Edwin D. Lawson, former president of the American Name Society, has put together a bunch of free, downloadable .wmv files to teach you the pronunciations and meanings of hundreds of Russian, Azeribaijani, Estonian and (West Siberian) Tatar names.
For instance, the male name Bahtiyar [pron. bahx-TEE-yahr] is used by Tatar speakers and comes from a Turkic root meaning “followed by chance.” (Tatar is a Turkic language.)
The files are available at Lawson’s SUNY Fredonia page. Here are the direct links:
- Russian Names, e.g., Ksenia (f) “hospitality.”
- Azerbaijani Names, e.g., Ogtay (m) “arrowlike.”
- Estonian Names, e.g., Helju (f) “floating, soaring.”
- Tatar Names, e.g., Tazelbanat (m) “crown of girls.”
Lawson also wrote an interesting essay about religious and patriotic name usage in Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Azerbaijan over the course of the 20th century.