A correspondent request me around the gender of the Russian word for ‘coffee,’ and also having copied out the very enlightening conversation on pp. 109-10 that The Russian Language in the twentieth Century

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by boy name Comrie, Gerald Stone, and Maria Polinsky (see these earlier LH posts: 1, 2, 3) I assumed I’d share that here:

All the deficiencies of the neuter team notwithstanding, at least one word, and a very common one, has practically completed its change from masculine come neuter; that is the word ко́фе ‘coffee’. Borrowed from English or from netherlands (koffie) in the start of the eighteenth century, the word originally had actually the form ко́фий or ко́фей, which enabled one to identify it together a masculine noun, through analogy with various other nouns in -й. The kind in -й is commonly found in eighteenth- and also nineteenth-century language; SAR (1806-22) lists just the type кофей. The analogy through чай ‘tea’ was most likely a contributing element that added to the security of кофей (кофий) in nineteenth-century language; the two words were occasionally juxtaposed in folklore (чаю-кофию). The type кофе, the increase of i beg your pardon is due to pronunciation reduction of the unstressed final segment, is quote as primary in SRJa (1895-1927); the word кофей (кофий) is explained by recommendation to кофе. In SSRLJa (1948-65), кофей (кофий) is quiet cited but as prostorečno ; other dictionaries (e.g. Ožegov (1972)) carry out not even cite it. The spread of the type кофе, i m sorry resembles other nouns in the neuter, produced a conflict in between the form and the earlier masculine gender of the word. As an effort to fix the conflict, кофе was increasingly used together a neuter noun in spoken Russian. Normative handbooks, however, were an extremely slow and reluctant in acknowledging this adjust and stubbornly insisted top top the masculine; the an initial mention that neuter, as a permissible different alongside with masculine, occurs in the Academy Grammar (Русская грамматика 1980: i. 469); see also Zaliznjak (1980) and Borunova et al. (1983).

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In this AskMetaFilter question around “What identify the sex of a neologism?” I discussed the Russian word and also told the complying with joke:

A Georgian goes up to the counter and also asks because that “один кофе” (odin kofe, ‘one coffee,’ using the masculine kind of ‘one’). The woman behind the counter is (like many Russians with any kind of education) a raging prescriptivist, that seethes end the truth that therefore many human being think кофе is a neuter noun due to the fact that of that ending and say одно кофе (using the neuter form, odno). She is thrilled the this other knows the exactly gender, and also compliments the effusively as she pours his cup.

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That then states “и один булочка” (i odin bulochka, ‘and one bun,’ again making use of the masculine type of ‘one’ but this time v the glaringly feminine noun булочка, proving the he merely uses один through every noun).

And when we’re talking about gender, ns wasn’t going to write-up these depressing links since I dreaded the boring discussion of just how feminism is the end of date and we shouldn’t pay attention to gender however to what is said and yadda yadda yadda, yet I think they’re important and I’m hoping that by sticking them at the finish of a post about coffee and expressing my hope that comments will steer clean of the slough that boredom, I have the right to magically avert it:Literary magazines print far much more reviews by men and also of publications by men.Wikipedia articles are created and edited overwhelmingly by men.This in the twenty-first century. I don’t understand what the solution is, but it bums me out.