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As the title says, why are the surname and patronymic formed from Яков Яковлев and Яковлевич instead of *Яковов and *Яковович? Where did this -л- come from? Is it simply because Яковлев(ич) is more euphonious than *Яковов(ич)? If so, аre there other examples where words or names formed from a root add an -л- through the same process by which it was added to Яков?

Also, am I correct in thinking -л- was chosen for the same reasons -л- shows up in certain first-person verb conjugations, i.e. оставить --> оставлю?

Спасибо заранее.

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  • Phonetic hypothesis seems valid; cf. surnames Ивлев, Кузовлев. – mustaccio Oct 22 '16 at 0:27
  • nice, never though about it – shabunc Oct 24 '16 at 12:05
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Surnames and patronimic names were formed with suffixes. The mystery of the surnames Ивлев(Иевлев) and Яковлев is explained in the book by Убенгаун Б.О. Русские фамилии. They were not formed directly from Christian names (Яков, Иов), but from the adjective with the suffix -л(ь)- meaning "belonging to "(Яковль, Иевль). We can still see this suffix in the names of old Russian cities (Ярославль-belonging to Ярослав (the king). They say the usage of two patronimic suffixes helped to avoid pronunciation difficulties.(-овов).

Яков--Яковль--Яковлев--Яковлевич.

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  • the name of the town of Путивль must be of the same patterm – Баян Купи-ка Oct 22 '16 at 7:37
  • Sure, Переяславль, Путивль, perhaps some more. – V.V. Oct 22 '16 at 7:47
  • Ярославль is not 'belonging to' but rather the name itself, eh? – bipll Oct 24 '16 at 20:12
  • @bipll: no it's not. The person's name is Ярослав and Ярославль is something that belongs to him. – Quassnoi Oct 25 '16 at 12:09
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Also, am I correct in thinking -л- was chosen for the same reasons -л- shows up in certain first-person verb conjugations, i.e. оставить --> оставлю?

Exactly, this is so called "epenthetic l". It was inserted in Proto-Slavic between a labial consonant and j, and is common for East Slavic languages in all positions, and all Slavic languages in the first syllable.

That's why we have word pairs like земля / земной, рубль / рубить, травля / травить etc.

If so, аre there other examples where words or names formed from a root add an -л- through the same process by which it was added to Яков

Any root ending in a labial (б, п, в, ф, м) would add it if the paradigm requires putting a j after it.

The paradigm which gave Яковлевич is not productive anymore, however you can see it fossilized in the names like Ярославль, Переяслявль, Лихославль etc.

If we take any productive paradigm, say, the one you mentioned, we can see it applies even to the words borrowed long after the Proto-Slavic split: графить / графлю / графлёный etc.

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  • "Exactly, this is so called 'epenthetic l'. It was inserted in Proto-Slavic between a labial consonant and j, and is common for East Slavic languages in all positions [...]" Thanks for the answer. I'm a little unclear still, however, on why there was a "soft" consonant (е) after Яков to begin with, thus requiring the epenthetic l. Isn't it customary to append -ович to non-palatalized consonants? Since о is a hard vowel (no preceding /j/), wouldn't that render the epenthetic l unnecessary? Basically my question is why was -евич being added to Яков and not -ович? – Гамлет Бененгели Oct 22 '16 at 1:17
  • @Гамлет: that's a contamination of two possessive endings: older in and newer in -ев/-ов. See the names listed in the Primary Chronicle: Вуефастъ Святославль, Улѣбъ Володиславль, Шибьридъ Алдань would have been Святославов, Володиславов and Алданов nowadays. Яковлев is a mix of the two paradigms. It's not productive anymore: Magnus Nyren's Russian patronymic was Олафович, not *Олафлевич – Quassnoi Oct 22 '16 at 10:57

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