How should the suffix of feminine surnames, e.g. Морозова, be considered from an etymological perspective?

Are -ов and etymologically distinct morphemes or parts of a single one?

  • -ов is suffix, -а is ending.
    – Anixx
    Sep 6, 2022 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


It will be formed as the possessive form of a name or nickname:

Иван: Иванова дочь Марья. Мороз: Морозов сын Василий.

is a distinct morpheme — an ending denoting case. The masculine nominative form is empty, but it becomes non-empty in other cases: (кому?) Иванову vs. Ивановой.

  • I am assigning surnames to their etymological roots. My query is. Should a name like Иванова be given as coming from the elements Иван + -ов + -а. Or would it be more correct to create a suffix (?) -ова (which in turn comes from -ов + -а)? On the Russian Wiktionary, they use -ов + -а. Sep 15, 2022 at 14:59
  • 1
    -ов- is a suffix and -а is an ending (a distinct morpheme). "Иванов" just has an empty ending in nominative case.
    – alamar
    Sep 15, 2022 at 15:13

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