2010 Scraps

So here is what I couldn't use or didn't get to this year.
How Russian Names Work

Russian names seem to change all the time. Just when you thought you’d gotten used to Ivan Ivanovich, you suddenly run across Vanya Ivanov, who seems to resemble Ivan. He could be the same person.

Here’s a quick and very basic guide to Russian names.

Each Russian has three names: a first name, a patronymic, and a last name/surname. For example: Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov.

1. First Names 
The problem with first names in Russian is that people use endless diminutive forms:

  • Ivan - becomes Vanya, Vanyusha, Vanka, etc.

  • Aleksandr - becomes Sasha, Sanya, Shurik, Shura, Aleksandrushka.

  • Dmitrii - becomes Dima, Mitya, Dimulya.

  • Nataliya - becomes Natasha, Nata, Talia, Natulia, Tashenka

  • Elena - becomes Lena, Lenulia, Lenusia.

    Even more confusing, some diminutives are used for more than one personal name. One of the most common diminutives, Sasha, could refer to Aleksandr, a man, or Aleksandra, a woman. What is to be done? I don’t know. But I will say this: most diminutives are derived from syllables of the full personal names, as I’ve shown above in bold. So my best advice is to look carefully at the diminutives and first names to see if you can determine what they might have in common.

    More often than not, full Russian first names (i.e. not diminutive forms) that end in –a are women’s names. Of course, there are notable exceptions, like Nikita and Kuzma.

    2. Patronymics 
    Patronymics are derived from a person’s father’s name. So Ivan Ivanovich is Ivan
    SonofIvan. His sister Nataliya would be Nataliya Ivanovna.

    This part is easy:

    • Male patronymics end in –ovich or –evich 
    • Female patronymics end in –ovna or –evna 

    Patronymics are generally used together with given names, especially in formal situations: “Ivan Ivanovich, do you want some tea?” But some Russians call each other by their patronymics, though usually only if they know each other well: “Ivanovich, want tea?”

    3. Surnames

    Surnames can be confusing because some are classically Russian-sounding – like Ivanov – but I’ve run across Russians with names like Blyukher or Melville. Here are the most typical types of Russian last names:
    • ending in –ov, like Ivanov. A woman would be Ivanova 
    • ending in –in, like Pushkin. A woman would be Pushkina
    • ending in –oi (or oy), like Tolstoi. A woman would be Tolstaia
    • ending in ii, like Dostoevskii. A woman would be Dostoevskaia. 

    (A caveat: transliteration can change the spellings a lot... Dostoevsky is the same guy as Dostoevskii.)

    In general, surnames that end in –enko are Ukrainian. 

    4. And... 

    One other thing. Many Russians in 19th-century literature also use foreign (usually French) names, so Elena may end up as Helen, and Elizaveta may call herself Elisabeth or, heaven forbid, Betsy.

    In the end, my advice on names is: Don’t stress out about it. If a writer is good, the characters will be well enough developed that you’ll eventually know who’s who by the ways they act and speak. I have problems when writers – in English and in Russian – introduce a lot of characters and information all at once, so this isn’t a problem unique to Russian literature.

    (the writing is not my work)
  • 23.12.10

    Sex By Surprise

    Has this happened to you?

    "Are you here to kill me?"
    "No I am here to rape you"

    Julian Assange, CEO wikileaks has been in the news a lot lately, mainly for rape or as the swedish say, "Sex by Surprise," but the real story has yet to surface. After an in depth investigation by yours truly, I have discovered a secret organization of rape assassins.

    This sex by surprise assassin organization dates back centuries ago, to the time of the crusades. The organization was formed to discredit "pure" crusaders, this was especially effective during the kids crusade.  Assange was obviously attacked by these professional rape assassins....twice.

    Known worldwide, the rape assassins have soiled the names of some of the most famous, rich and powerful people. Their latest victim being Assange, I felt it was only right to bring this atrocity to the forefront.  Nevermind the bullocks, wikileaks will be releasing a bomb early 2011 on Bank of America.

    On a lighter note, Christmas is here and I would just like to share with everyone the best Christmas movie: Die Hard.


    The Future

    The Future is coming and along with it: time travel! Sadly the Hadron Collider won't be the one who breaks down the dilemmas we have with transporting through history.
    Gerry Lopez surfing
    The inventor is alive today and has already developed the time machine, his name is Gerry Lopez. He is a famous surfer and currently the only proven man to travel through time, although many believe there are others. He found with the right type of wave and board combination that he could travel forward and back in time.
    Gerry Lopez in barbarian times
    After some debate, Lopez decided to give his idea (partially) to the world. The catch is that you can only use his time travel machine to surf in the past.

    Entering the Time Warp
    Gerry's philosophy is that the future will be better if people can surf without crowds and that is exactly what his company is doing. Cosmic Surfers Inc. has a heavy screening process for time travel. But don't despair they let Limbless Jack in! 

    Here is a list of famous surfers that have taken the "trip":

    • Gerry Lopez
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    Michelangelo charging hard 
    • Silver Surfer
    • Limbless Jack
    • Bill and Ted
    Next Week: Limbless Jack explains the dangers of surfing with a pterodactyl and how to get gum out of your hair in prehistory.