Feminitives with the suffix -ix(a) in Russian texts of the 18th–20th centuries: A corpus study

2022. №1, 85-105

Liliia Kilina
Udmurt State University, Izhevsk, Russia; kilin_74@mail.ru
Anastasija Sokolova
Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic; sokolova@ped.muni.cz


The paper is devoted to Russian nouns with the feminizing suffix -ix(a) in historical perspective, starting with the first occurrences in texts and mentions in grammars (for example, in M. V. Lomonosov’s grammar) and ending with recent studies on feminitives. Historical data indicate that -ix(a) was originally a suffix of masculine nouns, and later acquired feminizing function through usage in female nicknames derived from masculine nouns, while retaining affective / evaluative flavor. The paper also presents the results of a corpus study of feminitives with the suffix -ix(a) in texts of the 18th–20th centuries. An analysis of the corpus data is given for each century separately, with stylistic restrictions and without them. Eight feminitives with -ix(a) were found in 18th-century texts, 20 in 19th-century texts, and 74 in 20th-century texts. For the most frequent lemmas (ščegolixa ‘female dandy’, kupčixa ‘merchant woman’, portnixa ‘female dressmaker’), we analyze both their use in the corpus and their presence / absence in explanatory dictionaries of the 18th–21st centuries. It is noteworthy that in explanatory dictionaries, feminitives are most often not given in an independent entry, but are explained through the masculine noun as “feminine from (masc.)”. In this regard, this paper also attempts to distinguish between the grammatical (derivational) meaning and the lexical meaning of the feminitives with -ix(a), which is not always carefully made in dictionaries.

For citation:

Kilina L. F., Sokolova A. Feminitives with the suffix -ix(a) in Russian texts of the 18th–20th centuries: A corpus study. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2022, 1: 85–105.