Vol. 53 No. 1 (2005)
Research Article

Russian Given Names: Their Pronunciation, Meaning, and Frequency

Published 2005-06-01



Information in English on Russian given names is limited. A single source with Russian names showing their pronunciation, meaning, and frequency is lacking. This report attempts to overcome that deficiency. From data gathered in a previous investigation on 1421 individuals in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the period 1874-1990, we collected approximately 200 different names. Names dictionaries in English do not indicate how Russian names are pronounced with the exception of one by Norman. One Russian, not widely-available, dictionary (Tikhonov et al.) does give some help in pronunciation but in a Russian format not easily understood by English-speaking readers. We decided to show the pronunciation in three ways: (1) using a “simple” pronunciation style similar to that of the New York Times when it introduces a new name, (2) using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and (3) demonstrating with a CD (compact disk how the names are pronounced by a Russian speaker. To do this, a Russian speaker made tape recordings. From these recordings, a CD was produced. In addition to pronunciation, we are also showing the meaning of each name and its frequency.


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