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[Opinions] Russian name crush?
Hiya. I'm always wordy so sorry for the length of this. One of my very close friends (she's about 4 years older than I) is expecting twins. She swears that they're going to be boy/girl because that's the pattern in her family, but she doesn't know genders so is making a good stock of names of both just in case her hunch is wrong. The thing is, both her and her boyfriend (also a good friend who will be dispassionately referred to the boyfriend for anonymity and clarity) want to use at least one Russian name. They both studied / may continue to study further Russian at university and love Russian culture, and are considering attempting to raise their children being able to speak at least some Russian if not properly bilingual, which, since there's not a single native Russophone in their families is probably realistically pushing it a little too far. She's English with some distant French family and he's N. Irish, so English, French and Irish names are still on the table but they'd prefer a Russian first name and English (or acceptable in an Anglophone society) middle name or, as a compromise, visa versa. Now... what do you think? I love ethnic names, but I do think they should come with a use-with-caution sticker. There's a difference between a Russian Yekaterina or an Arab 'Ismat and someone whose parents just liked the exoticism of the name, and there's a slight difference as to how easy it is to pull off those names, y'know? Or do you disagree? Regardless, do you think speaking Russian and loving Russian culture without being Russian is a good enough reason for some potentially out-there Russian names? Or will little Yevgeniy grow up with an exotic name, being mistaken as Russian and having to go "Hmmm... no, I'm not Russian. My parents just liked Russia"? And is that, nowadays, really such a problem? I'm divided. Also... name combos. They're struggling with combos at the minute and it'd be epic if you could give me some to suggest. They know what Russian names they like (we had a big girly discussion about this a few days ago) and aren't sure on the non-Russian middle (or at a push) first names at all. Here's the list of Russian names and if any grab you for combos (Russian + non-Russian or Non-Russian + Russian combos) that you can suggest, that'd be epic. I'd also love to hear your opinion on these names, how usable they are and whether you in general like the sound... it's already been parred down a bit from the first list she bounced off me as her token name-loving buddy, but they think and I agree that it needs to be narrowed down and comboed and refined a bit more. Some are a little unusual and some have been chosen because of their diminutives (the expectant father loves Russian nicknames. Who can blame him?). As always - * - means I personally like them. Here we go:Dames:
Anya (as an actual name, not a diminutive)
Irina (Irinushka! Has fantastically sweet and OTT nicknames in Russian, but which wouldn't work in English. Manages to be exotic and uncommon but not weird in English and horribly common and bland in Russian... hmmm...)
Kseniya (has interesting diminutives and spelling, but no element of it could be called pretty in my view)
Larisa* (They both love the diminutives, especially Lara, but want a fuller feeling name, so therefore a Larisa who is never called Larisa - I completely get what they're saying, but don't get why they don't just use Lara)
Liliya (Ick. Ick. Ick. I hate Lilia, I hate Liliya)
Margarita* (love, love, love so much for obvious reasons. In their shoes I’d be pushing hard for Mikhail and Margarita, because I’m cheesypie)
Serafima (Like Sera, dislike the m and yet I could so warm to it.)
Sofiya (I like Sophia, but not this spelling. I could warm to it, but it looks odd with that y)
Svetlana (Pretty in Russian, but in English the Svet sound sweaty)
Tamara (Tamar is nicer but non-eligable. Tamara's really lovely, I just can't find it interesing. Also, they'd want to use Toma as a nickname, which I don't like as much)
Yelena* (Elena is said the same, but Yelena just looks so much more charming written down.)
Yeva (Prettier than Eva, but it might be that soft e and 'y' jazzing it up. She'd always be called Eva)
Zinaida* (The nickname Zina has certain implications in Arabic that I dislike, and I prefer variants like Zinaide... but this is really rather lovely in itself. I have never met a Zinaida under the age of 40 for some reason... which is really rather odd, in that you'd think it'd suit being a modern name)
Zoya (Ick) Chaps: Akim
Aleksei *
Anastas (or Anastasiy*. Both were vetoed by the expectant father. I weirdly love Anastasiy but during our name-geek chat we agreed that neither of us girls had ever met an Anastasiy or, for that matter, an Anastas. I don't like the -as sound, but I don't notice it as much in Anastasiy)
Anton* (Love)
Arkadiy* (Very sparky)
Dmitriy* (Prefer Dimitri)
Illarion (Eugh)
Izot (Apparently this is a minority name and only rarely used, but the boyfriend thinks the nn. Zot is adorable. I agree, but it sounds very sci-fi)
Lev* (It's short and snappy, and rather cool)
Mikhail* (every non-Russian speaker I’ve spoken to has said Misha is a silly nickname. I love it, though, but would use it as a honouring name for Mikhail Bulgakov. It’d be endlessly misspelt, mispronounced and mistaken for Michael, though)
Yegor (Ugly sound, I think. I think of eggs)
Yuriy* (Yuriy Gagarin sold this one to me. Is it wrong that I want to name my theoretical offspring this in honor of him? Yuri in a manga sense is a connotation, but not that well known in the UK, I imagine)
Zinoviy* (I seriously love this one. So much.)Views on names, combos, the use of Russian names, boy/boy // boy/girl // girl/girl sibsets and everything beyond and between is very much loved from both me and my friends. What do you think? Combo ideas? Hate a name, love a name (gotta say it's their choice in the end, but I'm their only Russophone fellow name-nerd friend and I'm really curious to what you guys think - gotta say I'm crushing hard on Zinoviy, Yuriy, Anastasiy - which is weird given how flouncy and stupid I find Anastasia - Arkadiy, Mikhail, Leonid and Lev... and for the ladies, Valeriya, Marina, Margarita, Zinaida and Ekaterina - and any ideas you can come up with. It's ultimately their call and I'll let you know what they decide, but they're a bit stuck and I'd love some suggestions to give. Thanks for reading this and for any help! :D
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Thanks! :DThanks for replying, guys! It's ultimately not my place to say, but thanks so much for your feedback. I'll respond to you when I'm less lazy and my internet's not so dodgy as it seems to be at the moment, but it's been great to read what you think and I'll pass it on when I see the expecting parents :D
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I think it would be OK to use a Russian name, but it might be easier to choose one which has a more "English" nickname option, which they could use. For example, Aleksei could go by Alex. Otherwise I think the best ones would be ones which are Russian but relatively well known in Elglish-speaking countries too: Anya, Larisa, Tamara, Anton, Leonid, Roman.I would defintely avoid using names which are particularly hard to spell and/or pronounce correctly in English, such as Zinoviy, Kseniya, Fyodor, Evgeniy.
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I think Irina would be a great choice for them. There wouldn't be issues with pronunciation and it doesn't scream over the top RUSSIA to me anyway. Totally usablefor a boy i'd go for Anastas or Ruslan - again usable but they are russian
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I'm from a very heavily Russian/ Ukranian community so I'm very comfortable with Russian names. I do see a few of these as being difficult to pronounce in the English speaking world.First, let me suggest an English name with a Russian nn? I see you have Mikhail with Misha listed here. American actors Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have used Alexander as their son's first name, but instead of calling him Alex, they call him Sasha. Or they could use Pasha for Paul. Dima for Dimitry. Anyway, here are my favorite Russian names:Alana/ Elana/ Ilana
Elya (LOVE this one)
Katya (LOVE)
Natasha (they could also use Natalie/Natalia and have Natasha as a nn)
Zarina (this one is particularly great because it's the Anglicized spelling of the Russian word for princess- Tzarina)Aleksandr (the Russian pronunciation makes this one so much better)
Ivan (LOVE this one, the Russian nn is Vanya)

