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Why Radosław, not Czesław?


polonius 54 | 420
6 Nov 2012  #1
Naming patterns go in waves, but are they entriely spontaneous or arbitrary? To what extent is a name's sound and association a factor? What is behind the fact that Polish baby boys nowadays are occasionally named Stanisław, Radosław and Przemysław (very old first names!), but rarely if ever Czesław, Zdzisław, Bolesław, Władysław. Wacław or Zygmunt.

Why did Kasper, the traditional name ascribed to one of the Three Kings, get changed to Kacper? Why are the otehr two (Melchior and Baltazar) rare used today?

Not many Poles realise that Genowefa shares the same root as Jennifer. Genowefa is very rare in Poland nowadays.
Apostolic names continue to be popular in Poland (Jan, Mateusz, Piotr, Paweł, £ukasz, Maciej, Andrzej, Jakub, etc. but Tadeusz (Juda) is not. Of course, Judasz is an obvious no-no.

Baby girls often get New Testament names: Maria, Anna, Magdalena, Elżbieta or those of popular saints -- Katarzyna, Barbara, Teresa, but not Jadwiga. Anyone know why?
zetigrek
6 Nov 2012  #2
Generally people don't want their kids to have:

- odd names (with few ecxeptions)*
- oldfashioned names (but there is "a but" too)*

Every name has its renessaince occasionally. It's when some part of society thinks it would be good to commemorate a grandfather or (rarely) a grandmother by giving a name to a child. That's why names such as: Jan and Antoni (two most popular names of the 20s generation) has becoming increasingly popular. I don't know why grandmothers are discriminated against in this area. Even though I love my grandmothers I would not give any name of them to my children, because for me those names sounds too oldfashioned.

Just checked and according to "Fakt" Stanisław is 5th popular name given to newborns... I guess in hounor of a grandpa :)

*There are 2 groups of people who like odd name:
- people of artistic backgrounds (or those who have "artistic souls") - they tend to give classic but rare names, or names which appear "snobbish" (Jeremi, Jonasz, Roch, Ludwik).

- people of low social class - they tend to give foreign sounding names (Brajan, Andżelika, Roksana, Nikola) or made-up names (however under Polish law they are not allowed)

Czesław, Zdzisław, Bolesław, Władysław, Zygmunt are passe because they are the name of our parents generation (late 40s, 50s, early 60s)

Radosław and Przemysław were fairly popular 2-3 decades ago. The popularity of them will dwindle.

I think that Kacper became popular because of popular cartoon about a friendly ghost :) Besides that it has a very modern (=short) sound. As you certainly noticed there is a noticeable trend of short two-syllable names: Maciej, Jakub, Szymon, Marcin etc.
OP polonius 54 | 420
6 Nov 2012  #3
Why do you think Józef (once the most popular of names) and Kazimierz (another top choice at one time) are rarely encountered today. Is it the Józef Stalin or Piłsduski connection?

The worst are the fly-by-night pop culture names such as Violetta or Isaura which soon become passé.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
6 Nov 2012  #4
Some names just start sounding old-fashioned and/or slightly funny. That's all there is to it really. Józef, Czesław, Zenon all belong to this club along with the likes of Genowefa or Jadwiga. They all sound pre-WW2 and have a hint of mothballs about them. Who knows, in a few years our perception may change again and there'll be tiny Jadzias and Zeneks all over the place.
RougeCake - | 3
6 Nov 2012  #5
Why did Kasper, the traditional name ascribed to one of the Three Kings, get changed to Kacper?

No big reason for that I think. From what I know, It came to Poland in ~13th century as Kasper (Gaspar?) and with time countryfolk changed spelling to Kacper. Wikipedia mentions two famous Poles from 16th and 17th centuries with names Kacper and Kasper respectively, so the change could have happened around that time.

Not many Poles realise that Genowefa shares the same root as Jennifer. Genowefa is very rare in Poland nowadays.

Genowefa is not Jennifer in straight line (wiki for some reason links Polish Genowefa to Juniper and there you have explanation that origin of these names is different). As Jennifer is 'modern' version of Guinevere, it would be Ginewra (and we don't have modern version of that). The closest English equivalent of Polish Genowefa seems to be Genevieve (French), which comes from germanic Genowefa/Kenowefa. As for its lack of popularity, I would assume that it comes either from its 'old' vibe (from the perspective of younger people) or from Polish comedian Bronisław Opałko who performs as Genowefa Pigwa (old countrywoman).

pre-edit: Magdalena pretty much summed up why some names lose popularity.
Also, some Poles tend to name their children after characters from popular TV series (but I presume it's common in other countries too) which might give a rise in popularity of some odd/old names.
sobieski 107 | 2,129
6 Nov 2012  #6
Our dog is named Zygmunt :)
OP polonius 54 | 420
9 Nov 2012  #7
Stanisław has made a moderate come-back, but not Stanisława? Why?
Some have labeled names such as Zygmunt, Czesław, Jadwiga and Genowefa as old-fashioned. OK. Which names to the mordern Polish ear these days sound pretentious?

For instance Andżela (however it's spelt), André, Pamela, Bruce?
zetigrek
9 Nov 2012  #8
Andre??? Bruce?! I've never heard such names in Poland.
Bieganski 17 | 901
9 Nov 2012  #9
I thought there are elements here on PF who would be applauding the decline and extinction of Polish names of Slavic and pagan origin.

