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Thread: Diminutives and name levels

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    Diminutives and name levels

    Hi all,

    I am new to the forum. I travelled to Russia in 1998, and sadly have not been back since. However, it a wonderful experience. Now I am a writer and am trying to do some research on Russian names for an upcoming book.

    I've tried to piece together what I think is correct, but would very much welcome corrections if I have got it wrong. Please see below.

    1. Dmitri - main character; male born 1980, Novosibirsk. Has lived in UK since 2000 - i.e. 18 years. Nickname - Mitya - only his sister and possibly a close friend calls him this.
    2. Sister - Tatiana - Goes by Tanya in the UK to most people. Dmitri thinks of her as Tanya, but occasionally calls her Tanusha in conversation. If he's mad at her, would call her [Tanya?]
    3. Fiancee parents - he always thinks and refers to them by name + patronymic.
    4. Friend - Nicolai (close friend but about 10 years older) - refers to him as Kolya. If he's introducing him to a british person, would he just use Kolya or Nicolai + patronymic?
    5. Mother - in conversation with British people he just refers to her as Marina.

    If any of this is wrong, I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know. I will have some more questions over the next month, so I hope you don't mind my posting them.

    Thanks.
    Calandra

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин diogen_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calandra View Post
    Hi all,
    2. Sister - Tatiana - Goes by Tanya in the UK to most people. Dmitri thinks of her as Tanya, but occasionally calls her Tanusha in conversation. If he's mad at her, would call her [Tanya?]
    5. Mother - in conversation with British people he just refers to her as Marina.
    When Dmitri is mad he should call her Tan'ka (Танька), Taniukha (Танюха), or (formally) Tatiana depending on the context , otherwise (with Tanya or Tanusha) he would sound like a wuss. Mothers are normally called as "mama" (мама) by their sons and almost never by their first names. Hope it helps.

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    Thank you very much, Diogen_. That is very helpful. Would the males have other diminutives for each other if they were talking/ arguing i.e. besides Mitya/Kolya?

    All best,
    Calandra

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    Brother-to-sister 'Tanya' is neutral (equal-to-equal), so it can be used with anger/love and this is ok. Emotions are expressed by voice tone in this case.
    Anger can be different. He also can use formal 'Tatyana' to express cold anger: "We are gonna to have serious conversation, Tatyana!"
    But also he can use mentioned above 'tan'ka'/'taniukha' - extra-diminutives - to imply that he wants to talk from position of older / more significant person: "You are such a pathetic fool, Tan'ka!"

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    Почтенный гражданин diogen_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calandra View Post
    Thank you very much, Diogen_. That is very helpful. Would the males have other diminutives for each other if they were talking/ arguing i.e. besides Mitya/Kolya?

    All best,
    Calandra
    Yes. Dima (Дима) or Dimka (Димка) are way more common diminutives for Dmitri these days. As for Nikolai you can use Kol'ka (Колька) together (interchangeably) with Kolya, the former sounds a bit more informal and can also be used while arguing to express impatience, irritation, annoyance or something like that.
    Calandra, you're welcome. Feel free to ask any questions.

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    'Kolyan (Колян)' and 'Diman (Диман)' are also used widely.

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