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  5. "Я не знаю её фамилию."

"Я не знаю её фамилию."

Translation:I do not know her last name.

November 14, 2015



This is a false cognate, if ever I've known one. Фамилия means not "family", but rather "last (family) name". The word for "family" is семья.


Right, I just fell for that one :D


and it goes against all my language intuition


I think of фамилия as family name, which is usually the surname of a person


Fun fact: apparently, the original (and now obsolete) meaning was actually "family" (https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/фамилия).

In the meantime, "family" got a suffix and became фами́лия +‎ -ный (https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/фамильный#Russian).


фамилию is accusative here.

[deactivated user]

    yes and so is the pronoun proceeding it. once I learned the case endings and learned to identify them Russian became much easier to read (feminine accusative: U/YU


    фами́лия [fɐˈmʲilʲɪjə] Note how the final я is reduced to a schwa. Does this always happen when the stress falls on the preceding syllable (analogous to o-reduction)?


    Would surname work or is that a different word...


    Surname should work.

    [deactivated user]

      it just worked for me, and I am happy.


      Based on some of the other exercises in this skill... Можно сказать «Я не знаю её фамилии»? (Using the genitive case of фамилия).


      Yes, it's a bit less common way to say it, but not incorrect.


      Is there some table to understand better the cases and the relative endings? Please, going crazy over here!


      I particularly liked this one, which was posted by someone else in another excercise: http://www.russianlessons.net/grammar/nouns_nominative.php

      The other cases are linked on the page.


      Dnagashi's linked site is great for explanations. For quick reference, I prefer https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_declension. Even quicker and as a handy, light and laminated sheet that can be carried around during commuting: https://de.pons.com/grammatik-wortschatz/pons-grammatik-auf-einen-blick-russisch-978-3-12-561908-1/russisch. You don't need to understand German to use it.


      It includes declination tables of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, prepositions - these definitely don't require knowledge of German. It also includes explanations of verbal conjugation - I think you can only use those if you understand German, or already know the Russian rules and are using the cheatsheet for reference. Same goes for the included information on word order in different types of propositions (affirmation, negation, interrogation), the info on numbers and the translation of conjunctions.

      Size: 3* double-sided A4 sheets. Cost: 5€ (worth every cent :)


      I'm just curious. Is it not enough to say "I do not know her name"? Or should we also say "What is your last name"?


      I think " family name" should be accepted.


      -ный is a suffix that is tagged on to convert a noun/ verb into an adjective. The alternative form - used when the ending is stressed - is -но́й.

      Variants occur in certain cases:

      • When the stem ends in a velar/ ц -> palatisation.

      • "A stem ending in -л turns into -ль before the suffix; contrariwise, all other stems ending in -ь lose this."

      • Special rules concerning change of stress [that I'm not ready to deal with yet].



      The list of Russian words with the suffix -ный is gigantic. So it's probably quite a good idea to learn the declension table by heart https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/-%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B9#Russian.

      The stressed form has less words.


      Я не знаю её фамилии. It is correct in Russian.

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