Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Miss Shelter-From-The-Storm (a Russian name explained)

Zatuliveter reporting for RT, click to watch.

Katia Zatuliveter has been in the news in Britain for months, but presenters and newsreaders still stumble over her seemingly un-Russian looking/sounding surname.

It is indeed uncommon. To the point that one Russian name-deciphering web-site even says it is of Germanic or Jewish origin.

However the name's semantics are perfectly Russian and follow the pattern of many other compound surnames.

It consists of two parts zatuli- and -veter. The second part is clear enough – veter is wind.

The first is formed with the common root -tul- (-тул-, similar words: втулка - insert, притулиться - to huddle, сутулиться - to stoop one's shoulders) and equally common prefix za- (за-). The verb затулить is in many larger Russian dictionaries, including the largest one, the Dahl dictionary. Its general meaning is to cover, to shelter. Dahl gives this folk rhyme: Не велик муженек (хоть плох мужичек), да затулье мое: завалюсь за него - не боюсь никого! – My man may not be big, but he's my shelter/cover (zatulye), I fall behind him – and I'm afraid of noone.

Whatever her morals, at the appeal hearings she produced a wonderful adlib (BBC report here). In response to an allegation that her relationship with Mike Hancock, MP, was based on sex, she said: "I don't know how people usually have relationships but when I have a relationship, it's based on communication."

Examples of similarly constructed Russian names: Volkogon(ov/a) - Wolfbeater, Myaosyed(ov/a) - Beefeater, Dobrolyub(ov/a) - Goodlover, Dobrodey(ev/a) - Dogooder. 

And here is Bob Dylan singing his Zatuliveter hit song:

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