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I am writing a story (set in the modern day) involving a Russian man who has an American girlfriend named Anna.

I'm trying to figure out what affectionate name he might use for her. Specifically:

  • Is there an appropriate diminutive form for "Anna" in this situation? I found this site, but there are many forms of "Anna". Is there an important distinction between them or is it just a matter of preference?
  • Is it common to use a pet/tender name instead of the diminutive? This site lists some, but doesn't provide context. For example, is “zvyozdochka” (little star) something you would use for a girlfriend or is it better suited to a small child?
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    You can listen for this mashine voice translate.yandex.ru/… and decide yourself, how to transliterate. – Avtokod Oct 21 '15 at 22:01
  • I like Annushka (Аннушка). You can meet this version of name in Bulgakov's "Master and Margarita". – Yuliya Jan 10 at 13:12
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Name Anna

  • Анна - formal
  • Аня - regular, informal (widely used by friends, parents, boyfriend)
  • Анечка, Анюта - maybe used by parents, close friends or a boyfriend (your case)
  • Ань! - regular, the vocative case, used just addressing/calling a person
  • Анют! - is like the previous one, but more cute

Others forms from the list, such as Аннушка, Ануша, Ануся, Нюня, Нюша, Нюта, may sound strange in modern Russian.

Pet/tender names

  • Звёздочка is possible, but rarely used. It's more like mother can call her child.

The most popular are:

  • Зайка, more popular Зая, vocative Зай! - a bunny
  • Солнышнко, солнце моё - a sun of mine
  • Родная моя, Роднуля - a relative of mine
  • Малыш - a little one
  • Thanks. How would Анечка be written in anglicized form? Anechka? Аня is Anya if I understand correctly. – Lynn Oct 21 '15 at 13:50
  • @Lynn I think it depends on your taste )) You should use English language transliteration tradition. Anechka and Anya look well for me though. – Roman Oct 21 '15 at 14:02
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    Upvote for mentioning vocative case (Ань). – Adam Bittlingmayer Oct 24 '15 at 8:25
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Анна is "Аня", "Анюта", "Нюша" and even "Нюра". From this one can derive even more "soft" forms like "Анюточка", "Нюшенька", "Нюрочка" etc.

So, basically all the forms mentioned on the page you've mentioned are valid. Stylistically there are very subtle differences but I guess that your story won't sound unnatural with any of these forms.

As of the second part of your question - "звёздочка" is not a regular noun used in cases of this kind. More likely "солнышко" or, talking of pets, "рыбка", "зайка", "котёночек", "котик".

  • солнышко looks promising. How would one write that in an English story? Like Анюточка would be Annochka if I'm reading that nickname site right. – Lynn Oct 21 '15 at 13:17
  • nope, Aнюточка is Anyutochka. – shabunc Oct 21 '15 at 13:45
  • Ah, my mistake. So how would солнышко be written? – Lynn Oct 21 '15 at 13:49
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    @Lynn solnyshko (pronounced more like "solnyshkah") – shabunc Oct 21 '15 at 14:11
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In the context of your story, Anechka and/or Anya are probably the best choices. Any more variations will probably confuse your non-Russian readers.

By the way, thank you for checking this. You are doing a great service to those of your readers who are familiar with Russian culture. Typically, seeing what English-language writers do with Russian names makes me cringe.

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