Register me

How to Define Gender of Indeclinable Nouns (Nouns, which are not Changed in Cases)

If you have started learning Russian already, you probably know that nouns in Russian language change in cases.

For example:
Кто это? - Мама (Именительный падеж) /Who is that? - Mom (Nominative case)/
Кого нет дома? - Мамы (Родительный падеж) /Who is not at home? - Mom (Genitive case)/
Кому вы купили подарок? - Маме (Дательный падеж) /Whom you bought a present? - Mom (Dative case)/
Кого вы увидели на фото? - Маму (Винительный падеж) /Whom did you see on the photo? - Mom (Accusative case)/
С кем вы любите разговаривать? - С мамой (Творительный падеж) /Whom do you like to talk with? - With mom (Instrumental case)/
О ком вы часто думаете? - О маме (Предложный падеж) /About whom do you think often? - About mom (Prepositional case)/

However, not all Russian nouns can be declined. There are nouns, which don't change their form in different cases, that means they don't decline. Such nouns are called indeclinable.

For example:
Что это? - авеню (= широкая улица) /What is this? - Avenue (broad street)/
Чего еще нет на карте? - авеню /What isn't still on the map? - Avenue/
Чему дали новое название? - авеню /What was given a new name? - Avenue/
and so on.   

Undeclined nouns came into Russian from other languages. These nouns also have gender characteristic, which is defined not by an ending, but by meaning.

Let's compare:
Учитель /teacher/ is of masculine gender, because it ends in л+ь.
Гитара /guitar/ is of feminine gender, because it ends in на -а.
Леди /lady/ is of feminine gender, because it denotes a woman, female person.

Let's have a look at how to define gender of undeclined nouns.

1. Masculine gender.

  • Words, denoting men, male persons: атташе (военный атташе) /attache (military attache)/, маэстро (известный маэстро) /maestro (famous maestro)/.
  • Words, denoting animals: кенгуру (большой кенгуру) /kangaroo (big kangaroo)/, пони (красивый пони) /pony (nice pony)/. !BUT! If we speak about jennies, a noun should be used in feminine gender: кенгуру кормила детёныша /kangaroo fed a baby/. 
  • Word, which have synonyms of masculine gender (common word): пенальти (удачный пенальти) = удар /penalty (good penalty) = a stroke/.   

2. Feminine gender.

  • Words, denoting women, female persons: леди (красивая леди) /lady (beautiful lady)/.
  • Word, which have synonyms of feminine gender (common word): авеню (новая авеню) = улица /avenue (new avenue) = street/.    

3 Neutrum gender.

  • Words, denoting objects (inanimated nouns): такси (жёлтое такси) /taxi (yellow taxi)/, хобби (необычное хобби) /hobby (unusual hobby)/, интервью (короткое интервью) /interview (short interview)/.

You can find Russian language schools and teachers:

Translation (ru-en)
Only registered users can use this function