Le suffixe -on dans les noms de famille

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Woods
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Le suffixe -on dans les noms de famille

Postby Woods » 2017-02-24, 16:37

Hamon, Fillon, Mélenchon... Ça veut dire quoi le -on dans le nom de certains Français ?

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Re: Le suffixe -on dans les noms de famille

Postby linguoboy » 2017-02-24, 18:05

Woods wrote:Hamon, Fillon, Mélenchon... Ça veut dire quoi le -on dans le nom de certains Français ?

It depends on the name. In some cases, this is a survival of the Latin suffix -ōnem used to form cognomina and nicknames (e.g. Cicerō). In French, the suffix acquired diminutive force. Fillon, for instance, is a diminutive of fils.

But Mélenchon isn't originally French. The name originated in Murcia (there's a town called Los Melenchones near the Murcian seaport of Águilas) and may be a derivation of Melendo, a hypocoristic form of Hermenegildo.

Hamon is another hypocoristic, this one of Germanic origin, consisting of a suffix -on (cognate to the Latin one discussed above) attached to the first element of any one of a number of Frankish names beginning in Haim- (Haimrich, Heimrad, Heimbert, etc.).
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: Le suffixe -on dans les noms de famille

Postby Woods » 2017-02-24, 21:04

How do you know all these things :)

So, in the general case, it would be a suffix originating in Latin which denotes that the word which has taken it was a nickname, and later on became a surname; but there would be some exceptions?

I just realised there are too many surnames ending with -on and wanted to find out if this would mean something in particular (like -son would mean that the person is of Scandinavian origin.)

According to Wikipedia, in Catalan and Italian “cognom and cognome mean "family name"” – interesting.

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Re: Le suffixe -on dans les noms de famille

Postby linguoboy » 2017-02-24, 21:29

Woods wrote:So, in the general case, it would be a suffix originating in Latin which denotes that the word which has taken it was a nickname, and later on became a surname; but there would be some exceptions?

I think that's a fair enough summary. But like I said, you really need to know the history of the name in question. For instance, the most common French surname ending in -on is Simon, where it's simply part of the stem (Hebrew שִׁמְעוֹן or Greek Σίμων; the corresponding version with the diminutive ending -on is Simonon or Simenon).
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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