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

Names in Contemporary Lithuanian: Valued Qualities and Their Changes

Daiva Sinkevičiūtė
Vilnius University


Due to the diversity of bases and meanings, Lithuanian names of the 20th and 21st centuries derived from personal features form a separate group of onyms. Their bases are adjectives with the following meanings: Dimension (aukštas ‘tall’), Age (jaunas ‘young’), Value (gražus ‘beautiful’), Color (margas ‘motley’), Physical property (garsus ‘loud’), Human propensity (drąsus ‘bold’), Speed (greitas ‘fast’), and Qualification (teisus ‘right, righteous’). The variety of Physical property and especially Human propensity adjectives from which names were derived grew during the period under study. This indicates a tendency to give names related to features of human character. Nevertheless, by the end of the 20th century and in the 21st century the semantic aspect of a name is not the main factor in naming a child: tradition and other factors are more important.
The most common names came from features that reflect external and, more often, internal beauty. The features expressed in names can be considered as the parents’ wishes for their children, at least in part. Peace, beauty, mercy, simplicity, chastity (purity) are important for Lithuanians. The importance of dignity, nobility of mind and joy has been evident since the middle of the 20th century. However, the most popular onyms’ personal features do not reflect the qualities most valued by Lithuanians: diligence and hospitality. Both have been changing in the 21st century. Changes are also affecting the structure of names derived from personal features at the end of the 20th century and in the 21st century: an increase in the number of short names and a decrease in the number of suffixed ones. This shows that the names derived from personal features reflect the changes in the formation of Lithuanian names.

Keywords Lithuanian names, adjectives, names from adjectives, name trends

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