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Thread: Animate masculine problem

  1. #1
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    Animate masculine problem

    Он наблюдает преподавателя

    In this case the teacher is feminine. But am I correct in thinking that the animate masculine applies because the noun is masculine? I.e. the animate masculine rule is based on the gender of the noun and not the gender of the person referred to?
    Исправьте ошибки в моём русском, пожалуйста

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinwyllie View Post
    But am I correct in thinking that the animate masculine applies because the noun is masculine? I.e. the animate masculine rule is based on the gender of the noun and not the gender of the person referred to?
    You are right.
    Moreover, I don’t quite understand what the opposite would look like. While masculine nouns have only two forms for nominative, accusative, and genitive, feminine nouns have all three forms different:

    mas. anim. mas. inanim. fem.
    nom. преподаватель учебник учительница
    acc. преподавателя учебник учительницу
    gen. преподавателя учебника учительницы

    The word преподаватель being a masculine noun just doesn’t have that separate accusative form.
    justinwyllie likes this.
    Please correct my English

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    Thanks SoftSign.

    That makes it very clear: преподаватель just doesn't have the separate accusative. It has to be -Я even if the person referred to is female.

    However what happens when the noun is feminine and does have the accusative ending? For example:

    личность

    Я наблюдаю личность / личности depending on the gender of the 'individual'? Or - always личность because (like the other way round) it is the gender of the noun which counts? I suspect личность in any case?

    Thanks again.
    Исправьте ошибки в моём русском, пожалуйста

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soft sign View Post
    feminine nouns have all three forms different
    Sorry, I wasn’t quite right. Feminine nouns ending with have identical nominative and accusative forms—animate or not.

    Я наблюдаю личность. (anim., male of female)
    Я наблюдаю пыль. (inanim.)
    Please correct my English

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    Quote Originally Posted by justinwyllie View Post
    Он наблюдает преподавателя

    In this case the teacher is feminine. But am I correct in thinking that the animate masculine applies because the noun is masculine? I.e. the animate masculine rule is based on the gender of the noun and not the gender of the person referred to?
    If the teacher is feminine можно сказать "преподавательницу".
    Мне вообще не нравится исходное предложение. Я плохо понимаю, что оно значит.

    The sentences below sound more natural:
    Он наблюдает за преподавательницей. (He is watching the instructor.)
    Он видит преподавательницу (He can see the Instructor.)

    Выражение "наблюдать кого-то" я встречала только в контексте медицины: врач наблюдает больного (a doctor is treating a patient; a doctor observes a patient).
    Контекст - (от лат. contextus - соединение - связь), относительно законченный отрывок письменной или устной речи (текста), в пределах которого наиболее точно выявляется значение отдельных входящих в него слов, выражений и т. п.

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    Sometimes just a masculine form is used to indicate a profession/occupation (though a female form may exist). Преподаватель, врач, доктор, педагог are the examples. In this case grammatically they are treated as masculine gender: e.g. Она - мой преподаватель (She is my teacher). The masculine form sounds more formal, so in some professions they prefer to use this form (a female form преподавательница may be used occasionally in less formal contexts, however sometimes such female form may not exist). Another example is a female driver - the masculine form водитель is used and treated as usual masculine gender (it happens there is no female form).

    As for личность, it should be treated grammatically as female gender regardless of the gender of the indivudual. Grammatically it declines like abstract nouns слабость, краткость, etc.

    I hope this answers it.

    PS In some professions the distinction is always clear: актер - актриса, танцор (танцовщик) - танцовщица. Probably the explanation is somewhere in traditional gender roles and the fact that initially some occupations were not available to women.

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