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Russian pet names
Molesworth: English
priscellie wrote in little_details
When/Where: Russia, mid-1980s.

Searched: Googled "Russian pet names," "Russian affectionate names," and "Russian affectionate names +Judith"

Situation: I'm looking for an affectionate nickname an elder Russian man might use on his American mentee, a woman named Judith. Both have an extended lifespan (she is nearly a century old, and he's better than double that), so while she is significantly younger than he and is studying under him at a renowned research institution, she wouldn't merit the sillier type of pet name used for, say, a child.

Does anyone have any suggestions or guidance? Thanks so much in advance!

I googled Russian "terms of endearment" and got a bunch of sites. Might want to try that. Here's a few:

http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/7062-2.cfm
http://www.meighan.net/alexander/

Very interesting! These links definitely have potential. Thank you!

It sounds like you are not looking for romantic names. The name Judith does not have a Russian equivalent, except in the context of the Biblical story, in which case it is pronounced YuDEEF' (soft F) So, Russifying and pettifying that, we can arrive at Yudik, Yuden'ka, Yudochka. The last sounds like "udochka", fishing rod, which could actually work for a humorous wordplay.

*laughs* Wonderful! This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

After a bit of thinking, if we are talking a professor or scientist from 1800s, I think Yuden'ka (soft N) is the likeliest choice. I gave some thought to using the second syllable, and while Difen'ka and Difchick are possibilities, I don't like them quite as much.

Ooh, thanks again! Out of curiosity, what is it about those alternatives that make them more likely than the ones you mentioned before? I find this all fascinating!

Argh, I was trying to figure it out, but a lot of it is just gut feeling. All are diminutive forms that would not be completely inappropriate for an affectionate address of a familiar adult. Yudik sounds more contemporary to me, perhaps 1960-sh. The -en'ka and -ochka forms are more or less interchangeable, but 'en'ka is both a touch more old-time to my ear and not as adult-to-child-ish, if you know what I mean.

Sorry, best I can do.

No, that makes sense. Thanks again! I'll definitely be going with Yuden'ka. You've been an amazing help!