What Is A "speaking" Surname

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What Is A "speaking" Surname
What Is A "speaking" Surname

Video: What Is A "speaking" Surname

Video: English Vocabulary - First name? Given name? Forename? What's your name? 2022, December
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In literary works, characters are often found to whom the author gives surnames that exactly correspond to their character. This is a kind of additional characterization of the hero, short and capacious.. In real life, such names are also found, although not often.

Sobakevich, as his last name says, is strong and fierce
Sobakevich, as his last name says, is strong and fierce

Literary reception

The author creates his hero using certain technical means, which are called literary techniques. One such technique is a speaking surname. It consists in the fact that the author characterizes his character with the help of associations that the reader has associated with a certain word. In this case, even the most common surname can be the speaker, if it accurately characterizes the hero. An example of this is Molchalin in the play by A.S. Griboyedov "Woe from Wit". He agrees with everything, will never say an extra word and is the complete opposite of the vain Famusov. By the way, Famusov is also a speaking surname, since it comes from the Latin word meaning "glory", "fame".

Masters of Speaking Surnames

An unsurpassed master who masterly mastered this difficult technique was N.V. Gogol. Suffice it to recall the Korobochka, which is strenuously saving up good, the rude Sobakevich or Manilov, who is constantly dreaming of the unrealizable. But they characterized their heroes in a similar way before Gogol. For example, the names of the characters in the play by D.V. Fonvizina "Minor" - Prostakovs, Skotinin, Pravdin. In fact, there is no need to tell anything more about these characters, the reader or the viewer, and so everything about them is clear.

Subtleties of translation

Speaking surnames are found not only in Russian, but also in foreign literature. This is a fairly common technique that is not always easy to convey in translation. The translator is required not only to convey the meaning, but also to imitate the sound of the original language. A good example of a neutral translation is Priest Chetkins from Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Decay. But the translators J.D.R. Tolkien has so far failed to come up with an equivalent to the English surname Baggins - in some versions it is translated as Baggins or Sumnix, and this is basically true. But the word "Baggins" also means "the custom of drinking tea at a certain time", which is very important for characterizing the character. In cases where it is not possible to come up with an adequate Russian version of a speaking foreign surname, a footnote is usually given.

In ordinary life

Sometimes the term "speaking surname" is used in everyday life. Of course, there is no point in talking about a literary device in this case, because a person received such a surname most often by inheritance. If he came up with a surname himself, then this will already be called a pseudonym. But the surname inherited from the parents can very accurately characterize the one who wears it. In this case, she can rightfully be called a speaker.

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