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Gender of Indeclinable Nouns of Foreign Origin

Thousands of words have been borrowed into Russian from English and other languages.
Among these foreign borrowings is a fairly large number of nouns that are indeclinable, that
is, their endings do not change for number or case. Nearly all of these nouns end in a vowel,
but for this group of nouns the vowel ending is often not a reliable indicator of gender. Rather,
the gender of indeclinable loanwords is determined by certain categories.

1.Indeclinable loanwords denoting inanimate objects are generally neuter.


Москóвское метрó - Moscow metro Длинное резюмé - long résumé
Удóбное купе - comfortable compartment Разнообрáзное меню´- varied menu
Нóвое кинó - new cinema Уютное кафé - cozy café
Свобóдное такси - available taxi Интерéсное интервью´ - interesting interview

Note  :The noun кóфе coffee is normally masculine (чёрный кóфе black coffee),
though recently it has become acceptable to treat it as neuter in colloquial
style.
Note :
 The gender of a few indeclinable loanwords denoting inanimate objects is determined by
the gender of the native Russian word that denotes the relevant generic class, e.g., торнáдо
tornado is masculine (cf. вéтер wind), салями salami is feminine (cf. колбасá sausage), as is
авеню´ avenue (cf. ýлица street) and цунáми tsunami (cf. волнá wave).

2.Indeclinable loanwords denoting people are “naturally”


masculine or feminine.
Знаменитый маэстро - famous maestro
Настоящая лéди - a real lady
Нóвый рефери´ - new referee

3.Indeclinable loanwords denoting animals and birds are normally


masculine
Большóй кенгурý - big kangaroo
Симпатичный пóни - nice pony
Рóзовый фламинго - pink flamingo
Умный шимпанзé - intelligent chimpanzee
Красивый какадý - beautiful cockatoo
4. Indeclinable loanwords denoting cities are masculine (cf. гóрод city)
Хéльсинки – Helsinki Тбилиси – Tbilisi
Тóкио – Tokyo Осло – Oslo
Гонолýлу – Honolulu Сан-Франциско - San Francisco
Кáлгари - Calgary Торóнто - Toronto

5. Indeclinable loanwords denoting islands are masculine (cf. óстров island).


красивый Кюрасáо - beautiful Curaçao
живописный Антигуа - picturesque Antigua
сóлнечный Кóрфу - sunny Corfu
гóрный Кáпри - mountainous Capri

6. Nouns denoting rivers are generally feminine (cf. рекá river).


Янцзы´ - Yangtze
Кóнго – Congo
Огáйо - Ohio
Миссисипи - Mississippi
The nouns that denote both the river and state of the U.S. are masculine when they refer to
the state (cf. штáт state), but feminine when they denote the river.
спокóйная Миссисипи - the calm Mississippi
длинная Миссýри - the long Missouri
быстрая Колорáдо - the rapid Colorado

7. Indeclinable loanwords denoting lakes are neuter (cf. óзеро lake)


пресновóдное Эри - freshwater Erie
простóрное Гурóн - expansive (Lake) Huron
Identify the gender of each of the following loanwords by
writing óн, онó, or онá.

6. Кóнго -
1. такси´ -
7. Кóфе -
2. рефери´ -
8. Пóни -
3. Меню –
9. Антигуа -
4. авеню´ -
10. Гонолýлу -
5. Сан-Франциско -
11. Эри -