Funny family names

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Lada
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Lada » 2013-12-13, 12:24

Levo wrote:Not for us though, but maybe for Indo-Europeans it can sound funny that many family names in Hungary are nation-words. Like "German Oszkár" (Német Oszkár), or "Russian Kornélia" (Orosz Kornélia - I had a classmate with this name), "Slovak Gábor" (Slovak Gábor - another mate from university, etc...) and we have a bunch of those nation-names...

In Russia there're surnames of nation origin as well. The most popular one is Поляков(а) - Polyakov(a) - son of a Polish man, some others are Чехов (Chekhov) and Французов (Frantsuzov).

The most funny surname coming to my mind is Вагина (vagina), the female form for Vagin. The stress is on the first syllable, though people usually change it on the second to make this word sound as "vagina". But the word вага (vaga) being the origin of this surname is just outdated Slavic word for scales, weight and many other decent words. :)

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Re: Funny family names

Postby vijayjohn » 2013-12-13, 22:18

OK, I didn't know that about any of those names, and the only one I've heard (I think) is Chekhov, but I don't think there's anything unusual at all from a Western (or even Eurasian) perspective in having a last name that conveys nationality. One of the professors in my department has the last name "England." There's also "François Hollande" in France. ("French Holland"? Or, in a (however ineffective) attempt to do justice to the archaicness of "françois," "Frenshe Holland"?). And names of regions seem to be pretty common surnames throughout Eurasia. Even one of my sister-in-law's (Indian) family's friends has the surname "Punjabi" (and he's not even Punjabi! I think he said that surname was given to him by mistake).

Anyway, I've already mentioned my own family name (not my last name!) before: Chelikuzhiyil, meaning 'in the mud pit' in Malayalam. Another surname that's pretty common among Tamils is "Chokkalingam." I'm pretty sure that literally means 'handsome penis', but lingam can also specifically refer to the penis of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, which is worshipped pretty widely among Hindus along with the yoni (his wife's vagina).

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Re: Funny family names

Postby linguoboy » 2013-12-13, 22:36

vijayjohn wrote:Even one of my sister-in-law's (Indian) family's friends has the surname "Punjabi" (and he's not even Punjabi! I think he said that surname was given to him by mistake).

I'm not surprised. Obviously, a surname like this would be of very limited use someplace with a sizable ethnic Panjabi population. The bigger the place, the farther you have to get from it before a name indexing it becomes practical. In German, for instance, names like "Berliner" and "Frankfurter" tend to be (a) recent (most often adopted by German Jews in the 19th century) and (b) relatively rare. (I can't even think of many derived from ethnonyms. "Ungar", "Schwede", "Däne". Again, none of them at all frequent.) So given this, some apparent ethnonyms actually have metonymic origins. "German Fred" could be the Fred who traded with the Germans or who spent some time there even if his origins lie elsewhere.
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Levo » 2013-12-14, 1:20

Lada wrote:
Levo wrote:Not for us though, but maybe for Indo-Europeans it can sound funny that many family names in Hungary are nation-words. Like "German Oszkár" (Német Oszkár), or "Russian Kornélia" (Orosz Kornélia - I had a classmate with this name), "Slovak Gábor" (Slovak Gábor - another mate from university, etc...) and we have a bunch of those nation-names...

In Russia there're surnames of nation origin as well. The most popular one is Поляков(а) - Polyakov(a) - son of a Polish man, some others are Чехов (Chekhov) and Французов (Frantsuzov).

Ah, so that's actually meaning "Czech"! I didn't even know! I also didn't think about the meaning of Polyakov. Niiiice.

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Re: Funny family names

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2013-12-15, 12:00

There's this singer called Frans Duijts (French German) here :D
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Levo » 2013-12-15, 23:38

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:There's this singer called Frans Duijts (French German) here :D

Nice :D

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Re: Funny family names

Postby Varislintu » 2013-12-20, 13:11

Levo wrote:Not for us though, but maybe for Indo-Europeans it can sound funny that many family names in Hungary are nation-words. Like "German Oszkár" (Német Oszkár), or "Russian Kornélia" (Orosz Kornélia - I had a classmate with this name), "Slovak Gábor" (Slovak Gábor - another mate from university, etc...) and we have a bunch of those nation-names...


We have a few of those, but not many: Suomalainen (Finnish), Ruotsalainen (Swedish), Venäläinen (Russian), Virolainen (Estonian). Also Saksa (Germany), but it's a very rare one.
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Levike » 2013-12-20, 13:33

Varislintu wrote:We have a few of those, but not many: Suomalainen (Finnish), Ruotsalainen (Swedish), Venäläinen (Russian), Virolainen (Estonian). Also Saksa (Germany), but it's a very rare one.

You have quite condusing names. :?
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Re: Funny family names

Postby unikko » 2013-12-20, 14:05

Niemiec (German) is also common Polish surname. One funny surname I met in my home country was also Fiutak (in Polish it means "prick" + "-ak" ending) but I have no idea from which word it comes.
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Varislintu » 2013-12-21, 21:44

Levente wrote:
Varislintu wrote:We have a few of those, but not many: Suomalainen (Finnish), Ruotsalainen (Swedish), Venäläinen (Russian), Virolainen (Estonian). Also Saksa (Germany), but it's a very rare one.

You have quite condusing names. :?


You mean confusing? Surprisingly, they don't actually cause much confusion, thanks to context and word order conventions. :)
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Levike » 2013-12-21, 21:48

Varislintu wrote:
Levente wrote:
Varislintu wrote:We have a few of those, but not many: Suomalainen (Finnish), Ruotsalainen (Swedish), Venäläinen (Russian), Virolainen (Estonian). Also Saksa (Germany), but it's a very rare one.

You have quite condusing names. :?


