1. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Question for native English speakers

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jazzabel, May 2, 2014.

    I wanted to name my male love interest Sergei. However, I realised that pronouncing it, it could sound like Sir Gay, which could ruin it for some readers (and I don't want that, obviously).

    So, I was wondering, would that be something you notice straight away? Alternatively, I could name him Alexei (Alex for short) but it's not as manly as Sergei (at least in my mind).

    Are there any Russian male names that you find interesting or appealing, that would also work well in English? I welcome suggestions as well :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. James Joyce
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    James Joyce Member

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    If they hear Sir Gay, and that ruins the story for them, then they're an immature moron. If you like Sergei, keep Sergei. I just heard Sergei because I know how it is pronounced since my friend's name is Sergei.
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cool, thanks @James Joyce :)
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @James Joyce. But, even beyond that, I wouldn't think it would even occur to a reader because reading is a visual process. So, unless someone actually called him "Sir Gay", and it is written that way, I think it's a complete non-issue.

    Reminds me, though, of a scene in "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", in which Graham tells Jean that he's gay. She looks at him with a desperate sort of hope and asks, "You mean...happy?"
     
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  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks @EdFromNY . Lol, that's funny! I haven't seen that movie yet, or 'Philomena' I want to see them both.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Haven't seen "Philomena", but I heartily recommend "Best Exotic".
     
  7. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I'm in agreement. I've seen and heard 'Sergei' many times and never once thought that. If the name fits... :) I agree, Alexei does seem a little less... hmm... not manly exactly, but the first things to jump into my mind, on hearing it, are the Romanovs and hemophilia. Then again, it's all down to how you paint the character. A name only accounts for parental (or authorial) taste when it comes down to it.

    I was just perusing a site with Russian boys' names. There's a wealth to choose from but I'm not even gonna make a suggestion. Not knowing the character as you do, I could be well off the mark. Is there any in particular you've been giving thought to?
     
  8. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I saw it as "Sir G".
     
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  9. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I've heard the name a fair amount and never realised it could be Sir Gay. I think their are a few internationally famous Sergeis (Though only Prokofiev springs to mind). So most people will be used to the name.
     
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  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @obsidian_cicatrix : Ha, I forgot about the Romanoffs. The names that were considered were Sergei, Alyosha (that's apparently short for Alexei, I didn't know that), Luka, Luke, Karl, Leo, Alexander (Alex) but Sergei has always been at the back of my mind. This is the closest to my mental image of him

    li.jpg
     
  11. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Renee J : That's better than Sir Gay, at least :D

    @plothog : That's true :)
     
  12. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I don't see anything wrong with Sergei as the name. If one character name ruins the story for the reader, I think a coloring book is more their fashion.
     
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  13. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Of all the names, I'd lean most towards Sergei myself. It's a strong name. Luka, for example, seems so much softer but, then again, sometimes it's cool to choose a name that seems hopelessly at odds with the character.
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I honestly can't get Sergei to sound like Sir Gay without really forcing it. I speak Russian, and maybe it's also the latino in me, but I feel impelled to place the stress on the first syllable and to fully pronounce the /e/ and not just go right from the /s/ to the /r/. We have that name in Spanish too as Sergio, so maybe that's why...
     
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  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    That thought occurred to me as well.
     
  16. Panda_John
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    Panda_John Member

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    I didn't notice Sergei sounding like "Sir Gay" until you pointed it out. If you are writing something with the intended audience of immature slack jaws then they might notice, otherwise you're fine.
     
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  17. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am so happy, you guys alleviated my fears totally. It's difficult for me to judge these things sometimes, because English isn't the only language I think in, and I also understand Russian (used to speak it reasonably fluently years ago) so I lose confidence trying to determine which part of me is making naming decisions.

    @obsidian_cicatrix : Interesting you mentioned that about Luka. I had a really dear friend called Luka when I was in school, he became a notorious criminal when he grew up. I found out only recently when I saw it on the news and saw his picture, I was deeply shocked. When I kew him, he was tough, already failed a couple of grades, in a gang, a scar on his forehead etc, but to me he was so gentle and protective, I remember him exactly as you described it.
     
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  18. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    More manly?
    Vlad, Ivan, Boris
     
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  19. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Garball : None of those would work, because I have family and exes with those names so I'd have trouble getting their faces out of my head. Sergei is manly enough, as long as it doesn't induce Beavis and Butthead style sniggering :D
     
  20. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I pronounce it like Sair/gey when I read it aloud. So, no problem for me! I've read a few books with Sergei's in them. As long as you have an ounce of cultural awareness, I don't see anyone having a problem with that name.
     
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  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've known and known of many sergeis, as it's a common russian name, but have never even thought of it suggesting what you think some readers might think of how it's pronounced... to me, it's pronounced simply 'sehr-gay'...

    i'm with others above in saying you shouldn't agonize over what a few idiots would do to the name, when 99.99% of the readers of your book will not...
     
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  22. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I think it would only ruin the novel if his name was Serbengei.
     
  23. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it had never even occurred to me that Sergei could be "Sir Gay" but it will now. Thanks a lot, @jazzabel !!! :rolleyes::D
     
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  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    My pleasure @chicagoliz :D

    The truth is, my husband, being a public school English boy at heart, has just had a ball thinking off variations on 'Sir Gay'. I dare not repeat any of it here because they are just ridiculously puerile. This is where I got my paranoia from. o_O
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Who cares if you make Beavis and Butthead gggle and snort?
     

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