My grandfather, who is a Russian from the Smolensk region has an interesting manner of speaking.

One of the peculiarities is his use of the -ом/-ем suffix for masculine nouns and proper nouns in instrumental case that initially would have -ой or -ей when speaking about doing something with someone. I.e. "с Юрком" (vs "с Юркой"), "с Сашем", "с Жорком", "с папом" (с папой), etc.

Could this be an alternative form that's in use in some region, or that came over from another language, such as Ukrainian? Or is it an obsolete archaic form? Or is it just his own invention?

  • 1
    Where does the stress fall in Юрком in your grandfather's speech?
    – Quassnoi
    Mar 1 at 3:38
  • Ю́рком. In all of those words he stresses the first syllable.
    – Curiosity
    Mar 1 at 19:04

I'm not aware of particularly Smolensk-area dialects (and I know very little about them in general quite honest) however what you are describing is not that unimaginable.

In northern group of Russian dialects following happens:

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Smolensk-area dialect does not belong to northern group of dialects. However! This quote: "этот тип склонения ... встречается и в некоторых говорах северного ареала Западной группы южного наречия" is actually a good hint that similar process might have happened in Smolensk as well. Also, based on your evidence, this pattern holds true with wider range of nouns, not only with "-ушк"/"-ишк" suffix.

Also - Ivan is not wrong and this has traces in colloquial speech. One can say something like: "Мы сегодня с Юрком и Никитосом ходили в кино" without analysing whether they say "Юрком" because they've used "Юрок" form of just because it's something more complicated.

  • Wow, great find! That does seem plausible region-wise, they could have extended the use to words without -шк- in those rural areas.
    – Curiosity
    Mar 1 at 19:01

I live in Bryansk region and I've met a similar dialect near the border with Belarus. Maybe it has something to do with it.

  • Smolensk is pretty close to Belarus, that's a definite possibility!
    – Curiosity
    Mar 18 at 18:56

I think it's a colloquial kind of declension (i.e. one of many deviations from established grammar rules observed in everyday speech). From my experience, native speakers use such forms occasionally regardless of their geography. Although it might be more common in some areas more than in others.

Perhaps, linguists on this forum can give more informed (correct) answer to this, but from a layman's POV it sounds like an element of informal speech not derived from another language or old Russian.

  • That is my uninformed opinion as well, and I couldn't find anything online from my searches so you might be right.
    – Curiosity
    Feb 28 at 21:42

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