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  • Oops! correction! I forgot that when that -yonok suffix is added to words ending in d or d', things can happen. The -dy- sometimes turns into a -zh- (the -z- sound in azure). So the offspring of the medved' (медведь) is a medvezhonok (медвежонок), plural medvezhata (медвежата). My apologies for the faulty information. Since I moved to Slovenia, my Russian has gotten rusty (that sounds like a cocktail, doesn't it: I'll have a Rusty Russian).

    September 20, 2008

  • Thanks for the Russian lesson, rolig! I had a semester of it in college (100 years ago or so), but forgot all of it, including how to pronounce the letters... Gah! But I still think it's one of the most beautiful languages to hear.

    I only have one medvedyonok, unless you count my dogs, which I treat like babies, but then, they wouldn't have the same ending, would they?

    September 20, 2008

  • Yeah, you can add the suffix -yonok (–ёнок) to pretty much any Russian name for an animal (humans and dogs are notable exceptions) to produce a name for its young. Thus, dinozavryonok (динозаврёнок) would mean "baby dinosaur" (from dinozavr динозавр), and a medved' (медведь, "bear") would give birth to a medvedyonok (медведёнок, "bear cub"). What's curious about this suffix is that it forms a plural as -yata (–�?та). Thus, mamontyata, dinozavryata, medvedyata (мамонт�?та, динозавр�?та, медвед�?та) – "baby mammoths, baby dinosaurs, baby bears."

    September 20, 2008

  • "After a few minutes, enough silt had washed away for them to get a good look at the carcass. Logachev's eyes flashed. 'Mamontyonok!' he is said to have cried. A baby mammoth!"

    —Richard Stone, Mammoth: The Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant, (Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Publishing, 2001), 14

    September 20, 2008