Eastern Slavic naming customs
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They are commonly used in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and to an extent in Kyrgyzstan and Georgia. It is named after the Russian group that the Russian language belongs to. They are also found occasionally in the Balkans among older generations.
|Name||Belarusian example||Russian example||Ukrainian example|
|First name (given name)||Belarusian: Уладзімір, romanized: Uladzimir||Russian: Владимир, romanized: Vladimir||Ukrainian: Володимир, romanized: Volodymyr|
|Patronymic||Belarusian: Антонавіч, romanized: Antonavich||Russian: Антонович, romanized: Antonovich||Ukrainian: Антонович, romanized: Antonovych|
|Family name (surname)||Belarusian: Іваноў, romanized: Ivanoŭ||Russian: Иванов, romanized: Ivanov||Ukrainian: Іванів, romanized: Ivaniv|
Russian parents select a given name for a newborn child. Most first names in Russian languages originate from two sources:
- Eastern Orthodox Church tradition
- native pre-Christian Russian lexicons, Varangian traditions http://www.hist.msu.ru/ER/Etext/RP/krp.htm
Almost all first names are single. Doubled first names (as in, for example, French, like Jean-Luc) are very rare and are from foreign influence. Most doubled first names are written with a hyphen: Mariya-Tereza. Double names were used long time after Christianization of Rus. One name to the person was given by parents at a birth. The person received the second name after a christening ceremony. This tradition remained long. Thanks to this tradition some new names have appeared in Orthodox Christianity after canonization of the Russians Saints. For example: names Vladimir, Boris, Gleb, Olga. []
|Belarusian variant||Russian variant||Ukrainian variant||Latin-alphabet transliteration[note 1]
(Belarusian / Russian / Ukrainian)
|Іван, Ян||Иван||Іван||Ivan, Jan / Ivan / Ivan||Hebrew||equivalent to John|
|Якуб, Якаў||Иаков, Яков||Яків||Yakub, Yakau / Iakov, Yakov / Yakiv||Hebrew||equivalent to James or Jacob|
|Ілля||Илья||Ілля||Illa / Ilia / Illia||Hebrew||equivalent to Elijah|
|Мікалай, Мікола||Николай||Микола||Mikałaj, Mikoła / Nikolai / Mykola, Mykolai||Greek||equivalent to Nicholas, meaning "Victory (of the) People"|
|Барыс||Борис||Борис||Barys / Boris / Borys||Bulgar||unclear, possibly "wolf", "short" or "snow leopard"|
|Уладзімір||Владимир||Володимир||Uładzimir / Vladimir / Volodymyr||Slavonic||meaning "great/famous lord" ( -мир comes from мѣръ and is not related to міръ or миръ, see also the name's etymology)|
|Пётр, Пятро, Пятрусь||Пётр||Петро||Piotr, Piatro, Piatru / Petr, Pyotr / Petro||Greek||equivalent to Peter|
|Андрэй||Андрей||Андрій||Andrej / Andrei / Andriy||Greek||equivalent to Andrew|
|Аляксандр||Александр||Олександр, Олекса||Alaksandr / Aleksandr / Oleksandr, Oleksa||Greek||equivalent to Alexander|
|Піліп||Филипп||Пилип||Pilip / Filipp / Pylyp||Greek||from Greek Φίλιππος (Phílippos), meaning "fond of horses". Equivalent to Philip.|
|Дзмітры, Зміцер||Дмитрий||Дмитро||Dzmitry, Zmicier / Dmitrii / Dmytro||Greek||from Greek Δημήτριος (Demétrios), meaning "of Demeter"|
|Сяргей||Сергей||Сергій||Siarhiej / Sergei / Serhii||Latin||from the Roman nomen (patrician family name) Sergius, itself from a more ancient Etruscan name|
|Леанід, Лявон||Леонид||Леонід||Leanid, Lavon / Leonid / Leonid||Greek||from Greek Leonidas, meaning "Son of the Lion"|
