later describes why he used feminine gender:

когда я использовал слово "сайт", я имел в виду его перевод на русский язык - "страница", которое женского рода. А что, существует сегодня такое самостоятельное слово в русском языке - "сайт" ? В моё время, 13 лет назад, его не было. Также как "юзер" (по русски - пользователь) и массу других слов. Когда я использовал слово "сайт - я думал, что это обыкновенное жаргонное загрязнение, но я при этом не один и не первый !
alemo - Май 06, 2004

(Note that 13 years before 2004 is 1991)

Here you can see that many people use "сайт" as English word and they don't even know that Russian language has already included it in its vocabulary. I think this is very similar to your Canadian friends who left the Russia before сайт become a Russian word.


I've read somewhere that when people cannot recall the proper word they nevertheless can describe the word's gender, and many other characteristics but not the word itself. For example, talking about traffic accident the speaker can forget the proper word for a car, but finds it just when the word is needed:

Я не заметил эту... - как это по-русски?.. - car.

Here "Car" sounds masculine, but in fact it just substitutes the proper word - машина, which is feminine. So all the words in the sentence support the feminine gender, while the used word doesn't sounds the proper way.

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  • This does not explain why they used feminine gender contrary to the Russian language rules. Even if they somehow wanted it to be feminine, they would have to add a feminine ending, that is use the word the following way: "моя сайта".
    – Anixx
    May 5 '14 at 12:53
  • As I already pointed out, in such cases Russian usually adds a gender ending to the word so to make "моя сайта".
    – Anixx
    May 5 '14 at 13:09
  • This is true for "first class" words. But speaker doesn't feel like it is true in this case. And this is also not true for recently borrowed words. For instatnce пальто initially had masculine gender, because it was borrowed from French раlеtоt where it is masculine. Only after several years it become neutral.
    – Artemix
    May 5 '14 at 13:22
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It's a difficult question as there is no one definite association for this word. It may be "area" or "zone" (feminine gender), but for me "site" is more like "page" / "web page" (feminine gender in Russian too).

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  • Yes, "page" is also feminine. That can be another association, you are right. Still for most people, "site" sounds masculine.
    – tivnet
    May 4 '14 at 15:24
  • I agree, for me "site" sounds masculine too. I was just trying to imagine what could make people think that "site" is "she". May 4 '14 at 15:31
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Counting сайт as feminine is grammatically incorrect and contrary to the rules and paradigms. Among inanimate nouns only those ending with -а/-я or -ь can be feminine.

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    I'd say -а(-я), but anyway, that does not answer the question "why?"
    – tivnet
    May 5 '14 at 11:11

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