Ви розмовляєте українською?
August 29, 2006 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Need help translating a Ukrainian grave marker.

My girlfriend found her great-grandfather's grave; the marker is in Ukrainian, which neither of us read. She copied down the inscription (I apologize for her failure to include line breaks); can anyone shed some light on what this says?
Василь Сорохан is the name of the deceased, Vasil Sorochan. I know that Грудня is December and my girlfriend looked up память—it means memory—but we're stuck on the rest.

Thanks in advance. (Camino's Cyrillic rendering is awful. What the hell?)
posted by Zozo to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If nobody else can help by the morning, I can have one of my coworkers look at it in the morning. (I work with people who can read/speak every European language.)
posted by arco at 5:53 PM on August 29, 2006

Best answer: Here lies
Vasily Sorohan
Born 28 December 1880 in Nasirniiy?
Passed away 17 December 1926 at Kolomyia commune?

God Remember Him

Courtesy of my Russian co-worker and Вікіпедії
posted by infinitewindow at 6:03 PM on August 29, 2006

Best answer: Tut spochivaye [R.B.?] Vasil' Sorokhan Rod.V. nazirni 28 grudnya 1880 roku pov. Kolomyya upokoivsya 17 grudnya 1926 roku vichna yemu pamyat'

Here rests R.B. Vasil Sorokhan born [V. nazirni?] 28 December 1880 [pov.?] Kolomyya, died 17 December 1926 R.I.P. (vichna yemu pamyat' = eternal memory to him, the Eastern Orthodox equivalent of "rest in peace")

Kolomyya is a town in western Ukraine.

Sorry about the bracketed bits I can't work out (I know Russian, not Ukrainian), but hopefully this is will hold you till a Ukrainian speaker shows up.

On preview: infinitewindow and I came up with pretty similar renderings, but I have a pretty detailed map of the Ukraine and there's no Nazirni/Nazirny on it; also, Kolomyya is a misto—I don't know what the "pov." stands for. But again, I Am Not A Ukrainian Speaker.
posted by languagehat at 6:12 PM on August 29, 2006

I'm guessing the birthplace would be Nazirna (Назірна) in the Kolomyya district^.
posted by gubo at 6:14 PM on August 29, 2006

I know this won't help (with more than a few words), but you can use BabelFish to do russian translations, if you need to in the future.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:38 PM on August 29, 2006

I just did a Google search for Nazurna (another spelling of Nazirna) and there are two hits related to the Sorochan family on the first page of results (the links are dead but the Google caches work).
posted by gubo at 6:50 PM on August 29, 2006

Response by poster: Oh, wow, gubo. I'm passing those Google cache links onto her right now.
posted by Zozo at 8:07 PM on August 29, 2006

Best answer: "Pov." Is short for "poviat", which is an administrative district. Birth, marriage, and death records are available for Kolomyya (also spelled Kolomea or Kolomyja) for free through your local Mormon/LDS family history center, on microfilm.

My great-grandma was from there. :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 8:26 PM on August 29, 2006

I can't make any sense of пов. [pov.] either. Unless it's really поб. [pob.], in which case it's likely short for поблизу [poblyzu] 'near'.

A quibble with this interpretation is that the case ending on Коломия is not a correct genitive for modern standard Ukrainian; it's the same as the nominative. But even in the standard literary language you get -я endings that are the same in nominative and genitive. (Most of them are -ття or -ння words, but IIRC there are others.) It could be a Russism, or perhaps a Slavonicism (IANA fluent Church Slavonic reader).

The ending on Назірнї is also not standard Ukrainian either, and also looks Slavonic to me. Writing -ся as a separate word is either a Polonism or a Slavonicism; the spelling єму is either a Ukrainian-spelled Russism or (guess what) a Slavonicism. Given these facts, I'm willing to let the ending of Коломия slide.

I can't imagine what в [v] would be an abbreviation for either, but without a period it's perfectly good Ukrainian for 'in'.

While we're checking alternate spellings, try Nazorna; Ukrainian plays fast and loose with i/o alternations in closed syllables.

That leaves R.B. as our biggest remaining mystery. I have no idea what it might stand for. Anyone else?
posted by eritain at 8:45 PM on August 29, 2006

Whoops, should've previewed. Asparagirl wins.
posted by eritain at 8:47 PM on August 29, 2006

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