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Thread: Russian Names

  1. #1
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    Russian Names

    Hi, I am currently researching Russian/Soviet history for a novel I am writing. I would like some help with creating Russian names for my characters.

    I have read on one website that names are constructed in 3 parts, the forename (imya), the patronymic (otchestvo), and the family name (familya).

    I can find forenames and surnames using searches but I am not sure about the patronymic part. Also, are there any constrictions to what names can be placed with what? i.e Feminine and Masuline etc?

    Many Thanks
    David

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Patronymic is constructed from father's name by (roughly) adding -ovich or -evich for men and -ovna or -evna for women. So you have to select for your hero a sex and a name for his/her father. Then ask here and you will be provided with a patronymic.

    Also remember that there is complicated etiquette about using patronymics.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  3. #3
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    Thanks it-ogo,

    Ok, just to be a bit of a pain, can I also request the initials of the names used? I will give the initials in English and if you could translate them as necessary that would be brilliant.

    So:
    Character 1- Sex: Male, Forename: D, Surname: G
    Character 2- Sex: Female, Forename: K, Surname: T
    Character 3- Sex: Male, Forename: R, Surname: M
    Character 4- Sex: Male, Forename: L, Surname: G (same as character 1)
    Character 5- Sex: Female, Forename: J, Surname: B

    Hope that all makes sense!

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    No, that makes no sense.

    Again:
    To produce Character's patronymic I need:
    1)Character's sex
    2)First name of Character's father. Full spelling of actual name is needed.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1.zer0 View Post
    Thanks it-ogo,

    Character 1- Sex: Male, Forename: D, Surname: G
    Character 2- Sex: Female, Forename: K, Surname: T
    Character 3- Sex: Male, Forename: R, Surname: M
    Character 4- Sex: Male, Forename: L, Surname: G (same as character 1)
    Character 5- Sex: Female, Forename: J, Surname: B

    Hope that all makes sense!
    E.g.

    1) Dmitriy Gromov (Дмитрий Громов); Denis Gavrilov (Денис Гаврилов)

    2) Katerina Tonkova (Катерина Тонкова); Kseniya Tarasova (Ксения Тарасова)

    3) Roman Maksimov (Роман Максимов); Rashid Makhmudov (Рашид Махмудов), Tatar / Muslim name

    4) Leonid Gromov (Леонид Громов); Lev Gavrilov (Лев Гаврилов)

    5) J isn't a Russian letter and has no direct match. Christian names starting from J in English may start from different letters in Russian:

    John = Ivan (Иван), James = Yakov (Яков), Julia = Yuliya (Юлия).

    Yulia Baranova (Юлия Баранова) may fit your needs.

  6. #6
    Новичок Pisashka's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I think, if you give few names with short descriptions of every character, then we can create or correct those names for you.
    Some example: a girl - Вера Ивановна Попова (full name: where 1st name, middle name, family name); or the same, but you use initials for 1st and middle names - В.И.Попова; or shorter - В. Попова, just initial for 1st name. You can use only 1st name - Вера, as well.
    Everything is the same, as in English. The difference is with the middle name. The middle name is always the name of the father of the person. It doesn't matter if it is female or male. Is it funny?
    Great collection of books in Russian to help study language.

  7. #7
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    Kudesnik that's perfect. Just to confirm are them names the forename and patronym or first and family name? How would I refer to them in my novel? fullname/patronym/forename?

    Also, can I mix and match the examples you have given? E.g. for the first example you gave, Dmitriy Gavrilov.

    Just to note, I don't require the russian alphabet lettering, just English version. It's difficult enough to be authentic yet readable! lol

  8. #8
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    1.zer0,

    all these names are first name + family name. Sure you can mix and match them, the only exception is a Muslim example above (mixing a Russian name and a Muslim surname is possible in mixed families but not common). Also make sure you differentiate male (-ov, -in) and female (-ova, -ina) forms.

    Patronimic names are derived from father's name with a suffix (-ovich or -evich), e.g. Dmitriy Leonidovich Gromov, Denis L'vovich Garanin, Yulia Yakovlevna Baranova. "First name + patronimic name" form is used in formal situations and when you address elder people.

    A single patronimic name can be used informally among friends or colleagues, esp. to elder people, sometimes in a colloquial form, Mikhalych instead of Mikhailovich, Leonidych instead of Leonidovich ("You see, Mikhalych, the matter is that...")

  9. #9
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    Thanks Kudesnik.

    It's getting a little complicated for my liking!

    To maybe help me get my head around it can you explain these Russians for me and how there name is constructed (i.e. what is patronym and what is surname):

    Joseph Stalin
    Anna Kournikova
    Vasili Zaitsev
    Andrey Arshavin

    Are they Anglicised names? Or are they forename/surname or forename/patronym?

    I want to be able to use the Russian names in as much of an English way as possible (for readers to understand and follow) but keep some Russian authenticism. So, for example, "Ah Joseph how nice to see you" or "Pleased to meet you Mr Stalin"

    Is this possible?

  10. #10
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    Joseph Stalin
    Anna Kournikova
    Vasili Zaitsev
    Andrey Arshavin

    Again, no patronymics here. These are first names + surnames.

    In fact, it's all very simple. Every Russian person has:
    1) a first name (the one parents give him or her at birth),
    2) a patronymic (which is formed from the child's father's name)
    and 3) a surname (which is the same for all members of the family).

    You can easily see that 1) and 3) are the same as in any English speaking country. Patronymics can be viewed as middle names - though they are not random or names of choice. Patronymic is kind of a tribute to a child's father.
    For example, if a child's father's name is Vladimir, the child's patronymic will be "Vladimirovich" for a boy and "Vladimirovna" for a girl, and can't be anything else. And every Russian will know upon meeting this person in the future that his or hers father was named Vladimir.

    About most common usage:
    Patronymics are used after first names only (NEVER after surnames). [Name + Patronymic] is a formal and polite way of addressing a person (a stranger, an older person, a boss, etc.). A full set [Name + Patronymic + Surname] is common in documents.

    Friends or relatives usually use first names to address each other. That's it in a nutshell.

  11. #11
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    That's made it clearer gRomoZeka. I think I have enough info now.

    Thanks to all for their help

  12. #12
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    Regarding Joseph Stalin, Joseph is an Anglicized name. In Russian, first name + patronimic name + surname was:

    Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin (so, his father's name was Vissarion).

    I guess only Churchill and Roosevelt would call him "Mr Stalin", "comrade Stalin" or "tovarishtch Stalin" would be more proper.

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1.zer0 View Post
    Joseph Stalin
    Anna Kournikova
    Vasili Zaitsev
    Andrey Arshavin
    Maybe this will help.
    Joseph Stalin had a patronymic name Vissarionovich (Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin) his father's name was Vissarion.

    There is goes:
    Anna Sergeevna Kournikova (Her father's name was Sergey)
    Vasili Grigoryevich Zaitsev (His father's name was Grigoriy)
    Andrey Sergeevich Arshavin (His father's name was also Sergey)
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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