Anyone who knows any of the Slavic languages usually has no trouble with this. To make it phonetic for an Anglophone, it would be pronounced:
with "Bee" and "yell" squashed together, emphasis on the "EYE" and soft "ff" at the end, almost like a "v" but not quite. A reasonable first approximation is to just say the letters B-L-I-F, hence the alias and nickname "Blif".
What is its origin?
The origin of the name is Russian and the root of the name (Biela) translates to "White" (cf Byelarusse, White Russia). The convoluted spelling arises because my father (his father was Russian) was brought up in Poland and that is how his family spelled it in the Polish alphabet. When my father immigrated to Canada, he did not anglicize the name.
Being almost completely ignorant of Russian and languages in general, I don't know what a literal translation of my name into English would be. Whitson? Whitmore? Whitrash???? If anyone has deeper insight, I'd really appreciate it.
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