Slavic name suffix

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A Slavic name suffix is a common way of forming patronymics, family names, and pet names in the Slavic languages (also called the Slavonic languages).

Many, if not most, Slavic last names are formed by adding possessive and other suffixes to given names and other words.

An example using an occupation is koval or kowal which means blacksmith. It is the root of the names Kowalsky, Kowalchuk, Kowalczyk, Kovalenko, Kovalyov, and Kovalev. All mean "descendant of a blacksmith".

The given name Petr or Petro (equivalent to Peter) can become Petrov, Petriv, Petriw, Petrovsky, Petrovich, and Petric. All mean "descendant of Peter". This is similar to the use of "-son" or "-sen" in Germanic languages. For example Johnson means "John's son", Anderson means "Anders' son", etc.

In East Slavic languages (Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, and Ukrainian) the same phenomenon of name suffixes can be used to express several meanings. One of the most common is the patronymic. Instead of a secondary "middle" given name, people identify themselves with their given and family name and patronymic, a name based on their father's given name. If a man gives his full name as Boris Vladimirovich Kuznetsov, then his father's name must have been Vladimir. Vladimirovich in this case literally means "Vladimir's son".

Similarly suffixes can also be attached to express affection or informality. For example calling a boy named Ivan as Vanya expresses that he is familiar to you. This the same as switching Jonathan for John or Johnny.

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