You mean confusing? Surprisingly, they don't actually cause much confusion, thanks to context and word order conventions. :)

Confusing in the sense that they don't resemble how the majority of languages call those people.

I would have never guessed in a million years that Ruotsalainen could mean Swedish.
At first sight I would have said maybe Russian. :silly:
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Varislintu » 2013-12-21, 21:52

Levente wrote:
Varislintu wrote:
Levente wrote:
Varislintu wrote:We have a few of those, but not many: Suomalainen (Finnish), Ruotsalainen (Swedish), Venäläinen (Russian), Virolainen (Estonian). Also Saksa (Germany), but it's a very rare one.

You have quite condusing names. :?


You mean confusing? Surprisingly, they don't actually cause much confusion, thanks to context and word order conventions. :)

Confusing in the sense that they don't resemble how the majority of languages call those people.

I would have never guessed in a million years that Ruotsalainen could mean Swedish.
At first sight I would have said maybe Russian. :silly:


Ah, I see! Actually, I believe "ruotsalainen" and "russian" are related words, we Finns just used the word for a different country (if I remember correctly). Funny thing. :)
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Car » 2013-12-22, 12:17

Varislintu wrote:
Levente wrote:
Varislintu wrote:
Levente wrote:
Varislintu wrote:We have a few of those, but not many: Suomalainen (Finnish), Ruotsalainen (Swedish), Venäläinen (Russian), Virolainen (Estonian). Also Saksa (Germany), but it's a very rare one.

You have quite condusing names. :?


You mean confusing? Surprisingly, they don't actually cause much confusion, thanks to context and word order conventions. :)

Confusing in the sense that they don't resemble how the majority of languages call those people.

I would have never guessed in a million years that Ruotsalainen could mean Swedish.
At first sight I would have said maybe Russian. :silly:


Ah, I see! Actually, I believe "ruotsalainen" and "russian" are related words, we Finns just used the word for a different country (if I remember correctly). Funny thing. :)

So they're both just evil oppressors to you (at least historically speaking)? ;)
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Re: Funny family names

Postby kibo » 2013-12-22, 12:31

My own family name is a name for a nationality in my language. :)
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Levike » 2013-12-22, 12:51

Nationality names are quite common:

Moldoveanu = Moldovan +eanu

Ungureanu = Hungarian + eanu

Grecu = The Greek

Sârbu = The Serb

Rusu = The Russian

Turcu = The Turk
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Johanna » 2013-12-22, 19:07

Varislintu wrote:Ah, I see! Actually, I believe "ruotsalainen" and "russian" are related words, we Finns just used the word for a different country (if I remember correctly). Funny thing. :)

From what I've heard Ruotsi comes from "Roslagen", which is the area of Sweden closest to Åland, which in turn is part of one of the oldest trade routes between the eastern and the western shores of the Baltic Sea.

Then of again, the Rus- in "Russia" derives from a Norse root as far as I know, but I don't know in what way. So yes, they might be related.
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Varislintu » 2013-12-23, 11:24

Johanna wrote:
Varislintu wrote:Ah, I see! Actually, I believe "ruotsalainen" and "russian" are related words, we Finns just used the word for a different country (if I remember correctly). Funny thing. :)

From what I've heard Ruotsi comes from "Roslagen", which is the area of Sweden closest to Åland, which in turn is part of one of the oldest trade routes between the eastern and the western shores of the Baltic Sea.

Then of again, the Rus- in "Russia" derives from a Norse root as far as I know, but I don't know in what way. So yes, they might be related.


I refreshed my memory, and it all goes back to the old Swedish word for "to row", which is also present in the place name Roslagen. When Swedes settled along the rivers in Russia, the people of these settlements were called by that name as well. It was used in Sámi, Komi and Udmurtian, for example. Russians themselves also adopted the name, which gave us words like Russia.

Funnily, Swedes then borrowed that word back in "rysse", which was borrowed into Finnish as (the somewhat derogatory) "ryssä", so technically you could say Finns call both Swedes and Russians "rowers", at least in informal speech. :P
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Johanna » 2013-12-25, 23:46

Varislintu wrote:
Johanna wrote:
Varislintu wrote:Ah, I see! Actually, I believe "ruotsalainen" and "russian" are related words, we Finns just used the word for a different country (if I remember correctly). Funny thing. :)

From what I've heard Ruotsi comes from "Roslagen", which is the area of Sweden closest to Åland, which in turn is part of one of the oldest trade routes between the eastern and the western shores of the Baltic Sea.

Then of again, the Rus- in "Russia" derives from a Norse root as far as I know, but I don't know in what way. So yes, they might be related.

I refreshed my memory, and it all goes back to the old Swedish word for "to row", which is also present in the place name Roslagen. When Swedes settled along the rivers in Russia, the people of these settlements were called by that name as well. It was used in Sámi, Komi and Udmurtian, for example. Russians themselves also adopted the name, which gave us words like Russia.

Funnily, Swedes then borrowed that word back in "rysse", which was borrowed into Finnish as (the somewhat derogatory) "ryssä", so technically you could say Finns call both Swedes and Russians "rowers", at least in informal speech. :P

Ahh, cool :)

Now I wonder what word Finnish has for Geats :P
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Re: Funny family names

Postby Spaigelploatje » 2013-12-31, 4:00

Hmm, with some odd country connation:
Arantxa Rus - Tennis player - Arantxa seems Basque to me, Rus = Russian.

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Re: Funny family names

Postby samarqand » 2013-12-31, 9:19

There are some amusing surnames that I've seen here in Australia.

A few come to mind:
* Sickerdick
* Cockshell (although, this is pronounced Co-shell)
* Peecock (no joke, we know a family with this name... the surname comes from England. Very unfortunate!)

If I think of anymore later I'll make another post :)
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