Replies: 34 - Last Post: Dec 4, 2012 10:57 AM Last Post By: tonieja
Nov 15, 2012 3:41 PM
Nov 15, 2012 4:29 PM
1I think that names in Polish take gender endings just as they do in Russian, which would mean that she was the Countess Walewska. Her father and any brothers would have had the name Walewski.
An example in Russian is the novelist Tolstoy, a Count. His wife Sofia was the Countess Tolstaya. In fact, one of Tolstoy's great works was "Anna Karenina," the heroine of which is the wife of a man named Karenin.
Nov 16, 2012 12:07 AM
2Slightly off-topic, but I remember seeing in the window of a bookshop in Prague a Czech translation of a book by Margaret Thatcher. The name of the author was given as "Thatcherova". I was surprised that this is done even with the names of non-Czech (or generically non-Slavic) women.
Nov 16, 2012 12:39 AM
Nov 16, 2012 12:42 AM
4It's like in #1 post:
Walewska - feminine
Walewski - masculin
Countess Walewski wouldn't be correct. Either countess Walewska or count Walewski.
The Polish equivalents are 'hrabia' (count) and 'hrabina' (countess).
Thatcherova - as feminine form. #2 post,
Not all Slavic languages add that ending. Polish doesn't. She could be called so in Polish, if, say, she lived in Poland and was your neighbour. But, even then not necessarily.
Popular family name in Poland and Czech Rep is Nowak/Novak. In Czech female form would be Novakova, but in Polish it would be unchanged as Novak, at least officially in documents, id, etc.
Nov 16, 2012 1:30 AM
Nov 16, 2012 6:21 AM
6Apparently the Slovaks do the -ova (in Slovak -ová) thing too. The soprano Edita Gruberová must have had German ancestors named Gruber.
Not all that relevant, but I don't want to miss a chance to link to la Gruberová.
Nov 16, 2012 12:16 PM
I almost laughed when I read that so many Jewish names ended in -sky or -ski. Thinking back to the neighborhood where I grew up, I couldn't even come up with one -sky or -ski who wasn't a Russian or Polish Christian. Karpinsky? Roman Catholic. Kaminsky? Russian Orthodox. Holewinski? Roman Catholic. A fair number of Jews in our neighborhood, but their names were Friedman, Greenberg, Lazar, Levin, Litvin, Rosenberg, Rosenfeld, Schultz, Weiss, and Zakon.
Nov 16, 2012 12:51 PM
Nov 16, 2012 1:38 PM
Nov 16, 2012 1:52 PM
10Poets Louis Zukofsky, Robert Pinsky, and Joseph Brodsky.
Novelist Jerzy Kozinski
Playwritght Paddy Chayefsky
Cellist Gregor Piatagorski.
Conductors Serge Koussevitski and Artur Rodzinsky
Composer Henryk Wieniawski.
Judge Alex Kozinski
Mafia financier Meyer Lansky
Still I never thought of it as a typically Jewish name ending,
Edited by: VinnyD several times as names kept coming to me
Nov 17, 2012 8:35 AM
Nov 17, 2012 8:56 AM
12Some surprises up there. I didn't know that the cellist Grigori Pavlovich Piatigorsky was Jewish. I just found out that his father was Isaac Abramovich Piatigorsky, a Jew who converted to Christianity and took the name Pavel Ivanovich, thus in effect changing both his own name and that of his father.
Nov 17, 2012 10:43 AM
13In Mexico, "...ski" names are somewhat associated with being Jewish simply because the vast majority of Eastern European immigrants to Mexico were Jewish. Of course not all Mexican Jews have names ending in ski, but many do. Some examples: Jacobo Zabludovsky (Mexico's Walter Cronkite), Emmanuel Lubezki, Marcos Moshinsky.
And a non-Jewish example along the lines of the OP: Elena Poniatowska.
Nov 19, 2012 1:35 AM
The rules on when Czech women with non-Czech surnames do and don't get the -ová ending in official documents has also changed, though depending upon the situation they may not be able to resist it. My wife, in taking my name when marrying me, has been permitted to have her name on her Czech documents without -ová, since this is now permitted when marrying a foreigner. I think had I been Czech she would have been required to have the ending regardless of the language of my name. My daughter has the option of using the -ová ending or not as she chooses: we were able to write that into the marriage certificate. Though for the moment my daughter does not have Czech passport, etc, as the British ones were much cheaper and quicker to obtain, living outside Czechland.
There is a funny story I heard on the radio of a Czech woman marrying an Englishman in earlier times when the Czech authorities were more insistent on the -ová, and thus become Smithová (or whatever the name was) in her Czech documents. When they came to live in Britain, the British refused to accept that -ová was just a grammatical ending and that, in English, they should read her documents as evidence that she was Mrs Smith. So her British documents were first issued as Smithova (without the accent, as the British don't recognise that). She had to change her name by deed poll to lose the -ova and become Mrs Smith in England.
In case you get the false impression that all Czech/Slovak female surnames are in -ová, actually only about 90% are. The main alternative are names that change -ý to -á, as for the tennis player Jana Novotná. A few are invariant, especially those that end in -a in the masculine. Though in general only -ová would be used on foreign names.
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