Is there any rule in Russian on how to put stresses on last names in conjugation, precisely in Accusative?

What's the right way of saying: про Шария or про Шария?

It looked logical to me that since "-я" is merely an ending of Accusative and is not found in the base form (Nominative) "Шарий", the stress should remain on the letter, which is not an ending ("Камаров" - "про Камарова", "Гусев" - "про Гусева", "Путин" - "про Путина", "Жеглов" - "про Жеглова"); however, the owner of this last name has recently claimed that the right way is "про Шария" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsSERuc_tnc&t=118s), which surprised me quite a lot.

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    I'm sure there is no rule. It's all sort of "conventional". I mean you say it, like most people around you say it (unless you for some reason want to do otherwise). For the last names the main factor to affect the pronunciation is how a name's owner pronounce it himself, generally. As for Шарий, most people, whom I know, say Шария. May 29, 2017 at 3:36
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    at the same time Берия — Берии, Гамсахурдия — Гамсахурдии May 29, 2017 at 3:46
  • @user907860 - Can you come up with any example in Russian when the stress would slide to the ending in Accusative?
    – brilliant
    May 29, 2017 at 5:43
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    examples are numerous with (at least) sort of "Ukrainian" last names (to which "Шарий" belongs). Кулик — Кулика, Кролевец — Кролевца. But, for instance, Змеевец we usually do not conjugate, so Змеевец — Змеевец (in the accusative). This is a matter of convention and personal preference in many cases, I wouldn't be surprised, if I met a man, who pronounced his last name as: Змеевца May 29, 2017 at 5:54
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    There is a whole bunch of surnames of Ukrainian origin ending in stressed -ий: Шарий, Топчий, Повалий, Кучмий etc., which decline according to the nominal rather than adjectival paradigm when masculine and don't decline at all when feminine. Apparently they all use Ukrainian agentive suffix -iй, as in водiй "driver", носiй "carrier, medium" etc.
    – Quassnoi
    May 31, 2017 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


Yes, there are plenty of Russian names and common words where the stress shifts to the ending in Accusative:

  • Карамзи́н – Карамзина́
  • Зализня́к – Зализняка́
  • Гришкове́ц – Гришковца́ (with the fleeting vowel -e- dropped)
  • кузне́ц – кузнеца́ ('blacksmith')
  • врач – врача́ ('doctor')
  • бегу́н – бегуна́ ('runner')
  • коро́ль – короля́ ('king')
  • кома́р – комара́ ('mosquito')
  • лев – льва́ ('lion', with the fleeting -е- dropped and -ь- inserted)
  • орёл – орла́ ('eagle', with the fleeting -ё- dropped)
  • Христо́с – Христа́ (with -ос dropped which is a feature unique to this word).

Note that all words above have stress on the last syllable in Nominative.

What's the right way of saying: про Шария or про Шария?

Apparently, the guy prefers to be called Шарий. In this case the rules of Russian stress do allow a shift to the ending (буга́й - бугая́). And yes, there are rules in the placement of Russian stress, it is not completely random: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H3ynNOoGiA

  • Sorry, would you remove "стола́" from your list, since it's not Accusative?
    – J-mster
    May 29, 2017 at 13:52
  • Done. My mistake, thanks. Although the same principle holds for other cases as well: стол - стола́, столу́, столо́м, столе́. May 29, 2017 at 21:17
  • with лев I think initially in Pra-Slavic there were short vowels, like in Bulgarian. When the short vowels got extinct in Russian in Nominative that vowel was the only and thus got extended to full vowel, in other cases the full vowel was added with endings and thus the short vowel got removed. Though wiki scoffs at this my hypothesis - see 3.6 at ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Arioch
    May 30, 2017 at 15:36

Yes, a personal name often retains its initial stress position. A stress position depends largely on a 'country of origin' of a personal name.

The rule works also with loan words, e.g. a lot of personal Latin or latinized names retain their initial position of a stressed syllable, which, for most -ий-ending two-syllable words of anciet origin, is a first one:

Кáссий - о Кáссии / про Кáссия

Дáрий - о Дáрии / про Дáрия

Клáвдий - о Клáвдии / про Клáвдия

However, the surname Шарий is a Ukrainian one with a stressed и and is thus close to Russian adjectives of the types вторóй, малóй, литóй, святóй, etc.

(The shift from o to i seems to be typical archaic trait for Ukrainian as a proof for Balto-German-Slavic proto-unity).

Besides, an owner of a name should be given a priority in defining its stress.

The correct form is therefore про ШарИя.

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    It completely depends on stress position in the name of a particular person. Here's a famous enough athlete Валерий Шарий: ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Alex_ander
    May 29, 2017 at 13:21
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    Шарий is not close to adjectives. It would be if its Accusative were Шарого, but it's not. For both Anatoly and Valery it's Шария. May 29, 2017 at 22:08
  • Cf. Belorussian Шарый. An etymological resourse gives for the Ukrainian surname an explanation as derived from 'ширiй' = 'gray'.
    – Manjusri
    May 30, 2017 at 12:22
  • "It would be if its Accusative were" - no. When the word is "cloned" into another class, its flexing patterns often change accordingly. Compare любовь/Любовь -> любви/Любови
    – Arioch
    May 30, 2017 at 15:42

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