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<   No. 757   2005-02-21   >

Comic #757

1 {scene: The labyrinth. The group is on the move again. Again Monty and Dr Smith have drifted to the back of the group.}
1 Monty: So, I'm guessing your name isn't really Dr Ginny Smith?
2 Ginny: Da, it is. My parents were American. But I adopted a new name in Mother Russia.
3 Ginny: Valentina Irina Ranevskaya Galina Ivana Natalya Iriyushka Anastasia Sonyechka Marinochka Ineslenka Tatyana Hvorostovskaya.
4 Monty: I'll just call you Dr Smith...

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Sikon writes:

As a Russian myself, I'd like to note that Russians have three names: given name, patronymic (which is based on the father's name), and family name. In the Soviet times, some people had double family names (separated with a hyphen), but this practice is obsolete now.

There can't be more than three names, and Russians don't have multiple middle names like in English-speaking countries (honestly, I have no idea how middle names work).

Also, the last name has two different forms depending on the gender; since Dr. Smith is female, she should be Hvorostovskaya, not Hvorostovsky*. And some of the names (like Sonyechka Marinochka) are dimunitive forms, which are never used in formal writing.

I understand, though, that you probably know all this and just used an overly long name for comedic effect. :)

Well, now I do.

* This one I fixed in the comic.

2014-03-31 Rerun commentary: At the time this comic was written, the full name of Ginny Weasley (from the Harry Potter book series) had not been revealed by author J.K. Rowling. Most people who thought about it assumed Ginny must be short for Virginia. It was only revealed in 2007, on the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, there her given name was in fact Ginevra.

At which point an awful lot of Harry Potter fan-fiction writers felt embarrassed.

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