|Віктар||Виктор||Віктор||Viktar / Viktor / Viktor||Latin||meaning "Conqueror"|
|Георгій||Георгий||Георгiй||Hieorhij / Georgii / Heorhii||Greek||the analogues are Егор (Yegor), Юрий (Yury), equivalent to George|
|Павел, Павал, Паўло||Павел||Павло||Pavał, Paŭło / Pavel / Pavlo||Latin||equivalent to Paul|
|Канстанцін, Кастусь||Константин||Костянтин||Kanstancin, Kastuś / Konstantin / Kostiantyn||Latin||equivalent to Constantine|
|Кірыл, Кірыла||Кирилл||Кирило||Kirył, Kiryła / Kirill / Kyrylo||Greek||equivalent to Cyril|
|Васіль, Базыль||Василий||Василь||Vasiĺ, Bazyl / Vasilii / Vasyl||Greek||equivalent to Basil|
|Раман||Роман||Роман||Raman / Roman / Roman||Latin||-|
|Уладзіслаў||Владислав||Владислав||Uladzisłaŭ / Vladislav / Vladyslav||Slavonic||meaning "Lord of Fame"|
|Вячаслаў||Вячеслав||В'ячеслав||Viačasłaŭ / Viacheslav / Viacheslav||Slavonic||meaning "Growing Fame"|
|Матвей, Мацвей||Матвей||Матвій||Matviej, Macviej / Matvei / Matvii||Hebrew||equivalent to Matthew|
|Міхал, Міхась||Михаил||Михайло||Michał, Michaś / Mikhail / Mykhailo||Hebrew||equivalent to Michael|
|Алег||Олег||Олег||Aleh / Oleg / Oleh||Old Norse||derivative from Scandinavian "Helgi"|
|Ігар||Игорь||Ігор||Ihar / Igor / Ihor||Old Norse||derivative from Scandinavian "Ingvar"|
|Максім||Максим||Максим||Maksim / Maksim / Maksym||Latin||meaning "Greatest"|
|Фёдар||Фёдор||Федiр||Fiodar / Fedor / Fedir||Greek||equivalent to Theodor|
|Захар||Захар||Захар||Zachar / Zakhar / Zakhar||Hebrew||meaning "Remembered”|
|Аляксей||Алексей||Олексій||Alaksej / Aleksei / Oleksii||Greek||meaning "Defender”|
|Макар||Макар||Макар||Makar / Makar / Makar||Greek||meaning "Blessed”|
- The same romanization system is used for all three languages for comparative purposes. For the official romanization systems Of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian, which will be used throughout the rest of the article, see romanization of Russian, romanization of Ukrainian, and romanization of Belarusian, respectively.
|Belarusian variant||Russian variant||Ukrainian variant||Latin-alphabet transliteration
(Belarusian / Russian / Ukrainian)
|Настасся, Наста||Анастасия||Анастасія||Nastassia, Nasta / Anastasiya / Anastasiia||Greek||from Greek Ἀναστασία (Anastasia) meaning "she of the Resurrection"|
|Ангеліна||Ангелина||Ангеліна||Anhelina / Angelina / Anhelina||Greek||From Greek Ἀγγελίνα (Angelina) meaning "messenger"|
|Ганна||Анна||Анна, Ганна||Hanna / Anna / Anna, Hanna||Hebrew||equivalent to Anne or Hannah|
|Алена||Елена, Алёна||Oленa||Alena / Yelena, Alyona / Olena||Greek||equivalent to Helen; in Russian Alyona can be both a pet version of Yelena and a name in its own right|
|Марыя||Мария||Марія||Maryja / Mariya / Mariia||Hebrew||equivalent to Mary|
|Наталля||Наталья, Наталия||Наталя, Наталія||Natalla / Natalya / Natalia, Nataliia||Latin||equivalent to Natalie|
|Вольга||Ольга||Ольга||Volha / Olga / Olha||Old Norse||derivative from Scandinavian Helga|
|Аляксандра||Александра||Олександра||Alaksandra / Aleksandra / Oleksandra||Greek||equivalent to Alexandra|
|Ксенія, Аксана||Ксения||Оксана||Ksienija, Aksana / Kseniya / Oksana||Greek||in Russian, Oksana is a separate name of the same origin|
|Кацярына||Екатерина||Катерина||Kaciaryna / Yekaterina / Kateryna||Greek||equivalent to Catherine|
|Лізавета||Елизавета||Єлизавета||Lizaveta / Yelizaveta / Yelyzaveta||Hebrew||equivalent to Elizabeth|
|Тацяна, Таццяна||Татьяна||Тетяна||Tacciana / Tatyana / Tetiana||Latin||derivative from the Latinized name of the Sabine king Titus Tatius|
