Gender of Nouns Denoting Profession or Job Position

A lot of nouns denoting profession or job position in Russian are used only in form of masculine gender, even if we speak about a woman. For example, we say: Иван Петрович - талантливый врач /Ivan Petrovych is a talented doctor/. Анна Петровна - талантливый врач /Ivan Petrovna is a talented doctor/. It is related to the fact that professions and job positions were "male" for a long time: врач /doctor/, хирург /surgeon/, архитектор /architect/, директор /director/, инженер /engineer/, декан /dean/, профессор /professor/ etc. Such words are used with adjectives of masculine gender and verbs in form of feminine gender (in past tense).For example: 1. Моя мать - хороший инженер /My mom is a good engineer/. The adjective "хороший" /good/ is used in form of masculine gender. 2. Профессор Родионова выступила на конференции /Professor Rodionova spoke at a conference/. The verb "выступила" /spoke/ is used in form of feminine gender.3. Вера Ивановна стала известным архитектором /Viera Ivanovna has become a famous architect/. The verb "стала" /has become/ is used in form of feminine gender. The adjective "известным" /famous/ and the noun "архитектором" /architect/ are used in form of masculine gender (instrumental case).For denoting some professions special suffixes, which point that the question is about woman, are used:писатель - писательница /writer/учитель - учительница /teacher/студент - студентка /student/артист - артистка /artiste/Such words can be used in colloquial speech. However, in formal setting and documents, woman's profession is always mentioned in masculite gender: учитель, not учительница. Sometimes the suffixes -ш- и -их- are used for denoting woman's profession, for example: директор - директорша /director/, врач - врачиха /doctor/. They mark the word with the shade of disdain.There are names of professions, where only the form of feminine gender is used, for example: няня /nanny/, балерина /balerina/. Historically, these professions were ony female. For denoting male specialists, descriptive expressions should be used: человек, который ухаживает за маленькими детьми или больными /a man, taking care of babies and sick/; артист балета /balley artist/.

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