Jaki jest twój ulubiony aktor?

The English translation is given as ‘Who’s your favorite actor or actress?’. But as this is the male noun ‘aktor’, this can can only be ‘actor’? I thought that the female Polish version is ‘akortka’. Or is there a movement in Poland, the same as in some other countries, towards using gender neutral professional titles? Thanks

It’s true that a more literal translation of the Polish sentence into English would be simply “Who’s your favorite actor?”. I think in the case of this particular profession, the two languages do not differ that much—“actor” and “actress” are commonly recognized and used as gendered forms.

However, if we assume that the English sentence was the source sentence that was later translated into Polish, it starts making sense.

If you start with “Who’s your favorite actor or actress?” and try to translate it into Polish, you can do it in three ways:

  • “Jaki jest twój ulubiony aktor lub aktorka?” — this sounds simply wrong, as the masculine form of “ulubiony” doesn’t match “aktorka”
  • “Jaki jest twój ulubiony aktor lub ulubiona aktorka?” — this is grammatically fine, but the reduntant adjective makes it sound artificial
  • “Jaki jest twój ulubiony aktor?” — here, clinging to the “gender-neutral” interpretation of the word “aktor” (as defining the profession in general, and not a specific gender) is clearly the most natural sounding solution. The downside is that some people might think you’re only asking about male actors, which is far from the intent behind the original sentence.
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