|Людміла||Людмила||Людмила||Ludmila / Lyudmila / Liudmyla||Slavonic||meaning "Dear to the People"|
|Святлана||Светлана||Світлана||Sviatłana / Svetlana / Svitlana||Slavonic||meaning "The Shining One"|
|Юлія||Юлия||Юлія||Julija / Yuliya / Juliia||Latin||equivalent to Julia or Julie|
|Вера||Вера||Віра||Vera / Vera / Vira||Slavonic||meaning "Faith"; a calque of the Greek Πίστη|
|Надзея||Надежда||Надія||Nadzeja / Nadezhda / Nadiia||Slavonic||meaning "Hope"; a calque of the Greek Ἐλπίς|
|Любоў||Любовь||Любов||Luboŭ / Lyubov / Liubоv||Slavonic||meaning "Love"; a calque of the Greek Ἀγάπη|
|Соф'я||София, Софья||Софія||Sofja / Sofiya, Sofya / Sofiia||Greek||equivalent to Sophia, meaning "Wisdom".|
Being highly synthetic languages, Russian treats personal names as grammatical nouns and apply the same rules of inflection and derivation to them as for other nouns. So one can create many forms with different degrees of affection and familiarity by adding the corresponding suffixes to the auxiliary stem derived from the original name. The auxiliary stem may be identical to the word stem of the full name (the full name Жанна Zhanna can have the suffixes added directly to the stem Жанн- Zhann- like Жанночка Zhannochka), and most names have the auxiliary stem derived unproductively (the Russian name Михаил Mikhail has the auxiliary stem Миш- Mish-, which produces such name-forms as Миша Misha, Мишенька Mishenka, Мишуня Mishunya etc., not *Михаилушка Mikhailushka).
Unlike English, in which the use of diminutive forms is optional even between close friends, in East Slavonic languages, such forms are obligatory in certain contexts because of the strong T–V distinction: the T-form of address usually requires the short form of the counterpart's name. Also, unlike other languages with prominent use of name suffixes, such as Japanese, the use of derived name forms is mostly limited to the T-addressing: there is no way to make the name more formal than the plain unsuffixed full form, and no suffixes can be added to the family name.
Most commonly, Russian philologists distinguish the following forms of given names:
|Full||Анна (Anna)||full name stem + case ending||-|
|Short||Аня (Anya)||short name stem + II declension ending||most common for informal communication, comparable to Western name-only form of address (Ann, John), or Japanese surname-only, or surname/name -kun|
|Diminutive||Анька (Anka)||short name stem + -к- -k- + II declension ending||expresses familiarity, may be considered rude when used between people who are not close friends. Comparable to English diminutives (Annie, Willy) or Japanese unsuffixed names|
|Affective diminutive||Анечка (Anyechka)||short name stem + -ечк/очк/оньк/усь/юсь/уль/юль- -echk/ochk/on'k/us/yus/ul/yul- + II declension ending||most intimate and affectionate form, comparable to German diminutives (Ännchen) or Japanese -chan suffixes|
The "short name" (Russian: краткое имя kratkoye imya), historically also "half-name" (Russian: полуимя poluimya), is the simplest and most common name derivative. Bearing no suffix, it is produced suppletively and always has the declension noun ending for both males and females, thus making short forms of certain unisex names indistinguishable: for example, Sasha (Russian: Саша) is the short name for both the masculine name Aleksandr (Alexander) and the feminine form Aleksandra (Alexandra).
