In this case, "директор" becomes genitive "директора" because "У" is followed by the genitive form of whatever noun or pronoun it precedes. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%B4%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%82%D0%BE%D1%80
Ok, thanks! Just curious, how would a feminine director be in this case?
Yes, rather директрисса than директорша ;) You won't expect to hear something like than in a country, where female pilots are expected to answer "вас понял" - just as a males. In the "traditionally male" professions, it's rather impolite to point out on the female gender. Ткачиха, учительница, воспитательница - it's OK (the male gender would be more unusual there); директрисса, врачиха, инженерша - it may be OK in theory, but you won't call 'em that in the face. Лётчица, снайперша - doesn't sound nearly as bad for some reason. Even than, is you point out the gender, it implies on qualities other, than professional. In Russia, "female professional" points out on the only possible profession, even if you say that in English.
Just found out today that Russian apparently has a fourth grammatical gender called the common gender (общий род). It encompasses animate nouns that can represent people (sometimes also animals) regardless of the represented person's gender. It includes words like «сирота», «врач», «директор», making «директор» a word that can also represent a female director. Think of it as being able to refer to a woman who acts in movies as an "actor" rather than an "actress".
I never have called a medical doctor "врач" but always "доктор." Например, спрашиваю, "Кто она?" Ответ: "Она врач." Понятно. Тогда я к врачу (к ней), "Доктор, у меня такая проблема."
On the other, at the institute where I go to work periodically, if I asked "Кто она?" and got the answer "Она доктор", then I would further ask, "Какой? Физ-мат или мех-мат?"
Друг seems to be an irregular noun. http://www.russianforeveryone.com/Rufe/Lessons/Course1/Grammar/GramUnit2/GramUnit2_2.htm
How does one say in Russian "The director thinks he has many friends, but actually he has none" ?
Possession (having something) has (possesses) several aspects. The most common form of "having" is expressed in Russian with the "possessor" being the location for the thing or things possessed. In other words, the person or thing which "has" is not regarded as the active agent. In this case, the friends actively exist (or don't exist). The preposition у (Latin u) could be translated into English as "by." "By director no friends." = "The director has no friends."
In English I say, "I have a headache." In Russian I say, "By me head aches" ("У меня голова болит").
I have a computer and I have friends. My computer belongs to no one else. My friends do not "belong" to me and are also friends of many other people. In Russian, I can say both "у меня комрьютер" and "я имею компьютер." I would not say "я имею другей" but would only say "у меня друзей." In other words, the verb "иметь" (to have, to possess) is a "stronger" notion of possession.
As there are no articles in Russian, there are no equivalent to this Russian form in English. "He hasn't" - "У него нет"; "He has" - "У него есть" - and that's about it, you just have to memorize the form I suppose.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_case#Russian - It doesn't help, not really. Even as I thought it should...
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%83#Preposition_2 - It may help. Somewhat. After a fashion...
I wish someone would explain this.
According to my declension table, the usual nominative plural of друг would be други (Russian Spelling Rules apply to change другы) and genitive plural for друг would be другов, but instead the irregular nominative is друзья, and instead of genitive другов, the irregular spelling used here of друзей.
As a note, -ей is the genitive plural ending for masculine words ending in -ь. Of course, that does not explain why the stem ending г is changed to з.
This genitive irregular spelling looks like but does not seem to be one of the Adjective-Nouns found elsewhere in this module.
Yeah. I was a little confused about the endings, so I edited my post to make it correct - I think. друзья is the nominative plural, and друзей is the genitive plural. I hope. Both irregular. Thanks for the input.
I'm actually more comfortable when I know something is just idiomatic and I have to memorize it than it being a new rule which messes with the declension tables in a big way. A few exceptions is easier to deal with.
How would you say in Russian: "The director and I are not friends"?
Директор in Russian doesn't mean a movie director. It's 1) "a person who is in charge of a department, or organization"; 2) "a member of the board of people that manages or oversees the affairs of a business"; 3) headmaster / headmistress. A movie or theatrical director is режиссёр.