Acrostic (jecomdmoy) wrote in little_details,

Russian Formal and Informal Address

Although my story is in English, I'd like to have an idea of how my Soviet characters would address each other for a few translations and to try to have an idea of what they'd sound like in their native language to make it sound more realistic in mine. Formal (vy) and informal (ty) distinction is not something I understand instinctively, so I want to check over a few specific situations. Skimming the old prison camp literature hasn't been too helpful, since I don't have a baseline to compare it to. I understand that the addresses are very subjective and depend a lot on the attitude of the person involved, but I'd like to know what would be expected, or at least most likely, in a few relationships:

1. Military officer to another branch officer of roughly equal rank, who have known each other for years on good terms (I'm thinking vy when they're on duty, ty when off?)
2. Military officer to a lower-ranking officer
3. Officer/guard to a prisoner
4. Prisoners to each other (mostly at a first meeting--would it be typical to use ty to differentiate us v. them with the officers' vy, and which would be more sinister/revealing: a criminal leader addressing you ty or vy? )

The setting is a Soviet prison in the mid-fifties; the population is made up of both common criminals and political prisoners.
Tags: russia: history, ~languages: russian

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