"She is a famous composer."
Translation:Она известный композитор.
In general, do occupations in Russian have only one gender regardless of who is performing the job?
Interesting fact: many Russian feminists advocate using of female forms and making them up when they don't exist. For example, this sentence could be written «Она известная композиторка». However, the word «композиторка» hasn't made its way into the dictionaries yet.
Unfortunately, I can't find anything about this in English, but in Russian you can find information about this by googling «феминитивы».
Interesting how differently our two societies think about that! In America, we are increasingly moving to neutral forms in cases where gender-specific forms have existed in the past. The idea is that a woman's presence should not be treated as remarkable or as part of a different (lesser) class than a man's. "Stewardess" is a prime example of a word that has been phased out.
Perhaps (my Russian isn't good enough to read a lot of those sites yet) the Russian feminist idea is that it is not nice to speak in a way that assumes women can't be in certain positions, or that a woman who takes those jobs is somehow less feminine?
Russian speakers cannot do the same thing the English speakers do because there's no grammatical gender in English, so true neutral forms are possible.
In Russian, «композитор» is not really a true neutral form because it requires masculine adjectives, it's declined like masculine words and so on. So by using it as a default we re-affirm masculinity as the default option.
the Russian feminist idea is that it is not nice to speak in a way that assumes women can't be in certain positions
I believe that is true.
Anna Akhmatova, a famous Russian poet, hated the word поэтесса and called herself поэт. But I think it was this specific word that she had problems with.
Interesting! I've heard complaints like that about the English word "actress" from some...though not enough to keep the Oscar category from being named "Best Actress." ;-)
Forms in -ша are generally avoided because they are percieved as derogatory:
Даже если отбросить это словарное правило и просто присмотреться к женским формам на «-ша», станет очевидным следующее: практически все они несут в себе оттенки принижения, пренебрежения и преуменьшения. Да, иногда они привычней звучат: авторша, директорша (или, того хуже, директриса), блоггерша и так далее, НО. Одно большое «НО» жирным шрифтом: во всех этих словах заметен негативный контекст. (http://yu-de-ki.livejournal.com/169603.html)
I am not arguing for using "композиторша" instead of "композитор" - I agree that it carries a slight flavour of disdain or disrespect. However, I am not certain that a newly invented word, "композиторка", would not immediately acquire it - simply because it is so awkward. Moreover, I completely disagree with the argument that using a masculine form "assumes women can't be in certain positions". The blog post you have cited certainly brings examples that fit its narrative. However, ask yourself why it doesn't take an issue with the word "врач"? Discarding the disrespectful "врачиха" (no -ша there!), would she (or you) rather see "врачка"? And if "врач" is OK, and is not conveying the message of masculine exceptionalism that you seem to be arguing against, then why "композитор" can't function in exactly the same manner?
I’m just telling what approaches to feminine forms in Russian exist. I have no desire whatsoever to have an argument for or against a certain approach. First, I believe this is not a good place for such an argument. Second, I have absolutely no desire to be dragged into such an argument.
if "врач" is OK
I think it's композиторка with the к because in Russian generally k's are added after r's (see szeraja_zhaba's comment on Докторка). I lived in a village in Kyrgyzstan called in the local language Кочкор, but Russian speakers all called it Кочкорка because it "sounded better" in Russian. I'm sure there's an official linguistic reason--I'm just speaking from experience.
Funny thing, I was going to say композиторша too, as композиторка sounds Ukrainian to me (it is common in Ukrainian, e.g. вчитель - вчителька, викладач - викладачка, касир - касирка, лікар - лікарка, співак - співачка, композитор - композиторка)
Didn't know -ша is considered derogatory by feminists. Thanks for sharing.
What's really funny is that here is another thread, where someone (clearly female) is adamant about not accepting "официантка" (which, unlike the other ones mentioned in this thread is an actual dictionary word), and insisting that it's "официант" regardless of the person's gender:
(scroll to the bottom and click on Hidden Comments - it has been down-voted too many times).
Может быть "композиторша", но официально так никогда не говорят и не пишут. Это больше грубая неуважительная форма. Только "композитор" и для мужчин, и женщин. А "композиторка" как-то смешно звучит :)
Скорее "композиторша", но это больше грубый неуважительный вариант и официально так никогда не говорят и не пишут. А "композиторка" звучит смешно :)
Official documents, such as job contracts, almost always use the masculine form. Many occupations have a feminine form, it can be either informal (even with a slight derogatory meaning) or neutral. Neutral examples: поэт - поэтесса, учитель - учительница. Informal examples: врач - врачиха, секретарь - секретарша, композитор - композиторша.
Depends on the occupation.
For example: "teacher" can be учитель or учительница, "artist" can be художник or художница, but "architect" can only be архитектор.
Unless you subscribe to the the feminist language-making ideas that were advocated elsewhere in this thread by szeraja_zhaba, neither архитекторка nor докторка are real words, not yet anyway.
Some notable English native speaking "actresses" introduce and characterize themselves as actors. Any title, label, approach, rapport or posture may be twisted from nurturing mutual interest, esteem and respect, into despective, deprecating or some other social pathological apathy, antipathy, toxicity or adversarial hostility. Even a musical harmonic third may be weaponeered.
descending minor third ‧ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyah_nyah_nyah_nyah_nyah_nyah ‧
Актри́са Арти́стка Аспира́нтка Баскетболи́стка Волейболи́стка Врачи́ха Вра-чи́-ца До́кторица До́к-тор-ша Же́нщина-врач Журнали́стка Касси́рша Ле́карка Ле́-кар-ша Ме-ди́ч-ка Официа́нтка Певи́ца Пиани́стка Писа́тельница Секрета́рша Спе-ци-а-ли́ст-ка Спортсме́нка Студе́нтка Тенниси́стка Учени́ца Учи́тельница Футболи́стка Шко́льница
RBTH ‧ Russia Beyond the Headlines ‧ TV-Novosti ‧ www.rbth.com/lifestyle/328275-russian-women-jobs
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P___y_Riot [ aka Cat_Riot ]
Not only it can, it actually should be used here. "Известный"="known" or, possibly, "well-known".
absolutely, but no one seems to care