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Is there actually a rule for forming feminine names of professions? I can come up with several examples (and some of the examples are colloquial, but nevertheless widespread), but I cannot figure out what the rule is.

врач - врачиха
дворник - дворничиха
повар - повариха
портной - портниха
ветеринар - ветеринарша
директор - директриса (or директорша)
секретарь - секретарша
учитель - учительница
уборщик - уборщица
волейболист - волейболистка
дояр - доярка
юннат - юннатка
раб - рабыня
князь - княгиня
слуга - служанка

and

судья
завхоз

do not seem to change at all.

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    Завхоз is an exception to any rules, as it's an abbreviation of Зав [едующий/ая] хоз [яйством]. – Aleks G Jul 3 '12 at 12:55
  • Maybe, but keep in mind, there are other abbreviations that can be changed, e.g. юннат - юннатка – Olga Jul 3 '12 at 12:59
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    I think this is somewhat different. In case of юннат, the last word of the abbreviation changes: юный натуралист vs. юная натуралистка. So in this case юн [ая] нат [уралист] ка. In case of завхоз, the last word doesn't change. – Aleks G Jul 3 '12 at 13:10
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First of all, these feminine forms are not common and even rude.

  1. врачиха: It is an informal and vulgar name of врач. Normally you would use: Врач Ирина Ивановна. So, using the masculine form.

    Similar for others - Дворник К.С.Иванова. But (this is polite and friendly): Дворничиха Тетя Клава.

  2. Повариха: But Заслуженный повар Светлана Алексеевна Огурцова.

  3. Директор: Директриса.

    Formal: Личный Секретарь - Исаева;
    Informal: Его любимая секретарша.

    Заслуженный учитель года Ксения Петровна Пятеркина - но наша учительница Ксения Петровна.

These words are quite old, so I don't think there are any rules for adding suffixes. Just read more books to remember them.

ЗавХоз = Заведующий Хозяйством - so it cannot be shorted. Судья so respected so you cannot modify it.

| improve this answer | |
  • OK, but I'm not actually asking about usage, I'm asking about a rule that describes which suffix to add. – Olga Jul 3 '12 at 13:22
  • Plus судья doesn't change because it is a word with common gender. – Olga Jul 3 '12 at 13:23
  • Still- судья. Yes you were asking about suffixes but point of my answer to emphasize that this "feminization" strictly speaking is wrong. It cannot be ruled on 1 to 1 basis - If person woman use femine form. Everything depends on context. – Boris Ivanov Jul 3 '12 at 13:28
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    OK, I don't want to start a lengthy discussion. I think that your answer contains some helpful information, but it is not the answer to my question. I will edit my post so that it is clearer what I am asking about. – Olga Jul 3 '12 at 14:54

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