View Full Version : Stupid question about Russians, Czechs, and Slovaks...

Aug 29th, 2002, 05:59 PM
why is it that all the players from a lot of European/former Soviet Countries names end in 'ova'? Is there a cultural reason, or what?

I hadn't really realized it until I was watching Safina def. Grande and someone behind us was like 'Oh, I guess Marat dropped the A at the end'. Is it just that Dinara, being female, has to have an A at the end?

And why do a large amount of first names end in A? Lina, Nadia, Naeja, Petra, Anna, Martina (N), Olga, Elena, etc.

Could someone please answer this for me?

Aug 29th, 2002, 06:03 PM
I think in Russian females add an 'a' to the surname, and in Czech Rep. thay add 'ova'.

About the names, I don't know. In Spain most girl's names finsih with an 'a' also. Normally if the gender of a word is feminine it ends on 'a', and if it's masculine, on 'o'. And I guess it goes to the people's first names, also.

Aug 29th, 2002, 06:05 PM
Probably someone far better educated would do a better job answering, but from what I know in Russia the women add an -a- to the end of the surname to feminize it. Ergo, Safin, Safina. The Czech's add an -ova to the end of the surname to feminize it. Martina's father's last name is Navratil and Hana's father's last name is Mandlik-

There are obviously, variations on that throughout but I think for the most part that is the general rule.

Aug 29th, 2002, 06:06 PM
In Iceland, if you are male you add sson and if you are female you add dottir.

And in front of this you put your Father's first name.

So Svensson would be son of Sven.

But I am not sure how strict that rule is in Sweden for example.

Aug 29th, 2002, 06:33 PM
Myskin- Myskina
Dementiev- Dementieva
Kournikov- Kournikova

anyone see a patern?

Aug 29th, 2002, 07:34 PM
I think the technical term for this is a patrynonic(spelling?). Don't Russians even have a sort of middle name that indicates the father?

Example: Ivan Ivanovitch Safin
Anna Ivanova Safina

This would be Ivan, son of Ivan and Anna, daughter of Ivan.

We have traces of this in English. Many English last names have "son". Johnson just used to mean "son of John":) And lots of times men and women kept alive their mother's maiden names by using it as a middle name.

the cat
Aug 29th, 2002, 07:40 PM
Yes Rollo, the full name of Dinara Safina is Dinara Mikhailovich Safina. And the full name for Marat Safin is Marat Mikhailovich Safin. There father's name is Mikhail.

Aug 29th, 2002, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the confirmation cat:) Goo dluck to the Russian girls at the Open. Bovina has a real shot at the quarters and I'm hoping to get a peek at Kuznetsova. Svetlana may be the real deal!

Aug 29th, 2002, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by the cat
Yes Rollo, the full name of Dinara Safina is Dinara Mikhailovich Safina. And the full name for Marat Safin is Marat Mikhailovich Safin. There father's name is Mikhail.

you're wrong cat ;) She is Dinara Mikhailovna Safina. Marat is Mikhailovich. It's different for a female and male.

my fathers name is Sergei , so I'm Nina Sergeevna, if I was a boy I would have been Sergeevich.

So if a person is female she adds - OVNA if a person is male he adds - OVICH to their fathers name :)

Aug 29th, 2002, 08:11 PM
Ukraininan last names are different- for example Tatiana Perebiynis' father is Perebiynis as well. Ukrainian last names usually end with -KO (for ex. Ivanenko, Klichko). There are also last names that end with UK (Ivanchuk, Homerchuk) All these surnames are the same for males and females.

Aug 29th, 2002, 08:16 PM
Nina, is it written in the law that a girl adds an 'a' to her last name or is it a tradition that everybody still follows?

Ted of Teds Tennis
Aug 29th, 2002, 08:26 PM
The Boiled Egg can probably give a better explanation, but as I was a Russian major at college, here goes:

Many Russian male surnames end in -ov or -in (or equivalents which are spelt slightly differently due to orthographic rules). To form the female equivalent, add an a to the end. Examples would of course be Safin/Safina and Medvedev/Medvedeva.

Some names are based on adjectives, and generally end in -y or -i depending on how they're transliterated into other languages. These have slightly different endings for women. Examples:

Mikhail Youzhny/(Elena) Youzhnaya

Some Russian male surnames end in a plain old consonant. For the women, these names are indeclinable. (Foreign surnames, when transliterated into Russian, act the same way.)

As for Czech:

Many male surnames simply add -ova to the end to get the female equivalent, eg. Cyril Suk/Helena Sukova or Navratil/Navratilova.

