About Fathers and Sons


A Note on Russian Names

The middle names of all mate characters end in "-vitch" and of all female characters in "-ovna." This ending simply means the "son of" or "daughter of" the father whose first name is converted into their middle name. For example, Nikolai's father was named "Petro." Thus, both Pavel and Nikolai have the name "Petrovitch" for their middle name. This middle name is called the Patronymic. All Russians have three names and might be called by any one or any combination of these names.

The spelling of the Russian name might differ slightly from one translation to another because a transliteration must be made, and since English cannot reproduce absolutely exactly certain Russian graphernes, an approximation must suffice. In pronouncing these names, if the reader will remember to give the vowels their "continental" value and pronounce the consonants as in English, a rough approximation to the Russian pronunciation will be obtained. The consonant "kh" sounds rather like the Scottish "ch" in "loch"; the 11zh" represents a sound like "s" in "measure"; and the final 'Y' is pronounced "f ".

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