All professions and specialties of the speakers are indicated in the form chosen by them.
Language, contrary to stereotypes about "unshakable literary norm", - substance is mobile and fluid: it reflects not only reality, but also the changes taking place in it. Simply put, language modernization is ongoing, but not always painless. Feminitives are now at the forefront of this process: women are increasingly entering the "male territory", occupying the posts of directors, directors and presidents, which were previously considered exclusively or predominantly male. And sooner or later this should be reflected in speech, including reinforcing the idea that such professions and roles are normal for a woman.
At the same time, there is no consensus even about the use of feminitives, enshrined as a vocabulary norm: many still believe that the “artist” sounds more weighty and professional than the “artist” (and it is clear how such a perception was historically formed). What can we say about new forms like "director", "author" or "director", which seem dissonant to opponents of the process, and the suffix -к– - dismissive. Unsurprisingly, feminitives are often referred to as “language disfigurement,” without realizing that their task is to make women in certain social roles and professional communities visible and respected.
At the same time, there are professions in which the feminitive does not cause rejection: for example, the usual "singer" or "teacher". The reason is simple: the tradition of seeing women in roles "befitting" them ("secretary", "ballerina"), but not in respectable positions of professors, diplomats and surgeons. And although, frankly, there is no fundamental aesthetic difference between "sportswoman" or "graduate student" and "author", one word provokes protests, and the other does not. Similar problems exist not only in the Russian language, as well as not only in Russian reality: they try to fight the traditionalist linguistic gender bias in different languages in different ways. Let's figure out how.
The processes taking place in the English language are more or less visible: gender-labeled profession names are gradually being replaced by gender-neutral ones. Neutral vocabulary in the language has taken root quite successfully, with the exception, perhaps, of the word "actor", which is now increasingly used for both sexes (as, for example, The Guardian does). This model is often proposed to be introduced in Russian, but for us this is an ambiguous way: after all, in English there is no gender category for nouns, therefore, “friend”, “surgeon”, and “teacher”, and “firefighter” are perceived neutrally. In Russian, a "surgeon" is primarily a male surgeon, and this is how we perceive him. But these are not all initiatives: also in English they call
stop using the word "girl" to describe girls over 18, considering it humiliating - instead, it is suggested to say "young woman" or simply "woman", depending on the woman's age. In addition, to address unfamiliar women, the form Ms was introduced in English instead of Mrs and Miss, which were used depending on marital status.
Another fem movement in English is to introduce "she" as a neutral pronoun, when we do not know the gender of the person we are talking about, or are reasoning abstractly. There are three common choices: “He wakes up at 5 am”, “He or she wakes up at 5 am”, “They wake up at 5 am”(“He / she gets up at 5 am”). Feminists suggest a fourth option: use "she" as the neutral pronoun. An ardent supporter of all these measures is The New Yorker journalist Maria Konnikova, who writes about psychology and scientific achievements related to the study of the brain. As the linguist Daria Seres clarifies, this form is already widespread in scientific articles.
In Spanish there is a gender category, and there are two of them - male and female. In matters of feminitives, Spain did not follow a gender-neutral English path, but, on the contrary, introduces absent feminitives, as it is suggested to do in Russia. For example, now in the country's newspapers they write “la presidenta” about female presidents (instead of the old form, when the female article “la” was added to the word “presidente”).
At the same time, the division into masculine and feminine in Spanish is preserved in the plural. In classical grammar there is a rule: if there is at least one man in a group, then the whole group is called masculine. How often
happens in matters of linguistics, there is no consensus on the issue - someone suggests simply using the feminine form as a generalizing one, while someone advocates repetition with a different genus: “Nosotros y nosotras, chicos y chicas, profesores y profesoras” (“we are men and we are women, boys and girls, professors and professors ").
At the same time, historians, politicians, and writers argue about feminitives in Spain. One of the active supporters of the use of the feminine form "nosotras" is the political party Podemos, which took third place in the last elections to the Spanish parliament. One of their slogans is “¡Un país para nosotras!” ("A country for us women!"). "Nosotras" as "we" in Podemos is used by both women and men. And in October this year, a real battle over the plural form broke out between members of the Royal Academy of the Spanish language: some call feminitives "ridiculous", while others advocate the fight against gender bias in the language and the search for new forms, albeit sometimes difficult.
Ukrainian and Russian languages belong to the same group, and similar processes take place in them: in Ukrainian it is customary to use common feminitives that have taken root in the language - although less common words such as "doctor" still cause rejection. According to journalist and philologist Ksenia Turkova, who now lives in Kiev, almost all Ukrainian media use feminitives (“I would even dare to say that everything,” she clarifies), for which the suffix –к– is used. In the credits on television, it is customary to write common feminitives - "expert", "journalist". “To call a woman“journalist”in Ukrainian is considered
illiterate, - explains Ksenia. - All this applies specifically to the Ukrainian-language media - and if a guest comes on the air of the Russian-language media who speaks Ukrainian, she may specifically ask to use the feminitive. I had such a case on radio Vesti."
The situation with changes in the French language is very unusual by world standards: the country has the French Academy, an ancient institution that maintains the purity of the French language. For example, all of France calls the weekend Anglicism "le weekend", but the French Academy condemns this and requires the use of the wonderful French phrase "fin de semaine".
The Académie Française also has an opinion on feminitives. In French, as in Russian, there is an extensive list of professions, the names of which are traditionally more associated with "male": "médecin" (doctor), "peintre" (artist), "gouverneur" (governor), "ministre" (minister) … More recently, the French have begun to invent feminine names for these professions, such as "sénateur" / "sénatrice" (senator / "senatress"), or put the feminine article before the word "la présidente".
