What Mary calls the "loving form" of a word is more formally called a "diminutive form". The diminutive form of a word implies that the thing referred to is particularly small, delicate or cherished. Diminutives are very frequent in Rusyn and other Slavic languages. In these languages many ordinary nouns and nearly all personal names have diminutive forms. Usually, the diminutive form of a word is formed by some change to the end of the word. For example, "vjetka" means "branch of a tree" while its diminutive form, "vjetochka" means a "small branch or twig". Occasionally, the diminutive form of a word has obtained a meaning that has changed slightly from the word from which is is derived. "Kooma", for example, means "godmother" while its diminutive "koomooshka" can even mean "gossipmonger".

Personal names can have many diminutive forms. There are several ways of forming diminutives. Putting "-ish" after the stem of a name is one way - making "Marish" from "Maria". Putting the ending "-ka" after a name is another way. So "Marishka" is actuallly the diminutive of a diminutive. Both Marish, or "Mauresh" as Mary spells it, and "Marishka are common diminutives for "Maria". Below are the diminutive forms of a few other names:

Eva - Evka, Evoonia, Yevtsia
Ivan - Ivanko, Vanja
Oksana - Oksanka
Peter - Petro, Petrush
Hanna - Hanka, Hanush
Anna - Anja
Olena - Olenka

Another interesting feature of the Rusyn language (and Ukrainian) is that personal names can occur in a form which language specialists call the "vocative case". The vocative case is a special way of saying a name in order to get someone's attention. In spoken English this is done by saying the name in a loud tone of voice. In written English this same function is served by the addition of a "!" after the person's name, like "Bob!" In Rusyn and Ukrainian the vocative case is formed by putting a special word-ending on the names. Some common ways of forming the vocative case are by adding the sound "ye" like in "yet" or "oo" as in "boot" to the ends of the names. These endings can be adding even to the diminutive forms of names. Thus when calling Ivan one might say Ivankoo.


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