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I agree with your points When it comes to ethnic names being used by non-ethnic parents, I would consider a few important things to judge whether the name can be used by non-ethnic parents:
- Is the name easy to pronounce for English speakers?
- Is the name acceptable in an Anglophone society (to use your own words) or does it stick out like a sore thumb?Keeping that in mind, my opinions on female names (favourites are starred):Anya* - Soft, pretty, and easy to pronounce. I like the sound of Anya better than the English Anna and I don't think this name would be troublesome.
Daria - Not a fan, but I'd consider it usable.
Ekaterina - Not a fan, the "E" prefix seems awkward and incomplete to me. I prefer Yekaterina or just Katerina.
Irina - Pretty and usable but a little boring and commonplace in my opinion. It's okay.
Kseniya - I don't like it.
Larisa* - I like it, though it doesn't seem as Russian to me as the others.
Liliya - Ambivalent. I don't like it but I don't hate it as much as you seem to!
Margarita - Margarita seems more Spanish/Latin than Russian to me. In any case, I'm not a fan.
Marina - I like the sound of Marina, but it makes me think of the boat docks.
Milena* - Beautiful! I love it and it's probably my favourite girl's name on this list.
Nataliya* - I love Nataliya, and it's a much better alternative to the English Natalie.
Serafima - Not a fan. I don't like the m either.
Sofiya - I agree that the Y looks odd here. I like the sound but prefer the spelling Sofia or Sophia.

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This message was edited 5/29/2011, 12:45 PM

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