Slavic name suffixes

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A Slavic name suffix is a common way of forming patronymics, family names, and pet names in the Slavic languages (also called the Slavonic languages). Many, if not most, Slavic last names are formed by adding possessive and other suffixes to given names and other words. Most Slavic surnames have suffixes which are found in varying degrees over the different nations. Some surnames are not formed in this way, including names of non-Slavic origin.

Note: the following list does not take regional spelling variations into account.

  • -ov / -ev (-ova/-eva): Russia, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia (especially frequent in Vojvodina), Croatia (rare) (sometimes as -iv in Ukraine) and Czechoslovakia (feminine forms only); this has been adopted by many non-Slavic peoples of Central Asia who are or have been under Russian rule, such as the Tatars, Chechens, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, etc. Note that -ev is the soft form of -ov, found after palatalized consonants or sibilants. The suffix -off comes from the French transliteration of -ov, based on the Muscovite pronunciation.
  • -sky (-ska), -ski (-ska), -skiy (-skaya): Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Czech Republic (-ský (-ská)), Slovakia (-ský/-sky (-ská/-ska)), Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia (especially in Vojvodina), Croatia.
  • Note that these first two can be combined: -ovsky (-ovska), -owski (-owska), -ovskiy (-ovskaya): Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia.
  • -ić -vić -ović -ič -vič -ovič -ich, -vich, -vych, -ovich, -owicz/-ewicz: Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Republic of Macedonia (rare), occasionally Bulgaria. Yugoslav ex.: Petrović, means Petar's son. In Russia, where patronyms are used, a person may have two -(ov)ich names in a row; first the patronym, then the family name (see Shostakovich).
  • -in (-ina): Russia, Serbia (especially in Vojvodina), Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia (rare)
  • -ko: Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus.
  • -nko, -enko: of Ukrainian origin in Ukraine, Belarus.
  • -enkov (-enkova): of Ukrainian origin in Ukraine, Belarus, also common in Russia and Bulgaria.
  • -ak/-ek/-ik (-akova/-ekova/-ikova): Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, very rarely[citation needed] in Bulgaria.
  • -uk, -yuk: Ukraine
  • -chuk: Ukraine, Belarus; in Poland as -czyk
  • -ac/-ec: Slovenia and Croatia (both versions), Serbia (only -ac), Czech Republic and Slovakia (only -ec), Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine (as ец, -ets).

An example using an occupation is koval or kowal, which means blacksmith. It is the root of the names Kowalsky, Kowalchuk, Kowalczyk, Kovalenko, Kovalyov, and Kovalev. All mean "descendant of a blacksmith".

The given name Petr or Petro (equivalent to Peter) can become Petrov, Petriv, Petriw, Petrovsky, Petrovich, and Petric. All mean "descendant of Peter". This is similar to the use of "-son" or "-sen" in Germanic languages.

In East Slavic languages (Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, and Ukrainian) the same system of name suffixes can be used to express several meanings. One of the most common is the patronymic. Instead of a secondary "middle" given name, people identify themselves with their given and family name and patronymic, a name based on their father's given name. If a man gives his full name as Boris Vladimirovich Kuznetsov, then his father's name must have been Vladimir: Vladimirovich in this case literally means "Vladimir's son".

Similarly, suffixes can be attached to express affection or informality (in linguistics, called a diminutive). For example, calling a boy named Ivan "Ivanko" or Yurii "Yurko" expresses that he is familiar to you. This is the same as switching John to "Johnny" and George to "Georgie".

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