Alright you primitive screwheads, LISTEN UP!!

Harti Brandt hartmut.brandt at
Thu May 19 05:06:05 PDT 2005

On Wed, 18 May 2005, Gary Kline wrote:

GK>On Wed, May 18, 2005 at 07:05:04PM +0400, Andrey Smirnov wrote:
GK>> Gary Kline wrote:
GK>> >
GK>> >	Well, (Gary said, ddeliberately changing the ^Subject:),
GK>> >	interesting. My mother's parents are from Hungary, two of my
GK>> >	dad's grandparents from  Germany.  
GK>> >
GK>> >	Didn't know about Hungary (or Japan).  China, yes.  Anybody 
GK>> >	on this geek list know any other societies where the surname 
GK>> >	is traditionally presented first and the given name last?  
GK>> >
GK>> In Russia, in all official documents name is written:
GK>> 	Family_Name First_Name Middle_Name
GK>> So, my full name would be:
GK>> 	Smirnov Andrey Andreevich
GK>> In short form, we usually put first name in head of family name (surname):
GK>> 	Andrey Smirnov
GK>> This feels less official.
GK>> So, it's sometimes hard to find out what is what if you don't know 
GK>> Russian names well.
GK>	Well, names everywhere that I know of are listed in reverse
GK>	alphabetical order in (1) documents, (2) telephone directories,
GK>	(3) attendence records.  That only makes sense (IMHO).   
GK>	So far, in conversational reference, say, one might introduce
GK>	a person from East or Southeast Asia by [ Family_Name, First_Name ].
GK>	But almost everywhere else, I think it is the reverse.
GK>	For example, if we were at a BSD meeting you would introduce me
GK>	as "Gary Kline" rather than "Kline Gary"; but if you were 
GK>	introducing someone from China, Korea, or Vietnam, you would
GK>	introduce him Family_Name first.  --If I still have this
GK>	convention wrong, I'd be  much obliged if one of my fellow
GK>	geeks would correct me!
GK>	Andrey, while I'm talking to a real Russian, I've got a 
GK>	question that you can answer.  [[Sorry that this is going
GK>	far OT, gang, but I've been wondering about this since I read 
GK>	Dostoevsky.]]  *Why* are some people addressed by their
GK>	first name _and_ by what may/must? be their middle names??
GK>	I remember some woman who seemed upset at Boris Yeltsin
GK>	(when he was still President) call him "Boris 
GK>	[A_Very_Long_String_of_Characters]"  Is this to indicate
GK>	irony, or affection, or anger...  or what?

While Andrey is still typing his answer... Just to make it more confusing: 
In Russian there are usually dozens, if not hundreds of different forms of 
the first name: Tatjana - Tanjusha - Tanjucha - Tanja - Tanka - 
Tanjetschka - Tanjuschetshka ... Some of them having some kind of 
emotional load which may depend on the concrete situation and the relation 
between the two people. Furthermore besides refering to one by first name 
or first+middle name, you can also refer by last name only, which is kind 
of offending. And you can refer by middle name only which gives it a kind 
of vulgar intimacy (hope that's the right word for it).

GK>	...And now we return to our regularly 
schduled programming :-) GK>

Nice thread. But, yes.


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