The number of feminitives used in the documents is growing steadily.
30 July 2021
Using its Grandma search engine (Unified State Register of Judicial Decisions search), Opendatabot checked how deep feminitives had recently penetrated the document management—the most official part of the language. The search in the court register included two dozen law-related, e.g., “prosecutoress,” and more general words, e.g., “directoress.”
“Claimantess” (171,124 mentions) and “respondentess” (84,712 mentions) were the most popular in 2020.
They were followed by “secretaress” (4,019), “employeess” (716), “prosecutoress” (661), and “lawyeress” (659).
It is noteworthy that half of these words, in particular, “secretaress”, “prosecutoress”, and “lawyeress,” were first mentioned in the court register only a year earlier—in 2019—when the law on new rules of Ukrainian spelling was passed.
Feminitives do not necessarily end in “-ess”, however, this ending has proved to be the most popular. Other options are not so popular, e.g., “woman lawyer” is four times less common than “lawyeress”, while “female lawyer” can hardly be found at all.
The analysis of the register over the past five years shows that the number of feminitives in the documents is steadily growing. At the same time, “male” versions of feminitives are still more common. “Claimant” could be found in the documents 18 times more often than “claimantess,” with “respondent” being 34 times more popular than “respondentess” last year. Fifty-four “women entrepreneurs” and forty-one “female entrepreneurs” only could be found among 383 thousand “entrepreneurs”.
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