Немно́го о языке́ 1.6 Хозя́ева: Как их зову́т?


Упражне́ние 1

Below, you will find a list of the 10 most common Russian first names given to newborns in Moscow in 2011. The list is in alphabetic order. Sound out the names and decide whether they should be on the list of names for a ма́льчик or a де́вочка.

Алекса́ндр ма́льчик де́вочка
Анастаси́я ма́льчик де́вочка
А́нна ма́льчик де́вочка
Артём ма́льчик де́вочка
Да́рья ма́льчик де́вочка
Дми́трий ма́льчик де́вочка
Ива́н ма́льчик де́вочка
Макси́м ма́льчик де́вочка
Мари́я ма́льчик де́вочка
Со́фья ма́льчик де́вочка

The names above, like Алекса́ндр or Мари́я, are official names--they are what would appear on one’s birth certificate. However, in the same way that someone named David in English can be called Dave or Davey, these children are probably often called by diminutive or nickname versions of their names. Sometimes one name can have more than one diminutive.

Алекса́ндр Са́ша, Шу́ра
Анастаси́я На́стя
А́нна А́ня
Артём Тёма
Да́рья Да́ша
Дми́трий Ди́ма, Ми́тя
Ива́н Ва́ня
Макси́м Макс
Мари́я Ма́ша
Со́фья Со́ня

What do you notice about the ending of almost all of the diminutive names in Russian?


When these children get a bit older and start elementary school, their teachers may occasionally call them by their last names. Many Russian male last names end in –ов, –ев or –ин, and female ones end in –ова, –ева or –ина. In this activity we will work on these types of last names. 

Упражне́ние 2

Listen to the audio to get the first name of the person and then mouse over the form of the last name that matches it in gender. Note that Russian last names are sometimes extensions of first names, but they can also come from animal names, professions or place names.

male silhouette female silhouette Etymology
Кузнецо́в Кузнецо́ва кузне́ц = smith, blacksmith
Ивано́в Ивано́ва from name Ива́н
Попо́в Попо́ва поп = priest (the village priests in Eastern Christianity were allowed to marry)
Соколо́в Соколо́ва со́кол = falcon
Козло́в Козло́ва козёл = goat
Во́лков Во́лкова волк = wolf
Соловьёв Соловьёва солове́й = nightingale
За́йцев За́йцева за́яц = rabbit
Ильи́н Ильина́ from the first name Илья́ = Elijah
Ники́тин Ники́тина from the first male name Ники́та

и́мя и о́тчество

If you look back at our host families, note that each of them appears to have “three names”--a first name, a last name, and one more in the middle. The one in the middle is called a patronymic о́тчество.

When young people finish their education and enter the adult world of the work place and public life, then they will most likely be addressed in formal situations by their first name (и́мя) and the patronymic (о́тчество), a form of the father's name.  We've met one Russian character so far whose о́тчество we know: Ната́лья Миха́йловна За́йцева. From Миха́йловна we know that her father was named Михаи́л.  If she has a brother, his name might be:  Серге́й Миха́йлович За́йцев.

Упражне́ние 3

Look at the first names below and complete the form of the patronymic, adding –вич for males, and –вна for females. The first two have been done for you.

фами́лия и́мя
Миха́йлов Андре́й Анто́новна Анто́нович
Миха́йлова Ни́на Алекса́ндровна Алекса́ндрович
Никола́ев Влади́мир Андре́евна Андре́евич
Га́лкин Серге́й Петро́вна Петро́вич
Никола́ева А́нна Ива́новна Ива́нович
Га́лкина Ната́лья Ива́новна Ива́нович
Миха́йлова Лари́са Анто́новна Анто́нович
Ивано́ва Тама́ра Андре́евна Андре́евич
Ивано́в Михаи́л Петро́вна Петро́вич

Look through the list again, and see if you can find any possible siblings or spouses.

Students sometimes ask if they can “have” an и́мя and о́тчество and be addressed that way. The и́мя and о́тчество form for formal address is used only among Russians and other citizens of the Russian Federation.  Foreigners, unless they adopt Russian citizenship, are not addressed by и́мя and о́тчество.  This tends to be true no matter what age the foreigner is.

If you address a Russian using и́мя and о́тчество, then you will also be using the formal вы with them; it is likely that that person is a work colleague, or someone older or in authority. If you are on a first-name basis with a Russian, you may be using the formal вы or the informal ты; it will depend on your relationship and the situation.

Finally, be careful about what first names you put with patronymics: only the full (non-diminutive) first name goes with the patronymic.

Упражне́ние 4.

Here is an English text about our Irkutsk host, along with a word bank of Russian forms of address. Decide which way makes sense for the given situation, and check your answer by mousing over the blank.

Svetlana Borisovna
Светла́на Бори́совна
Черны́х Светла́на Бори́совна

This is Светла́на Бори́совна Черны́х. When she was little her parents and grandparents called her __________, as did her school friends. In school she had a very strict teacher who only ever called her __________. Her husband would call her __________ or __________. At work she is most often called __________, especially by those colleagues who work under her. However, she has a close relationship with a few of them, and they call her __________ or sometimes __________. Her passport, of course, says __________.

Images courtesy of Yvwv