tin ear names

>>In Soviet SF they used to parade a lot of Anglophone persons, and rarely got their names to sound right. I remember one "Rai Rup" - supposedly a rich American. Ever heard of anyone called Rye Roop? Me neither. But let's see it the other way around. How do the Anglophones imagine foreign names. The days of Soviet isolationism are gone, the Web has covered the Earth, we're supposed to move freely and can access anything in a nanojiffy, right? Not always so - sometimes, nothing beats laziness.

last refreshed 10/03/2017 07:29:20 PM

(enough of this, get me back)

Imaginary Known in Serbian as  
Bokhara Buhara Bukhara, if there was a stiff warning "read the kh as an aitch and surely not as a key".
Chekov Čehov Chekhov, assuming that "k" in "kh" means "pronounce the bloody aitch"
Dezhurova (not) "Dežurni" means "on duty for the day", from "de jour". The surname is purely fictitious and inplausible. Ben Bova has spent too many years publishing SF where such things were normal, but this was published in 1999, when he could get a Russian on the phone in 20 minutes.
Evanovich Ivanovič, Ivanović This attempt in phonetic spelling comes from a language which always puts history above phonetics. There was never an Evan among Slavic names. Ivan, yes.
Frideric Friedrich Georg Friedrich Händel is quite different from George Frideric Handel... and that's music, so why are tin ears involved here?
Irina Fedorona Irina Fjodorovna Irina Fyodorovna - because that's how it sounds and because the feminine patronyms alwyys end in -ovna, -ova, -ovska(ya), -evna and such, never on -ona.
Do your homework, Cherry Wilder. You wrote that in the nineties, when you had Russians at hand - you could have names checked.
Ivonova Ivanova at least they got the gender right... and this was not in the credits, just the viewer's reviews, but more than once. In the piece itself, the role is named properly.
Kalingrad Kalinjingrad Kaliningrad (two ins, hear that?)
Kasalivich Kasalovič Because there's almost no slavic surnames ending in -ivich without a corresponding name ending in -van or -va (e.g. Trivan-Trivić). Name Kasalivan never existed. The only way they (in the movie "Chain reaction") could have justified this is that someone was very deaf at Ellis Island.

OTOH, surname Kasalović exists.
Kawalski Kowalski  
Kosckei Kaščej Kashchey would be much closer to the actual name.
Kvass a russian soft drink with a slight fizz, made of bread water and yeast Alternately, write a new version of "Beyond the wall", mr Justin Stanchfield, and have an American as a character whose only born name is Pepsi.
Lilo Topchev (unknown) Topčev In Philip K Dick's "The zap gun", this is allegedly the east bloc's weapon designer, a female. While "topče" is a little cannon, which is a nice touch, at the time PKD wrote this most slavic languages, including bulgarian, had -eva suffix for female last names. Lilo is unimaginable as a woman's first name. It should have ended with an -a to be plausible.
Mohorivicic Mohorovičić If you cen spell François and Bjørk, you can find č and ć.
Ostrov Ostrvo. "Ostrov" means "island" in Russian. Ostrovskiy is the derived surname. Cherry Wilder's another missing piece of homework. Can't imagine anyone writing a whole long story about a Russian family and never bothering to check the names.
Palaelogos Paleolog Not that this version of the name is nonexistent... but the historically correct Paleologos (or Palaiologos) wins 30:1 when googling, and the latter covers only an inscription on a roman coin.
Papadopolis Papadopoulos Of top ten Greek last names, all end with -poulos. -polis is a fitting suffix for an ancient Greek city, not a person living nowadays.
Petropolus, Solon Petropoulos Allowing that some future Greek would take the ancient legislator's surname for first name, same deafness issue as with other co-blunderers on this list. Guilty this time, James Patrick Kelly.
Popodopoulis, Agamemnon (not) Talk to a Greek, mr John Varley. Hear him laugh at this.
Rai Rup, or Rai Roop Ray, perhaps, but... Aleksey Tolstoy couldn't really have a clue as to what normal american names were at the time. So he took a shot and missed.
Schwartzchild Švarcšild It's BlackShield, not BlackChild: Schwartzschild. Looking at ya, Robert Silverberg.
Sergeivich Sergejevič The extra e exists, no matter how you go around it, mr. Vinge. It's a whole syllable. Try Sergeyevich. Yet the same writer got other russian surnames pretty much right)
Shandar Sándor Yes, Hungarian s reads as sh, but that's no reason to go phonetic just like that. No favors, no exceptions.
Shostokovich Šostakovič There, it's possible that such a surname exists somewhere in Russia, but my bet is that Michael Swanwick is just as deaf as the others.
Souvarov Suvorov  
Tegan Jovanka Jovanka but only as a feminine first name, not as a last; it's actually a feminine version of Jovan (equivalent to John). Last names ending in -ka exist in czech, slovakian and perhaps a few other related languages, however they all have different versions of Jovan/John, usually Jan.
Vaselov Vasiljev Vasilev
Vasic as an Albanian last name Vasić is a mostly Serbian name; any derived Albanian last names would be spelt with -iqi instead of -ić Find a real Albanian name.
Victor Drazen, as a name of a Serbian character in a video game Unknown. Viktor maybe, although that's rare; Dražen (with a ž, and not to be pronounced as drayzen) is not a last name; it's a first, and it's predominantly Croatian. Find a name.
Vukadinovid Vukadinović Vukadinović is a real surname, ć may look like d to fourth-grade OCR software.

Jeffry A. Landis should learnt not to trust OCR. He could actually try to check some facts, even if he writes SF.