Why does мартышка exist, but *мартыха does not?
The rest of the words seem to follow this productive pattern. Cf:
- картошка <=> картоха;
- плашка <=> плаха;
- Антошка <=> Антоха;
- Машка <=> Маха
And so on.
- Картофель — official, full form.
- Картошка — informal, common speaking form.
When we are trying to say “Go to the shop and buy some potatoes”, we don’t say “Иди в магазин и купи картофель.” — it’s too official for shopping. We say “Иди в магазин и купи картошки.”.
- Плаха is scaffold for executions: a half of wooden barrel or block. This word is very old and we don’t use it in everyday life.
- Плашка — it’s a little plate, or nameplate, or screw-thread die (a cutting tool). We never say “Метчик и плаха — режущие инструменты” (“Taps and dies are cutting tools”) — it sounds very weird. “Метчик и плашка — режущие инструменты” is OK.
So we use the diminutive form плашка, but we almost do not use the full form плаха.
Антон, Мария — official, full form (passport, forms, at work, etc.). Антоша / Антошка, Маша / Машка — diminutive form. We use it with children and good friends in good mood. Антоха — very light, brute form, only for good friends. This form is very similar to cases of use like “How are ya, you old bastard?”. It’s very tricky to define when you may it use, and when — not. I think that for foreigners it’s better not to use that form. By the way, I can’t remember that I have had heard Маха. Maybe, it’s too brute to call a girl that.
Мартышка evolved from Март (March). We never needed light, brute form of this word for good friends. So it sounds weird.
However, in everyday life some people sometimes use мартышка for the brand name Martini, and, maybe, мартыха. But these cases are infrequent. And I don’t suggest them for foreigners to use.Tweet