Some names, such as Zhanna (Jeana) and Mark have no short forms, and others may have two (or more) different forms. In the latter case, one form is usually more informal than the other.
|Full name (Russian names in Cyrillic script)||Full name (Latin script)||Short forms (Cyrillic)||Short forms (Latin)|
|Александр||Aleksandr (m)||Саша, Саня, Шура, ukr. Сашко, Лесь||Sasha, Sanya, Shura, ukr. Sashko, Les|
|Александра||Aleksandra (f)||Саша, Шура, ukr. Леся||Sasha, Shura, ukr. Lesia|
|Алексей||Aleksey (m)||Алёша, Лёша||Alyosha, Lyosha|
|Анастасия||Anastasia (f)||Настя, Стася||Nastya, Stasya (rare)|
|Андрей||Andrey (m)||Андрюша, Дюша, Андря||Andryusha, Dyusha, Andrya (rare)|
|Анна||Anna (f)||Аня, Анюта, Нюта, Нюша||Anya, Anyuta, Nyuta, Nyusha|
|Даниил||Daniil (m)||Данила, Даня||Danila, Danya|
|Дмитрий||Dmitry (m)||Дима, Митя||Dima, Mitya|
|Георгий||Georgy (m)||Гоша, Жора||Gosha, Zhora|
|Кирилл||Kirill (m)||Кира, Киря||Kira, Kirya|
|Лариса||Larisa (f)||Лара, Лёля||Lara, Lyolya (rare)|
|Людмила||Lyudmila (f)||Люда, Люся, Мила||Lyuda, Lyusya, Mila (rare)|
|Мария||Mariya (f)||Маша, Маня, Маруся, Машуля, Машенька, Марийка, Маняша, Марічка||Masha, Manya, Marusya, Mashulya, Mashеnka, Mariyka, Manyasha (rare), Marichka (ukr.)|
|Павел||Pavel (m)||Паша, Павлик||Pasha, Pavlik|
|Полина||Polina (f)||Поля, Лина||Polya, Lina (rare)|
|София||Sofia, Sofya (f)||Соня, Софа||Sonya, Sofa|
|Светлана||Svetlana (f)||Света, Лана||Sveta, Lana|
|Станислав||Stanislav (m)||Стас||Stas, Stanko|
|Вадим||Vadim (m)||Вадик, Дима||Vadik, Dima (rare)|
|Валентин / Валентина||Valentin (m) / Valentina (f)||Валя||Valya|
|Владимир||Vladimir (m)||Вова, Володя||Vova, Volodya|
|Владислав, Владислава||Vladislav (m), Vladislava (f)||Влад, Влада||Vlad, Vlada|
|Елена||Yelena (f)||Лена, Алёна||Lena, Alyona|
|Евгений / Евгения||Yevgeniy (m) / Yevgeniya (f)||Женя||Zhenya|
Diminutive forms are produced from the "short name" by means of various suffixes; for example, Михаил Mikhail (full) – Миша Misha (short) – Мишенька Mishenka (affectionate) – Мишка Mishka (colloquial). If no "short name" exists, then diminutive forms are produced from the full form of the respective first name; for example, Марина Marina (full) – Мариночка Marinochka (affectionate) – Маринка Marinka (colloquial). Unlike the full name, a diminutive name carries a particular emotional attitude and may be unacceptable in certain contexts. Depending on the nature of the attitude, diminutive name forms can be subdivided into three broad groups: affectionate, familiar, and slang.
Typically formed by suffixes -еньк- (-yenk-), -оньк- (-onk-), -ечк- (-yechk-), -ушк (-ushk), as illustrated by the examples below. It generally emphasises a tender, affectionate attitude and is roughly analogous to German suffixes -chen, -lein, Japanese -chan and -tan and affectionate name-derived nicknames in other languages. It is often used to address children or intimate friends.
Within a more official context, this form may be combined with the honorific plural to address a younger female colleague.
|Full form||Short form||Diminutive form|
Colloquial diminutives are derived from short names by the -к- ("-k-") suffix. Expressing a highly familiar attitude, the use may be considered rude or even pejorative outside a friendly context.
|Full form||Short form||Colloquial diminutive form|
Slang forms exist for male names and, since a few decades ago, female names. They are formed with the suffixes -ян (-yan), -он (-on), and -ок/ёк (-ok/yok). The suffixes give the sense of "male brotherhood" that was once expressed by the patronymic-only form of address in the Soviet Union. Originating in criminal communities, such forms came into wide usage in Russia in the 1990s.
