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39 votes
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Russian word for a male zebra

Russian has a long standing tradition of narrating fables (stories featuring anthropomorphic animals). In this tradition, the grammatical gender of name of the species (not necessarily the proper ...
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33 votes

Russian word for female teacher

Училка is extremely disrespectful and nobody calls teachers like that apart from pupils, учительница is a widely accepted feminitive, so just go with it. There's ongoing discussion in Russian-language ...
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33 votes
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"Член клуба" - how to use "член" in feminine here?

In Russian, член is only male, and adjectives referring to that noun should agree with it in masculine, too: Великобритания — постоянный член Совета Безопасности ООН. or Великобритания — член ...
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28 votes

Why did "он" suddenly become so much more common?

Actually, the year is not "around 1915", but the beginning of 1918 when the orthography reform began. Before 1918 "он" was written as "онъ", and naturally before 1918 "он" was not used. Have a look: ...
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21 votes

Russian word for a male zebra

Zebra is a kind of horse, so жеребец (meaning stallion, a male horse) would be a perfectly valid word to refer to a male zebra. Of course it has to be clear from the context that the male horse you're ...
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18 votes

"Член клуба" - how to use "член" in feminine here?

Please don't. Many feminitives sound like mockery (директорша, врачиха), unless they are well-established (учительница, официантка, вахтёрша). Even when fairly acceptable feminine versions exist, ...
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16 votes
Accepted

Why is “had no choice” translated as «не было выбора» and not «не был выбора»?

Russian has two distinctive features. The first one is the proximal possession. У меня есть выбор ("I have a choice") literally translates as "there is a choice by (or next to) me"....
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15 votes

Russian word for female teacher

Whilst the previous answer gives a general understanding, I think it's worth adding a few more points here. All three options: "учитель", "учительница" or "училка" may actually take place and merely ...
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14 votes

Which form of past tense should be used when the gender of the speaker is unknown?

It does not matter whether the gender of person is known or unknown. Кто сказала (f.) or кто сказало (n.) or кто сказали (pl.) here would be just ungrammatical. Question word (interrogative pronoun) ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Succinct and gender-neutral Russian word for "writer"

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. ...
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11 votes

Russian word for a male zebra

Usually, the developed lexicon for some species comes into existence due to the importance of such species in the everyday life of some specific region. That's why we have "кобель", "сука", "щенок"; "...
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11 votes
Accepted

"В об(о,е)их коробках оказались семена" - which vowel should I choose?

You can interpret "коробки" as a plural of "коробка" or "коробок", so it's obviously a trick question. With seeds either one would make sense. The examples you've found are indeed utterly incorrect ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Он обвиняет в этом жену?

The relevant part of the phrase translates as "he accuses his wife of this". Обвинять is a polyvalent verb which accepts up to two objects (one direct and one prepositional): обвинять кого? (acc.) в ...
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10 votes

Succinct and gender-neutral Russian word for "writer"

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 ...
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10 votes

Russian word for a male zebra

In Russian, both the male and female form of zebra is "зебра". Зебра стала лидершей табуна и могла выбирать себе партнерш для спаривания The correct form would be "Зебра стал лидером табуна и мог ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Wuhan: masculine, feminine, or either?

Most sources I could find consider Ухань (sic) a masculine word: от Уханя, к Уханю etc.: БРЭ БСЭ Географическая энциклопедия , but there are some that consider it feminine: Словарь собственных имён ...
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10 votes

"Член клуба" - how to use "член" in feminine here?

There are tree facts we try to cram into a single sentence: OP is member of Japanese Renju association OP is female Women are minority in Japanese Renju association I believe the translation Я ...
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  • 201
8 votes

Why is the Gentive in Question—что нового? итд

It's not an abbreviation; an adjective governed by что basically requires genitive, and this as far as I can tell is very old Slavic grammar; at least it also occurs in Polish and Czech, which take it ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Why is the adjective "главное" in neuter gender?

Here an adjective "главный" becomes a noun (the substantivation). The neuter form is chosen because "the main thing" (which it stands for) is a pure abstraction. It could also be, for example, "...
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7 votes
Accepted

Which grammatical situations depend on the literal gender of a speaker?

Almost anything that can serve as an adjective: adjectives proper, participles, ordinal numerals, possessive pronouns etc.: Я красивый (m.) / я красивая (f.) Я богат (m.) / я богата (f.) Я обиженный (...
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7 votes
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"Website": in Russia they say "Мой сайт". In Canada many say "Моя сайт"... Wonder why

(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 ...
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  • 11.3k
7 votes

How do you describe homosexual marriages in Russian?

Usually it's said они заключили брак/брачный союз/связали себя узами брака This is the way used by News Sites, Agencies and so on. Your last two variants sound strange and therefore are not used.
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7 votes

Why is the adjective "главное" in neuter gender?

It's a nominalized adjective, similar to those in English "orange is the new black", "eat fresh", "bowl of red" etc. It acts as a subject in this sentence, and, therefore, does not have to agree in ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Adjective gender for terms of endearment

The gender of pronoun should match the gender of the endearment word. Another example, there's a word of endearment зайчонок (bunny). When applied to a woman, as it often is, the combination looks ...
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7 votes

"Член клуба" - how to use "член" in feminine here?

There's no feminine for член apart intentionally comic and use exclusively as such "членша". The reason for this is that член is like ветка or отросток or ответвление - throughout the history of ...
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  • 37.3k
7 votes

Why is “had no choice” translated as «не было выбора» and not «не был выбора»?

The verb cannot agree with выбор in gender or number because it's not in the nominative case (выбор is not the subject of the sentence). Therefore there's no reason to choose masculine over neuter for ...
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  • 1,263
6 votes

A children's riddle asks: 'А и Б сидели на трубе. А упало, Б пропало — что осталось на трубе?'

Well, there are two ways of looking at it. Strictly and formally speaking, the riddle would be about the letters (буквы, in singular, буква), which are of feminine gender and should be used with the ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Gender of старому in "Им хотелось жить по-старому"

По-старому - наречие, у него нет мужского, женского и среднего рода. Наречия — неизменяемые слова: они не склоняются и не спрягаются, не имеют окончаний, не изменяются по родам и числам.
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6 votes

Согласование рода

Both are acceptable. Эта игра что надо = This game is good Это игра что надо = It is a good game
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6 votes

Why does the word "мужчина" decline like a feminine noun?

It doesn't decline like a feminine noun. It declines like a noun of the first declension, which includes both masculine and feminine nouns ending in -а or -я. Examples of first declension masculine ...
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