display | more...

-ova (or in some languages -owa): In most Slavic languages the ending of a woman's last name.

For example, if a man's last name is Novak (which, incidentally can be translated as Newman), his wife's and unmarried daughters' last names would be Novakova.

In Russian, if a man's name ends in "ov" (e.g., Ivanov), only the final 'a' is appended to produce a female name (i.e., Ivanova), however, in many other Slavic languages such is not the case, so for example if a Slovak was Ivanov, his wife would be Ivanovova.

The exception is names ending with -sky or -ski (depending on the language), which are made into a female name by changing it to -ska (and I think in Russian to -skaya, though I am not absolutely sure on this, perhaps a Russian noder can clarify). For example, if a man's last name is Smrecansky, his wife/daughters would be Smrecanska.

Though this practice may seem unusual, perhaps even "politically incorrect", to people from other parts of the world, people who have grown up in Slavic countries and see American (etc) names find it confusing that they cannot determine whether the name pertains to a man or a woman, particularly with English names where often the same first name can be given to male and female persons.

The female surname suffix is also usually applied to foreign names, basically as part of the languages' inflection system, e.g. Sharon Stoneová. However, this practice is receding mainly with celebrities, at least in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Also, women who marry foreigners or simply have foreign surnames can opt to have them officially recognised without the suffix.

In Russian, the feminine suffix is usually not appended onto foreign names, and actually, we could just call it an -a suffix for the most part (Yurii Gagarin's wife's last name would be Gagarina). The reason the -ski type last names in all Slavic languages only changes to -ska and not to *-skova is because these names are grammatically adjectives. In this way, the Russian name 'Lozovyy' becomes 'Lozovaya,' and the Czech 'Skvorecký' becomes 'Skvorecká.' In all of the various Slavic cases these names decline as adjectives.

While Russian may not assimilate foreign names in a such a way (it usually doesn't at all, unless it's very easy, such as 'Bill's' becoming 'Billa'), Czech (and I assume Slovak and maybe Polish) indeed does (though Slama:k has mentioned that they don't do this so much with celebrities anymore). What's even more confusing is that they don't assimilate spelling into their alphabets. So my last name, 'Faucheux', a good Louisiana French name, would for my mother be 'Faucheuxová.' This can be applied to almost any nationality, and sometimes a filler consonant -h may be added: 'Wong = Wongová', 'Fernandez = Fernandezová', 'Qadafi = Qadafihová', 'Oberleitner = Oberleitnerová.' To me, this is one of those things which make Czech fun as hell.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.