|Full form||Short form||Slang form|
Early Soviet Union
During the days of the October Revolution, as part of the campaign to rid Russia of bourgeois culture, there was a drive to invent new, revolutionary names. As a result, many Soviet children were given atypical names, often being acronyms/initialisms besides many other names above.
|Name (Cyrillic)||Name (Latin)||Origin||Comments|
|Вил, Вилен, Владлен, Владлена||Vil, Vilen, Vladlen (m) / Vladlene (f)||Владимир Ильич Ленин (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin)||-|
|Мэл(c)||Mel(s)||Маркс, Энгельс, Ленин (и Сталин) (Marx, Engels, Lenin (and Stalin))||-|
|Баррикада||Barrikada||-||"Barricade" - refers to the revolutionary activity|
|Ревмир, Ревмира||Revmir (m) / Revmira (f)||Революция мира (Revolyutsiya mira)||Means "The World Revolution"|
|Гертруда||Gertruda||Герой труда (Geroy truda)||Means "The Hero of Labour"|
|Марлен||Marlen||Маркс и Ленин (Marx and Lenin)||-|
|Стэн||Sten||Сталин и Энгельс (Stalin and Engels)||-|
|Ким||Kim||Коммунистический интернационал молодёжи (Kommunistichesky Internatsional Molodyozhi)||Means "Young Communist International"|
The patronymic name is based on the first name of the father and is written in all legal and identity documents. If used with the first name, the patronymic always follows it.
The patronymic name is obligatory when addressing a person in businesslike and respectful or of higher social stance and/or on special occasions such as business meetings; for example, when a pupil addresses a teacher, they are obliged to use both first and patronymic names – Russian: Марья Ивановна, могу я спросить..., lit. 'Marya Ivanovna, may I ask...'. Not using patronymic names in such situations is considered offensive.
|Name||Masculine patronym||Feminine patronym|
The patronymic is formed by a combination of the father's name and suffixes. The suffix is -ович (-ovich) for a son, -овна (-ovna) – for a daughter. For example, if the father's name was Иван (Ivan), the patronymic will be Иванович (Ivanovich) for a son and Ивановна (Ivanovna) for a daughter.
If the suffix is being appended to a name ending in a й ("y") or a soft consonant, the initial o in the suffixes -ович (-ovich) and -овна (-ovna) becomes a е ("ye") and the suffixes change to -евич (-yevich) and -евна (-yevna). For example, if the father is Дмитрий (Dmitry), the patronymic is Дмитриевич (Dmitrievich) for a son and Дмитриевна (Dmitrievna) for a daughter. It is not Дмитрович (Dmitrovich) or Дмитровна (Dmitrovna) because the name Дмитрий (Dmitry) ends on "й" ("y");
For some names ending in a vowel, the suffix is -ич (-ich) for a son and -ична (-ichna) or -инична (-inichna) for a daughter; for example, Фока Foka (father's first name) – Фокич Fokich (male patronymic) – Фокична Fokichna (female patronymic); Кузьма Kuzma (father's first name) – Кузьмич Kuzmich (male patronymic) – Кузьминична Kuzminichna (female patronymic).
In the Middle Ages Russian patronymic was defined instead of a surname and consisted: the Name of the father + a suffix + the son (word). An example: the full Russian name looked like: Athanasius (name) + Nikitin son (patronymic). Later the word the son was not added.
Historical Russian naming conventions did not include surnames. A person's name included that of his father: e.g. Иван Петров сын (Ivan Petrov syn) which means "Ivan, son of Peter". That is the origin of most Russian -ov surnames.
Modern -vich- patronyms were originally a feature of the royal dynasty (Рюриковичи, Ruerikovichi, Rurikids, which makes the Russian patronym in its original meaning being similar a little to German von. From the 17th century, the second name with suffix -вич (-vich) was the privilege given by the tsar to commoners. For example, in 1610, Tsar Vasili IV gave to the Stroganovs, who were merchants, the privilege to use patronyms. As a tribute for developing the salt industry in Siberia, Pyotr Stroganov and all his issues were allowed to have a name with -vich. The tsar wrote in the chart dated on 29 May, "... to write him with vich, to try [him] in Moscow only, not to fee [him] by other fees, not to kiss a cross by himself [which means not to swear during any processions]" In the 18th century, it was the family of merchants to have patronyms. By the 19th century, the -ovich form eventually became the default form of a patronymic.
