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Russian surnames ending in -в used to be transliterated for English speakers with ff, e.g. "Petroff" and "Prokofieff". Today v seems more accepted. None of the various modern and historical Romanization systems listed in Wikipedia appear suggest ff.

Was this an exception based on the sound's position at word end? I gather there is a phonological case for using the letter f, but apparently doing so is out of style in the age of formal standards.

Which sort of romanization resulted in the ff and when was it in use?

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  • Asking why exactly in particular language N Russian surnames are romanized this particular way is actually not about Russian language. – shabunc Jan 29 '17 at 6:53
  • Aaron, actually you are asking about why in English Russian last names are usually spelled with -ff - but it's actually not a question about Russian at all. – shabunc Jan 29 '17 at 6:55
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    I think it was popular among those who targeted German language rather than English. The -ff ending would make them look more Germanesque. There is a lot of words ending with -off in German, such as "Stoff", "Hoff" etc. – Anixx Jan 29 '17 at 9:22
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    Yes, I also heard that -ff ending was because of German language. Actually English as a base language for transliteration is used during last 25 years. Before that time (in USSR) the official transliteration standard was based on French language. – Artemix Jan 29 '17 at 9:51
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