Onomastics in Interaction With Other Branches of Science. Volume 2.

Lettische Familiennamen deutscher Herkunft

Renāte Siliņa-Piņķe
Institut für lettische Sprache der Universität Lettlands


Latvian Surnames of German Origin

Due to historical circumstances, the German language has had a large impact on Latvian surnames. Surnames of German origin constitute the second largest group of Latvian surnames – after those of Latvian origin. Unfortunately, this group is not yet adequately researched; most publications on Latvian surnames discuss those of Latvian origin.

This article offers an insight into surnames in Kurzeme, a region of Latvia. The particular group under analysis are the surnames of German origin registered in Kurzeme in the 1935 census. This group is rather heterogenous, and the etymologies of some surnames have several hypothetic versions. In many surnames, German nouns or adjectives are easily recognizable, e.g., Apfelbaums < German Apfelbaum ‘apple-tree’, Langzāms < German langsam ‘slow’, or Veiss < German weiß ‘white’. For many of them, there exist corresponding German surnames as well. Many of these surnames are compounds, often with a second component such as -bahs (< German Bach ‘brook’), -bergs (< German Berg ‘hill’), -dorfs (< German Dorf ‘village’), -felds (< German Feld ‘field’), -šteins (< German Stein ‘stone’) and -tāls (< German Tal ‘valley’).

There are hybrid compounds, too. Among them, there is a specific group with the second component -sons (< German Sohn ‘son’), because t hey rarely have corresponding G erman surnames. Their first component often is a Latvian first name, and they seem to have arisen during the period when Latvians were assigned their surnames.

Keywords family names, Latvian, German, Low German, borrowings

Ta strona wykorzystuje pliki cookies.

Dowiedz się więcej...