Everyone in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus is supposed to have a tripartite name. Single mothers may give their children any patronym, and this does not have any legal consequences. Foreigners who adopt Russian citizenship are exempted from having a patronym. Now, an adult person is entitled to change patronyms if necessary, such as to alienate themselves from the biological father (or to show respect for the adopted one) as well as to decide the same for an underage child.
Family names are generally used like in English.
Derivation and meaning
In Russian, some common suffixes are -ов (-ov), -ев (-yev), meaning "belonging to" or "of the clan of/descendant of", e.g. Petrov = of the clan of/descendant of Petr (Peter), usually used for patronymic surnames or -ский (-sky), an adjectival form meaning "associated with" and usually used for toponymic surnames. Historically toponymic surnames may have been granted as a token of nobility; for example, the princely surname Shuysky is indicative of the princedom based on the ownership of Shuya. Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski, had the victory title 'Tavricheski' as part of his surname granted to him for the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Empire.
In the 19th and the early 20th centuries, -off was a common transliteration of -ov for Russian family names in foreign languages such as French and German (like for the Smirnoff and the Davidoff brands).
Surnames of Ukrainian and Belarusian origin use the suffixes -ко (-ko), -ук (-uk), and -ич (-ych). For example, the family name Писаренко (Pisarenko) is derived from the word for a scribe, and Ковальчук (Kovalchuk) refers to a smith.
Less often, some versions of family names will have no suffix, e.g. Lebed, meaning swan, and Zhuk, meaning beetle (but see also Lebedev and Zhukov).
Russian languages are synthetic languages and have grammatical cases and grammatical gender. Unlike analytic languages like English, which use prepositions ("to", "at", "on" etc.) to show the links and relations between words in a sentence, Russian suffixes are used much more broadly than prepositions. Words need the help of some suffix to integrate them into the sentence and to build a grammatically correct sentence. That includes names, unlike in German. Family names are declined based on the Russian case system.
The surnames that originally are short (-ov, -ev, -in) or full (-iy/-oy/-yy) Russian adjectives, have different forms depending on gender: male forms -ov, -ev, -in and -iy/-oy/-yy correspond to female forms -ova, -eva, -ina and -aya, respectively. For example, the wife of Борис Ельцин (Boris Yel'tsin) was Наина Ельцина (Naina Yel'tsina); the wife of Leo Tolstoy was Sophia Tolstaya, etc. All other, i.e. non-adjectival, surnames stay the same for both genders (including surnames ending with -енко (-yenko), -ич (-ich) etc.), unlike in many West Slavic languages, where the non-adjectival surname of men corresponds to derivative feminine adjectival surname (Novák → Nováková). Note the difference between patronymics and surnames ending with -ich: surnames are the same for males and females, but patronymics are gender-dependent (for example, Ivan Petrovich Mirovich and Anna Petrovna Mirovich)
This dependence of grammatical gender of adjectival surname on the gender of its owner is not considered to be changing the surname (compare the equivalent rule in Polish, for example). The correct transliteration of such feminine surnames in English is debated: the names technically should be in their original form, but they sometimes appear in the masculine form.
The example of Иванов (Ivanov), a family name, will be used:
|Example of question||Masculine form||Feminine form|
|Locative (Prepositional)||About whom?||Иванове||Ivanove||Ивановой||Ivanovoy|
The surnames which are not grammatically adjectives (Zhuk, Gogol, Barchuk, Kupala etc.) declines in cases and numbers as the corresponding common noun. The exclusion is when a woman has a surname which is grammatically a noun of masculine gender; in such case, the surname is not declined. For example, Ivan and Anna Zhuk in dative case ("to whom?") would be: Ивану Жуку (Ivanu Zhuku), but Анне Жук (Anne Zhuk).
Family names are generally inherited from one's parents. In Russian tradition the surname is inherited from the father. As in English, on marriage, women usually adopt the surname of the husband; the opposite, when the husband adopt the maiden surname of his wife, very rarely occurs. Rarely, both spouses keep their pre-marriage family names. The fourth, very rare but still legal way is the taking a double surname; for example, in marriage of Ivanov (he) and Petrovskaya (she), the spouses may adopt the family name Ivanov-Petrovsky and Ivanova-Petrovskaya, correspondingly. The woman could have a double surname in marriage if her father had not of successors of a masculine gender.