Some names, however, have a root ending in a suffix that has a "fill" vowel, notably names ending in -ek or -ec. So, Vacek would become Vackova, Hasek would become Haskova, and so on.

Some male surnames end in -a. These drop the -a before adding the -ova suffix. Hockey player Martin Straka comes to mind.

Then there are the Czech names which are adjectival. The male names end in -, and the female names end in . Antonin Novotn v. Jana Novotn, or Such v. Such.

Foreign women who marry Czech men have to have their names Czechified if they take on Czech citizenship; Czech women who marry foreign men have to have their new name Czechified unless a) the woman drops her Czech citizenship, or b) the man's surname ends in a vowel. (This is part of the reason why Adriana Gersi's name looks so odd compared to other Czech surnames: from what I've been told, Gersi is actually an Italian surname.)

Unfortunately, in Russian, there's no good way to look at an unfamiliar surname and know with complete confidence where the stress is. I can tell you that the announcers are getting Safina and Myskina wrong. One of the rules of stress regarding surnames is that it's fixed, with the caveat that if a male surname ending in -in has its stress on the -in, then all cases and genders will be stressed on the grammatical ending (in other words, the -a of the -ina ending). So, you can't have sa-FI-na or mys-KI-na like Chris Evert and the rest of the twits at USA are saying. It's SA-fi-na, and either MYS-ki-na or mys-ki-NA (I believe the former, but TBE is more than welcome to correct me!)

Is it BO-vi-na or bo-vi-NA?

Aug 29th, 2002, 08:55 PM
It is a gender rule. He-she. If it is name of the female and last name ending with -ov -ev -in, than last name will be transformed into -ova, -eva, -ina.
Mishin - Mishina
Kotov - Kotova
Belyaev - Belyaeva

Other endings usually do not converted. For example if family last name is Kot, it will stay the same for him and her. If last nam is Bubis, it will stay the same for her and him.

I believe pretty much the same story for Slovak and Czeck language.

And there is NO difference between Russian and Ukranian names and rules applied. IN case of Perebinis - ending is no as mentioned above, so rule does not apply here and name will stay the same for both genders. Also in Ukranian many last names ending with -o, (Bondarenko, Vakulenko), and these will not be changed for her/him.

Good question :)

And by the way - many of the first names in Russia came from Greek or Latin language, for example Galina - "sea surface" in Greek, Yevgeniy(Eugene) () = noble/precious from Greek. SO this one should be answered by Greek person :)

Russian is one of the hardest world languages by the way.


Aug 29th, 2002, 09:11 PM
Thank you ToT, that explains a point. I thought Czek x-contry star Katerina Neumanova was joking when she called Bente Skari for Skariova. Hm Skariova even sounds better!

Aug 29th, 2002, 09:23 PM
Looks like I've also been mispronouncing all those names :o Thanks for clearing that up, Ted.

Aug 29th, 2002, 10:16 PM
Originally posted by Ted of Teds Tennis

Is it BO-vi-na or bo-vi-NA?

Zvo-na-rE-va (like Zvonaryova)


KOurnikova (like Kooooooornikova)

LIkhovtseva (like Leeeehovtseva)

Aug 29th, 2002, 10:23 PM
I have no probs pronouncing the first three, but I find pronouncing Kournikova and Likhovtseva very hard. I can say KOurnikov and LIkhovtsev, but not KOurnikova and LIKhovtseva, I just cannot pronounce 'nikova' or 'ovtseva' without putting a single stress on it :(

Aug 29th, 2002, 10:23 PM
Originally posted by Josh
Nina, is it written in the law that a girl adds an 'a' to her last name or is it a tradition that everybody still follows?

It's just the language rules, it's a gender ending. If a word ends with an a it means it's female. It's a general rule but there are exceptions :)

Aug 30th, 2002, 02:14 AM
the [b]OVA[b]
at the end of the name indicates that "daughther of"

Martina Navratilova father's name Navratil
Navratilova daughther of Navratil

Aug 30th, 2002, 04:54 AM
Very complicated eh?:confused:;)
I was right with most of the gender rules, but my pronouciation is probably waaaaaaaay off:o.

Ted of Teds Tennis
Aug 31st, 2002, 04:49 PM
ң? I would have thought it was Zvo-NA-re-va. You learn something new every day. Now if I could just get Windows' keyboard thing not to give me the Soviet layout for Cyrillic! :D

Sep 6th, 2002, 11:57 PM
i`m from bulgaria (a former sovien country,too) :)
and my name is:
madlena nacheva
(in compleate enlgish trasnalation it must be madeline nacheva)