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On Sun, 6 May 2012 22:17:25 -0400
MorphemeAddict <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Russian, I believe, does use feminine agreement with masculine nouns
> that refer to women.

There was a survey on that done in the 1960s. Nearly 4000 people were
asked to choose between "Iavanova — xorošij vrač" and "Ivanova —
xorošaja vrač" (Ivanova [is a] good doctor). The problem is that the
name Ivanova is feminine but the word for doctor, vrač, is masculine.
Only 17% chose to use the feminine adjective with the masculine noun.
They were also asked to choose between "vrač prišel" and "vrač
prišla" (the doctor came) on the assumption that it was Dr Ivanova.
That time 52% chose to use the feminine verb with the masculine noun.

That was in line with the agreement hierarchy, where semantic agreement
becomes more likely on the scale adjective > verb > relative pronoun >
personal pronoun.

Another real life case was the organiser of a tour of the Kremlin in
1988 who introduced the guide with the words "Èkskursovod pered vami.
On podnjal ruku": "Your guide [m] is before you. He has lifted his
hand." The guide was a woman! Evidently no-one had told the organiser
(another woman) about the agreement hierarchy.