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Oleg of Novgorod.jpg
Gender Male
Word/name Old Norse
Meaning Holy
Region of origin Eastern Europe
Other names
Related names Olga, Helge

Oleg (Russian: Олег), Oleh (Ukrainian: Олег), or Aleh (Belarusian: Алег) is a East Slavic given name. The name is very common in Russia, Ukraine and Belаrus. It derives from the Old Norse Helgi (Helge), meaning "holy", "sacred", or "blessed". The feminine equivalent is Olga. While seemingly Germanic, "Oleg" is not very common outside of Eastern European countries.

Russian pronunciation

Russian pronunciation of Oleg in English is based on the transliteration of the Cyrillic alphabet, and hides three combined quirks of spoken (as opposed to written) Russian:

  1. The stress is on the second syllable. In spoken Russian, the initial short unstressed 'O' is pronounced 'A' as in 'about', like 'A-lég': however...
  2. Russian 'л' becomes palatalized before 'е', that is with a faint 'Y' sound of 'yeti' after it, but still closer to just English "a leg" than to "al-yeg"; however …
  3. A written final 'г' (hard g as in 'gun') is pronounced 'k', with the correct result 'A-lék'.

Thus, rather than "Oh-leg", the proper pronunciation of Oleg in English most closely resembles the name Alec, but with stress on 'E'. But care should be taken, since such а pronunciation is valid only when referring to Russian males with the name "Oleg".

Ukrainian pronunciation

Ukrainian pronunciation of the name Олег is different from Russian, though the same Cyrillic letters are used in writing. Ukrainian Олег becomes Oleh in English according to the transliteration rules [1] and the name is pronounced as |ɔːlˈeɦ| (with unstressed |ɔːl| and stressed |ˈe|, as in already and soft |ɦ|).

People named Oleg[edit]


[1] https://www.kmu.gov.ua/ua/npas/243262567