2022, Volume 19, Issue 3

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Maria V. Yasinskaya
Institute for Slavic Studies of the RAS
Moscow, Russia

Some Usage Features of Slovenes’ Personal Names in the Italian-Slovenian Border Area (Based on Field Research Materials)

Voprosy onomastiki, 2022, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp. 126–145 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2022.19.3.033

Received on 27 January 2022

Abstract: The author examines the data collected during field studies of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Italy, in order to retrace the use of anthroponyms (names and surnames) formed in this region in the 20th–21st centuries. The processes of Italianization at its various stages, including the period of fascism with the strictest prohibitions on Slavic identity in general, have had a huge impact on the modern composition of the Slovenes’ personal names in Italy. As a result of Italianization, surnames have been changed graphically (written according to the Italian orthography rules), as well as structurally (final letters were added or truncated, Slovenian suffixes were omitted) and semantically (translation was used, the internal form was destroyed while maintaining an approximate phonetic appearance). The names were either translated or used in their Italianized versions. As a result, there is a situation of two names being used in parallel in which the “home name” differs from the one used for the same person in official documents. Currently, the name choice is influenced by other factors, both linguistic and extralinguistic, depending on the life of Slovenes in a non-ethnic (Romanic) environment. On the one hand, there is a desire to regain Slovene names and surnames that has arisen in response to Italianization. On the other hand, this trend is opposed by various kinds of extralinguistic factors: bureaucratic difficulties faced by a person who wants to change documents; low level of national consciousness among some representatives of the national minority; the desire to provide their children with a more comfortable life in a Romanic environment, established traditions (especially for mixed families). When choosing a name for a child, Slovenes have to bear in mind that the name should be euphonious in both Slovenian and Italian (taking into account Italian phonetics). As an alternative, the option of having two names remains very common, nicknames derived from “house names” are still in use and they are opposed to surnames in official documents.

Keywords: anthroponymy; Slovenian language; Italianization; surnames; first names; two name using; Slovenes in Italy; isolated areas; identity.

The reported study was funded by Russian Scientific Foundation, project number 20-78-10030 The language and cultural contact during the social transformations among the national minorities in Alpine-Pannonian region.


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