The Thread pp 44-48 | Cite as


  • Philip J. Davis


I have already told how I answered John Begg’s criticism of my spelling of Tschebyscheff. My reply must have satisfied him or put him off, for it terminated the correspondence. In my answer, I alluded to a similar problem of transliteration that exists for Tschebyscheff’s first name and his patronymic. In the weeks that followed, I kept thinking about Tschebyscheff’s first name: Pafnuty. Pafnuty, Pafnuty, Pafnuty. Curious name, is it not? It sounds peculiar. In American ears it sounds almost silly. There are not too many Pafnutys around in the telephone book. Not too many around in the Moscow telephone book, I’d wager, assuming there were a telephone book in Moscow, which until recently there was not. I was fairly familiar with Russian names. The Vladimirs, Pavels, Pyotrs, Dmitris, Sergeis, Vassilys, the Nikolais posed no problems for me. I could even manage with a Vyacheslav, Myacheslav, Svyateslav, or Vsyevolod. The Igors, Alexanders, Leonids, Timofeys were duck soup. But Pafnuty? What have we here? What kind of a name was Pafnuty? Pafnuty had me stopped cold.


Saturday Morning Friday Afternoon Phone Book Detective Story Telephone Book 
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© Birkhäuser Boston 1983

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  • Philip J. Davis

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