Reductions of Russian patronymic or name in a business and valid context it is inadmissible in translating and the use in a foreign language.
Russification of foreign names
By law, foreign persons who adopt Russian citizenship are allowed to have no patronymic. Some adopt non-Russian patronymics as well. For example, the Russian politician Irina Hakamada's patronym is Муцуовна (Mutsuovna) because her Japanese father's given name was Mutsuo. The ethnicity of origin generally remains recognizable in Russified names.
Bruno Pontecorvo, after he emigrated to the Soviet Union, was known as Бруно Максимович Понтекорво (Bruno Maximovich Pontekorvo) in the Russian scientific community, as his father's given name was Massimo (corresponding to Russian Максим (Maksim)). His sons have been known by names Джиль Брунович Понтекорво (Gigl Brunovich Pontecorvo), Антонио Брунович Понтекорво (Antonio Brunovich Pontecorvo) and Тито Брунович Понтекорво (Tito Brunovich Pontekorvo).
Such conversion of foreign names is unofficial and often optional.
Some Turkic languages also use patronymics, with the Turkic word meaning 'son' or 'daughter'. The languages were official in the countries in the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union.
For example, Kazakh ұлы (uly; transcribed into Latin script as -uly, as in Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev), Turkmen uly (as in Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow), or Azeri оглы/оғлу (oglu) (as in Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev); Kazakh қызы (transcribed into Latin script as -qyzy, as in Dariga Nursultanqyzy Nazarbayeva). Such Turkic patronymics were officially allowed in the Soviet Union.
Some surnames in those languages have been Russified since the 19th century: the surname of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev has a Russian "-yev" suffix, which literally means "of Nazar-bay" (in which "bay" is a Turkic native noble Ranks of nobility: compare Turkish "bey", Uzbek "beg", and Kyrghyz "bek"). The frequency of such Russification varies greatly by country. These surnames can concern not only patrimonial aristocracy but also to their servants and to people is feudal dependent on them. As all patrimonial aristocracy has been exterminated in the Soviet reprisals.[]
Forms of address
- In some social groups for informal communication, only the first name is used: Иван Ivan. Even more informally, diminutives (several can be formed from one name) are often used.
- In rural areas, the patronymic name alone (Петрович Petrovich, Ивановна Ivanovna) is used by old people among themselves, but young people sometimes use the form for irony. Also, younger people can use the form for much older people for both respect and informality. For example, a much younger man with a very good relationship with his elder colleague may use a patronymic and the "ty" form, but using the first name alone is generally inappropriate. Using a diminutive (like in most informal communication) would nearly always be very impolite.
- The family name alone (Петров, Petrov) is not used in formal communications. It is commonly used by school teachers to address their pupils, children's age. Informally, Russians are starting to call people by their surnames alone for irony.
- the form "first name + patronymic" (for instance, Иван Иванович, Ivan Ivanovich):
- is the feature of official communication (for instance, students in schools and universities call their teachers in the form of "first name + patronymic" only);
- may convey the speaker's respect for the recipient. Historically, patronymics were reserved for the royal dynasty (Рюриковичи, Ryurikovichi)
- The full three-name form (for instance, Иван Иванович Петров Ivan Ivanovich Petrov) is used mostly for official documents. Everyone in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus is supposed to have three names. This form is also used in all formal occasions and for introducing oneself to a person who is likely to write down the full name, like a police officer. Then, the family name is often placed first (Петров Иван Иванович, Petrov Ivan Ivanovich) - that is not norm but is often used in modern office-work.
The choice of addressing format is closely linked to the choice of second-person pronoun. Russian language distinguishes:
- formal вы (vy, "you"); respectful Вы ("Vy", "You") may be capitalized in formal correspondence, but plural вы ("vy", "you") is not.
- informal ты (ty, "you", "thou" in Early Modern English);
Before the beginning of 18 centurie ты (ty) = to English "you", вы (vy) was used only for plural.
Other than the use of patronymics, Russian forms of address in Russian are very similar to English ones.