According to the philologist Nadya Biryukova living in France, the French Academy as a whole opposes feminitives, calling "presidential women" and "professors" stupidity and excess. Nevertheless, the opinion of academicians has no administrative force, and the use of feminitives in practice often contradicts the instructions of the academy. So, for example, the National Assembly of France decided to indicate in the feminine gender all the posts that occupy
in 2014, a member of the French parliament was fined 1,378 euros for appealing to the chairperson Madame le président (Madame President) during a session instead of the Assembly's version of Madame la présidente (Madame Presidente).
Another change in French, carried out at the state level, was the rejection of the address "mademoiselle". As the researcher and feminist Elena Smirnova says, they decide not to use it, since it indicates the marital status of a woman (Madame is a married woman, and Mademoiselle is unmarried), while for men there is no such distinction. Close attention to marital status was recognized as discriminating against women, and in 2012, after lengthy debates and rallies, the appeal “Mademoiselle” was removed from administrative forms. At the same time, according to Nadya Biryukova, the modernization of the language also provoked protests: “Many argued that women actually like being called 'Mademoiselle'. But now in the professional world this word has disappeared altogether. They still call me that from time to time, but rather in the market or in the bakery."
In France, according to Smirnova, there is a similar Spanish problem with plural pronouns, where "elles" (they) or "toutes" (all) are used to describe a group of women, and "ils" (they) or "tous" - for a group of people in which there is at least one man. They are looking for different ways of solving it. Lesbian magazine Wel Wel Wel recalls that such a provision was introduced only in the 17th century; the grammar Bose pointed out to him as follows: "The masculine gender is considered more noble than the feminine, due to the superiority of a man over a woman." The editors propose and apply on the pages of the journal a set of more "equal" grammatical rules that were used in the language earlier. For example, when enumerating, agreement occurs not with the masculine word - because of the "prevalence of masculine over feminine" - but with the word that is listed last. “Contrary to popular belief, such rules do not complicate the language, but only make it more equal,” sums up Elena Smirnova.
It is not entirely correct to speak about a single Arabic language, warns the Arabist philologist Alfiya Khabibullina. There is the so-called Arabic diglossia: a common literary language for all, which is used in the official media, "serious" literature and the humanities, and dialects that differ from literary Arabic, much like Russian from Ukrainian or Polish. In general, according to Alfia, there is relatively little gender bias in Arabic. In the Qur'an, there are words in both masculine and feminine gender in the neighborhood, for example, "a believer and a believer must …".
According to Alfia, although in Arabic, if there is at least one man in a group, the whole group should be spoken of in the masculine gender, it is usually the Quran that is followed in speech, and men and women are always singled out separately in the announcements:
"Every student and every student …". The feminitive in Arabic, as Khabibullina explains, is very easy to form: for the formation of the feminine gender there is a special letter ة - “ta-marbuta”: “So if we take the chancellor or the president, everything is in order. True, there are also words-exceptions such as “caliph” - caliph, or “allama” - a great scientist: they are masculine, despite the presence of ta-marbuta”.
There are practically no fem-initiatives in the Arabic language, as Alfia says: “The Arab women seem to have two feminisms. There is Western feminism, and there is feminism, taking into account traditions and identity. “Western” feminists like Mona et-Takhaoui write in English: English and French are the languages of the elites. And feminists who speak Arabic, firstly, are less well-known, and secondly, they are engaged in other problems - for example, how to teach women to read and write or prevent single women from starving to death. Roughly speaking, the rich have English and French, and the poor are not yet up to language problems. At the same time, the local dialect is not officially regulated in any way, and fusha (literary) is not used in everyday life."
In the Polish language, the situation is generally similar to the Russian one, except that this issue is being discussed more massively. As polonist philologist and feminist Irina Shestopalova says, in Polish more masculine words have a feminine form: "autor" / "autorka", "scenograf" / "scenografka", "scenarzysta" / "scenarzystka", "historyk" / " historyczka ". Nevertheless, problems remain: many words do not have a feminine form, the -ka- suffix seems dismissive to some, and women themselves often consider the “masculine” name of the profession to be more euphonious and prestigious.
At the same time, in the 19th century, as Irina explains, feminitives in Polish were more common and used more often: at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, “doktorka”, “profesorka”, “docentka”, “redaktorka” were quite used in the media. Nevertheless, in the second half of the 20th century, the attitude towards feminitives changed. In the NDP, as in the USSR, women worked on an equal footing with men - but it was then that the opinion arose that male names for professions sound more prestigious. In the 50s and 60s, the point of view began to prevail that “profesorka” and “dyrektorka” are colloquial words, and one should say “Mrs. Professor” and “Mrs. Director”.
There is still no consensus in Polish society about feminitives. In 2013, a survey was conducted in the country on the need to create feminitives from male names of professions - and only half of the women answered in the affirmative. Some Polish feminists try to use feminitives without the –ka– suffix: in 2012, Joanna Mucha called herself “ministra sportu”. Some linguists have said that "ministra" is wrong, you need to say "ministerka". A dispute erupted, and as a result, representatives of Wikipedia decided to ask the Polish Language Council what to call Joanna Mucha and other women who are engaged in surgery, political science or physics. The council replied that "ministra" is an irregular shape, like "profesora", but it seems more solid.
In addition to feminitives, there is another problem in the Polish language: in the plural, it literally refers women to inanimate objects, things. “There are two third-person plural pronouns in Polish -“oni”and“one”. “Oni” is a group of people where there is at least one man. “One” is everyone else: women, children, objects, animals,”says Irina. Now these two forms are called personal-masculine and impersonal-masculine (earlier it was called feminine-thing). There is still no idea how the situation can be corrected in the near future: it is impossible to change the “feminine-thing” gender without a radical structural change in grammar.