Nouns

 

A noun can be a person, an animal, a place, a thing, an event (Easter, Christmas), an idea (truth, virtue), or even a feeling (envy, love). Every Russian noun has what’s called a grammatical race: either masculine, feminine, or neuter. All nouns have race  and not just humans or living beings.

 

Knowing the grammatical race of a noun is important, because race  determines how the noun changes  in  each of the six cases. In the following sections, we explain how to determine the race of nouns in  Russian and warn you about some tricky-looking nouns.

 

Determining the race of a Russian noun is simple and a lot of fun. To truly  enjoy determining the gender of a noun, you need to know that its  ending.  In most cases the ending  indicates the noun’s  race. In their dictionary  form (the nominative case), Russian nouns may end with only one of the following:

 

  • Masculine:  consonant ending or «–Й» (j):

 дом       [do:m]     — house | home;

 человек [chelovek] — human;

 музей    [moozej]   — museum;

 герой     [geroij]     — hero.

 

  • Feminine: A (а), я (ya) vowels,

 девочка [dy'evachka] — girl;

 кошка    [k'o:shka]     — a cat (feminine);

 идея      [ideya]        — idea;

 станция [stantsiya]     — station.

 

  • Some masculine and some feminine words  end  with the soft sign — «-Ь»= (’):

 конь      [k'on']   —horse (m);

 дождь   [dozhd'] — rain(m);

 ночь      [n'o:ch] — night (f);

 тетрадь [tietrad'] — copy-book (f)

 

  • Neutral — О (o), Е – (je), and  Ё (jo):

 вино     [vino]     — wine;

 окно     [akn'o]    — window;

 море    [m'orje]   — see;

 сердце [sj'erdtse] — heart

 

A number of common Russian nouns denoting male beings can be confusing, because their grammatical race is actually feminine. These nouns are considered feminine, because they have the feminine ending -a:

  • мужчина [moo-sh’ee-na]  man

  • папа       [papa]            — dad

  • дедушка [dye-doosh-ka] — grandfather

  • дядя       [dyadya]        — uncle

 

These gender deviants behave just like feminine nouns when their endings change for each of the cases. Memorizing them is a good idea, because they’re words you use a lot.

 

Plural forms

After letters Г, Ж, К, Ш, Щ, Ч, Х in Russian languade you should always write И

 

Г, Ж, К, Ш, Щ, Ч, Х           И.

 

Книга     [kneaga] = a book        — книги     [kneagea]    = books

Встреча [vstry'echa] = a meeting — встречи [vstry'echea] = meetings

Роща     [ro:sh'a] = a grove        — рощи     [ro:sh'ea]     = groves

Крыша   [kryisha] = a roof          — крыши   [kryishea]    = roofs

Ключ      [kl'ooch] = a key          — ключи    [kl'oochea]  = keys