Also, the meaning of the form of address strongly depends on the choice of a V-T form:
|Vy or ty||Form||Male example||Female example||Use|
|Using "Vy"||Full three-name form||Anatoliy Pavlovich Ivanov||Varvara Mikhailovna Kuznetsova||Official documents, very formal occasions (when necessary)|
|First name + patronymic||Anatoliy Pavlovich||Varvara Mikhailovna||General formal or respectful form|
|Surname||Ivanov||Kuznetsova||Formal. Often used by a person of a higher social position (like a teacher talking to a student)|
|Informal first name + informal patronymic||Tol' Palych||Varvara Mikhalna||Respectful but less formal|
|Full first name||Anatoliy||Varvara|
|Diminutive first name||Tolya||Varya||Friendly but still somewhat formal|
|Affectionate first name||Varechka||Used almost exclusively towards women, showing fondness but still keeping some formality (like to a younger colleague)|
|Using "Ty"||First name + patronymic||Anatoliy Pavlovich||Varvara Mikhailovna||Can be used between friends on semi-formal occasions or ironically|
|Informal patronymic||Palych||Mikhalna||Combining familiarity and respect|
|Surname||Ivanov||Kuznetsova||Similar in use to a "vy" form but less formal|
|Full first name||Anatoliy||Varvara||Friendly but with a tone of formality. If the name has no diminutive form (Yegor), also used informally|
|Diminutive first name||Tolia||Varya||General informal form|
|Colloquial first name||Tolik||Var'ka||Very familiar form|
|Slang first name||Tolyan||Varyukha|
|Affectionate first name||Tolen'ka||Varechka||Tender, affectionate form|
Using a "ty" form with a person who dislikes it or on inappropriate occasions can be an insult, especially the surname alone.
Other Eastern Slavic languages use the same adjectives of their literal translation if they differ from Russian analogue. All Eastern Slavic languages are synthetic languages, and grammatical genders are used. Thus, the suffix of an adjective changes with the sex of the recipient.
In Russian, adjectives before names are generally restricted to written forms of communication. Adjectives like Любимый / Любимая (lyubimiy / lyubimaya, "beloved") and Милый / Милая (miliy / milaya, "sweetheart") are informal, and Уважаемый / Уважаемая (uvazhayemiy / uvazhayemaya, literally "respected") is highly formal. Some adjectives, like Дорогой / Дорогая (dorogoy / dorogaya, "dear"), can be used in both formal and informal letters.
- List of surnames in Russia
- Romanization of Russian
- Russian personal name
- Slavic names
- Slavic surnames
- Ukrainian name
- "Как обращаться к человеку в русскоязычной среде" [How to address a person in Russian community] (in Russian). Retrieved 24 September 2020.
- писать его с вичем, судить только в Москве, излишних пошлин с товаров не брать, креста самому не целовать (in Russian). Собр. Гос. Грам. II, № 196.
- Federal Law of the Russian Federation on Acts of Civil Statements, Clauses: 58, 59.
- Family Code of the Russian Federation, Article 58.2 "A child's patronym is formed from the father's [first] name unless otherwise [decreed by] national custom".
- In Russian
- "Лицо русской национальности". www.kommersant.ru (in Russian). 26 September 2005. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
- "Генофонд :: Занимательная журналистика". 31 December 2010. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
- "Генофонд :: Занимательная журналистика". 31 December 2010. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
- "Генофонд :: Занимательная журналистика". 13 March 2012. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
- Балановская Е. В., Соловьева Д. С., Балановский О. П. и др. «Фамильные портреты» пяти русских регионов[permanent dead link] / Медицинская генетика. 2005.No. 1. С. 2–10.
- "Известия Науки - ФАМИЛИИ В РОЛИ ГЕНЕТИЧЕСКИХ МАРКЕРОВ". 10 June 2011. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
- "Производные и уменьшительно-ласкательные формы имён". proizvodnye.ru. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
- Таблицы и рисунки к статье «Фамильные портреты» пяти русских регионов[permanent dead link]
- In English
- "Paul Goldschmidt's Dictionary of Russian Names - Grammar". heraldry.sca.org. Retrieved 24 October 2021.