Syntactics of Feminitives and Ecological Thinking

Authors’ names:

  • Ella G. Kulikova – People’s Friendship University (RUDN University), Moscow, Russia
  • Oksana M. Akay – People’s Friendship University (RUDN University), Moscow, Russia / St. Petersburg State University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
  • Zaira K. Tedeeva – South Ossetian State University after A. A. Tibilov, Beslan, South Ossetia


The beginning of the 20th century was marked by the emergence and widespread use of new feminitives in the Russian linguoculture, most likely due to the fourth wave of feminism. In recent years, modern communication techniques have given a new impetus to this discussion. The features of feminitives related to the category of appropriateness (their stylistic and genre-related classifications) as well as their pragmatic potential (usage primarily for expressing various pejorative meanings) are well known and described in detail. The purpose of the article is to explain the use of feminitives primarily through one of the aspects of the semiotic essence of the grammatical form, namely syntactics. The focus is on the connection between the choice between a masculine or feminine anthroponym and the conditions of contextual realization of the corresponding grammatical meanings. The results of our analysis demon-strate that even within one text it is possible to vary masculine and feminine correlates that are similar in semantics, due to the difference in the syntactics of these units. While consistently analyzing the role of the compatibility of feminitives, the authors also investigate reasons for choosing one of the generic correlates from the point of view of linguoecological thinking. Their study of mutually determined syntagmatics and grammatical semantics of the genus forms of names is based on contextual analysis and transformational method, as well as on the use of the technique of intra-linguistic comparison and linguistic-pragmatic interpretation in the context of ecological linguistics. The authors demonstrate that preference for feminitives as more accurate nominations (a relatively new phenomenon that has clearly emerged only in the last decade) in some cases is limited to syntagmatic parameters. The same parameters (for instance, attributes «один» (“sole, alone, one,” male) / «одна» (“sole, alone, one” female)) determine the choice of the correlate corresponding to the gender characteristic. The choice of morphological form is dictated not only by denotative correlation but also by syntagmatic conditions. However, the influence of the third component of the language sign – syntactics – is rarely taken into account, except for the syntax itself. Feminitives that have become fash-ionable operate in syntactic constructions for which the form of the gender correlate does not allow variability. The description of contexts that predetermine the conditions for the preference of feminine or masculine designations is extremely important for the compilation of a new general grammar of the Russian language, for the compilation of a grammar of the mean-ings compatibility, and, upon the whole, for ecological linguistics..

DOI: 10.47388/2072-3490/lunn2022-59-3-21-32
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Key words gender; grammatical category; feminitives; sign properties; syntactics; pragmatics; ecolinguistics.

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