Personal names

First names

All female, and most male, Ukrainian first names have stable stress so, once you know where the stress falls in the nominative, this will remain throughout all forms. Additionally, in most female names the stress falls on the penultimate syllable (exceptions marked * in the list below).

A selection of frequently encountered first names with stable stress (with some variants and diminutives) is given below (with, in brackets, the English equivalents, where these are not obvious from the Ukrainian version; for names which do not have obvious English equivalents the transliteration is provided).

Male names

Ю́рій / Гео́ргійGeorge

Ві́кторVictor

Олекса́ндрAlexander

Володи́мирVolodymyr

І́горIhor

Мико́лаNicholas

Миха́йлоMichael

Леоні́дLeonid

Сергі́йSerhii

Андрі́йAndrew

Олексі́йOleksii

Анато́лійAnatolii

Григо́рійHryhorii, Gregory

Іва́нIvan, John

Євге́нYevhen, Eugene

Макси́мMaxym, Max

Васи́льVasyl, Basil

Рома́нRoman

Богда́нBohdan

Валенти́нValentyn, Valentine

Яросла́вYaroslav

Святосла́вSviatoslav

Миросла́вMyroslav

Оре́стOrest, Orestes (although О́рест is in frequent use in Western Ukraine)

Йо́сиф / Йо́сип / О́си́пYosyf, Yosyp, Osyp, Joseph

Тара́сTaras

Степа́н / Стефа́нStepan, Stefan, Stephen

Дани́лоDanylo, Daniel

Оле́гOleh

In a small number of male names ending in -o and having end stress, e.g. Петро́ - Peter, the stress shifts to the stem in the vocative only: Пе́тре! Other names like this: Павло́ Па́вле!, Дмитро́ Дми́тре!

Female names

А́нна / Га́ннаAnna

Марі́яMaria, Mary

Іри́наIrene

Катери́наCatherine

Оле́наOlena, Helena, Helen

Гали́на / Га́ляHalyna, Halia, Helena, Helen

Уля́наUliana

Іва́ннаIvanna, Joanna

Христи́наChristina

Ната́лія* / Ната́ляNatalie

Софі́яSophia

Наді́яNadia, Hope

Ві́раVira, Vera, Faith

Любо́в* / Лю́баLiubov, Liuba, Charity

О́льга / О́ляOlha, Olia

Олекса́ндра / Ле́сяAlexandra, Lesia

Соломі́яSolomia

Анастасі́яAnastasia

Окса́наOksana

Роксола́наRoxoliana

Русла́наRuslana

Світла́наSvitlana

Ні́наNina

Тама́раTamara

Тетя́наTetiana

А́ллаAlla

Валенти́наValentyna

Оле́сяOlesia, Olesya

* contrary to the general rule, the stress does not fall on the penultimate syllable

Patronymics

Patronymics are personal names derived from the name of one’s father. They emerged in the period of Kyivan Rus’ as a way of distinguishing one person from another (by the names of people’s fathers), at a time when surnames had not yet been introduced into society. The practice is still prevalent today.

Patronymics predominantly retain the stress of the name they are derived from e.g. Іва́нІва́нович Іва́нівна (Ivan – son of Ivan – daughter of Ivan). Given below are examples of frequently encountered patronymics. Those in which there is a stress change from the original name are marked * (as above, these are the names ending in -o).

Father's name Male patronymic Female patronymic
Миха́йло Миха́йлович Миха́йлівна
Володи́мир Володи́мирович Володи́мирівна
Яросла́в Яросла́вович Яросла́вівна
Андрі́й Андрі́йович Андрі́ївна
Ю́рій Ю́рійович Ю́ріївна
І́гор І́горович І́горівна
Мико́ла Микола́йович**  Микола́ївна
Петро́ Петро́вич Петрі́вна
Дмитро́ Дми́трович* Дми́трівна*
Павло́ Па́влович* Па́влівна*

* stress change from the original name

** the archaic form Микола́й is often used for St Nicholas, and gives rise to the patronymic Микола́йович

Many present-day surnames have evolved from patronymics . For example, the patronymic Макси́мович - "son of Maksym" has been widely adopted as a surname (something approximating to "Maxymson"). Another example is Пе́трович -"son of Petro" (the equivalent of "Peterson" or "Peters"). During this process, however, the stress has shifted, and most people with these surnames today pronounce them Максимо́вич, Петро́вич.

Surnames

Many types of surname in Ukrainian are based on nouns or adjectives, and will have a stress pattern similar to the original word e.g. Ку́чма (thick thatch of hair), Моро́з (frost), Литви́н (a male Lithuanian, archaic), Сковорода́ (frying pan), Зеле́ний (green) etc.

Surnames with the endings -о́вський, -е́цький, -о́вич (see patronymics, above), -е́вич, -ук, -и́шин,  -е́нко еtc usually derive from nouns, but predominantly have stable stress on the ending, e.g. Вінграно́вський, Кравчу́к*, Яценю́к*, Януко́вич*, Гаврили́шин, Шевче́нко* etc.

*Surnames of this type, when applied to women, do not change their form.

Confusion is caused by surnames of one of the most frequent (and characteristically Ukrainian) types, those in -енко, e.g. Шевче́нко. It is often not possible to predict whether the stress should be on the ending -е́нко, as in Тимоше́нко, or on the stem, specifically the 3rd syllable from the end, as in Ю́щенко.

The -енко ending developed from the diminutive ending -е́нький (e.g. легки́йлеге́нький), suggesting something minor or smaller than the adjective itself; in the case of a surname - "son of". For this reason most surnames of this type have retained the original stress of the -е́нький ending. Some linguists would argue that this is the only acceptable stress, and that stem stress is incorrect. However, another school of thought considers that, where the surname is derived from a noun, the stress of that noun should be retained. So, for some Ukrainians the 19th century composer is Ли́сенко (from лис - fox), whilst others argue that Лисе́нко (from лисе́нький - completely bald) is correct, and that the composer himself used this version of his surname.

Where a surname of this type derives from a two-syllable word (with the stress on either syllable), the stress of the surname fairly consistenly falls on the «е» of the ending -енко.

A later trend, however, allowed for variation of the stress, with a shift to the stem in cases where the surname was derived from a personal name (hence Мака́ренко and Ю́щенко), or where the word from which the surname was derived had three or more syllables, in which case the stress of the original was carried over to the surname e.g. Васи́льченко (from Васи́лько).

Some other frequently encountered surnames in -енко: Тимоше́нко, Шевче́нко, Луце́нко, Косте́нко, Симоне́нко, Черне́нко, Кононе́нко, Винниче́нко.

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Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk
© 2012 Marta Jenkala