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

The Influence of the Soviet Era on the Use of Estonian First Names

Annika Hussar
Tallinn University (School of Humanities), Estonia

The use of first names by Estonians is characterised by large variation and rapid turnover.
There are many artificially created names and new names are easily borrowed from other countries. There were no restrictions on the choice of names after the war except for the number of names. There could be a maximum of two first names, and these had to be connected with a hyphen. Parents were often urged not to give two first names to their children, and in certain periods giving two first names was prohibited (directly after World War II and in the middle of the 1980s).
The choices of names by parents were also affected by other factors besides restrictions by law. In the years 1945–1990, there were two periods where Estonian names dominated. In the 1950s, Estonian names that were very popular in the 1930s became fashionable again. The local variants of international names and borrowed names became particularly popular in the 1980s, and this was seen as a reaction to the pressures of Russification. While Estonians borrowed names very easily and from many languages, they did not choose Russian names for their children.

anthroponomastics, first names, Estonian name usage, Soviet era

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