Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 1 02:45:41 UTC 2009

If one really wants to go to the source, he should consider that unlike
English-speaking users, the Russians *always* pronounce "Romanov" with a
stress on the second syllable and "never" on the first. There is also a
significant difference between how the name of the Russian writer is
usually pronounced and how the name of Walter Koenig's character on Star
Trek is pronounced. The former (with a "kh" in the middle) I usually
hear with a stress on the first syllable, similarly, but not identically
to how the Russians would have pronounced it. The latter (with the
"k")--at least, to my ear--is pronounced on the show with nearly equal
stress on both syllables.

But I also want to dispel the myth that Russian "-ov" names cannot have
stress on the ultimate syllable. The most obvious example is
"Komarov"--a name that should be familiar to those growing up in the
1960s (or those familiar with the Soviet space program). It is not even
true that Slavic names with two syllables always stress the first. A
common Russian and Bulgarian name is Popov which, for reasons I shall
never understand, many English speakers pronounce literally the same
name as the combination "pop off". This has no resemblance to the
original source which also has stress on the ultimate syllable (for two
examples, there is currently a top Bulgarian soccer/football player with
that name and there used to be a top Soviet clown with the same
surname). Several hockey players currently (or recently) in the NHL also
demonstrate this--Petrov, Titov (also the name of "Cosmonavt 2"--the
player's father) and Kozlov all have ultimate stress.

So there is nothing in Slavic, particularly in Russian, names that
restricts the stress in a manner that would ultimately prevent "Labov"
from having stress on the second syllable. Now, as a speaker, I would
have naturally stress the first syllable, had I not been told otherwise.
I don't have a hard and fast rule for this, but, I am sure, one can be
found. But it will not be due to a simple blanket proscription.


RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
> This has alwas seemed most unnatural to me. I've always assumed that the -ov
> is a Slavic ending, and as such it would rhyme more with with "Dog" than
> "stove." tNo one would pronounce "Romanov" or "Chekov" and rhyme the last syllable
>  rhyme with "hove" or the past tense of "dive."

The American Dialect Society -

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