The assault on such traditional names first began centuries ago with the Christianization of Poles and other Slavs and the religious edict to have converts and newborns named after ancient and alien Hebrew personalities or members of their following band of gentile zealots.

/wiki/Slavic_names

Names in Poland

After banning the usage of native non-Christian names (ordered by Council of Trent), Polish nobility (especially Protestants) tried to preserve traditional names, such as Zbigniew and Jarosław. Ordinary people, however, tended to choose names solely from the Christian calendar, where there was only a few saints' names of Slavic origin, like: Kazimierz (St. Casimir), Stanisław (St. Stanislaus), Wacław (St.Wenceslaus) and Władysław (St. Ladislaus). Names which referred to God (e.g. Bogdan, Bogumił) were also allowed.

People can blame whimsey, pop-culture or multiculturalism for the swings in popularity of traditional names but the damage was done a very long time ago.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
9 Nov 2012  #10
the damage was done a very long time ago.

Not true, there are actually more "pagan" or "Old Slavic" given names around now then there used to be. I used quote marks because a lot of these names are actually no more than 100 - 150 years old, made up in a Slavic Revival sort of moment during the partitions. Just think of Lech, Leszek, Lechosław, Bożydar, Bogumił, Przemko, Przemysław, Bogdan, Bohdan, Dobromił, Miłosz... and that's just the men...
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
9 Nov 2012  #11
Magdalena, are any of the names you've listed younger than 150 years old?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
9 Nov 2012  #12
I couldn't say - but I would be rather suspicious of Lechosław, Bohdan, maybe Miłosz (for example). It's difficult to track and trace such names because they are often created on the basis of older, similar sounding ones.
Bieganski 17 | 901
9 Nov 2012  #13
The name Bogdan/Bohdan with the root "Bog/Boh" is as old as any of the Slavic languages it is used in.

The name Lech was first mentioned in the Chronicle of Greater Poland written in 1295; which means it usage was occurring well before it was documented.

The Council of Trent (mentioned in my first post to this thread) which banned the usage of native non-Christian names occurred between 1545 and 1563.

The first partition of Poland occurred in 1772.

These names may have been revived but they certainly weren't "made up" in the 18th century onwards. What names were Poles using then before Christianity and the Council of Trent?

They predate Christianity which in turn suppressed their usage over the generations. Any revival of these ancient names was done to acknowledge and honor the earliest days of Polish history which is an understandable motive. But being creative with the names of your offspring during times of upheaval doesn't make any sense at all.

My original post cited that Polish nobles were very keen to preserve traditional pre-Christian Polish names. Since they owned most of the land it only stands to reason that they would also want to preserve the culture and heritage which developed on it. We can see examples of this today in the descendants (love them or hate them) of szlachta who are still with us such as Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński, Bronisław Maria Komorowski and Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski.

Their given names weren't just fashionable in the era they happened to be born in. Their linage goes back much longer than that. If anyone looks at the lives of real aristocrats it's evident they are interested in continuity and more often than not they don't give a toss what the rest of society thinks especially some jumped-up bible bashers or nouveau riche artists and scholars.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
9 Nov 2012  #14
These names may have been revived but they certainly weren't "made up" in the 18th century onwards.

I said "some". Lech is old, but I really doubt that Lechosław or Lesław are. Bogdan is old, not that sure about Bohdan. The list goes on.

Funny that none of them were called Bożydar, Kościsław, Lechosław or Dobromir. Maybe because these names have "romantic fake" written all over them?
Bieganski 17 | 901
10 Nov 2012  #15
Funny that none of them were called Bożydar, Kościsław, Lechosław or Dobromir. Maybe because these names have "romantic fake" written all over them?

You don't provide any context or references to your posts and started by lumping all of the names together. Are there particular people in history you are referring to who had these particular names?

From what I could find Bożydar is equivalent to the Serbian form Božidar. Dobromir was the name of a ruler of the Vlachs (present day Romania) way back in the 13th century. Poles could have borrowed these names for any given reason such as marrying a Serb or Romanian who had one of these names or their ancestors did.

Kościsław and Lechosław might be more recent additions but I couldn't find anything to support this or refute it.

None of these four names are common but could also have been chosen as a way to express that secular values (i.e., not "church approved") were held important by the parents who gave it to their children and not because they were "romantic fakes".

In any event these names you decided to separate from your original list don't disprove any of my earlier comments.
Zibi - | 336
10 Nov 2012  #16
I somehow miss the name Kiejstut. Clearly of lithuanian origin. Sounds nice.
strzyga 2 | 993
10 Nov 2012  #17
A recent media discovery: Gniewomir Rokosz-Kuczyński. Sounds great, doesn't it? Definitely puts Gromosław Czempiński into shade. Why, oh, why didn't I name my son Mściwój?
boletus 30 | 1,366
10 Nov 2012  #18
Bogdan is old, not that sure about Bohdan.

Bohdan is just a phonetic variation of Bogdan in Ukrainian and Belarusian.

Bogdan transliterated from Latin to Cyrillic gives Богдан.
But Г is pronounced H in Ukrainian and Belarusian, while G in Russian.
БОГДАН transliterated back (from Ukrainian and Belarusian) to Latin gives BOHDAN.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2012  #19
There are also names which are associated badly: Adolf, Alfons, Alfred, Wacław...
OP polonius 54 | 420
10 Nov 2012  #20
Why are Alfred and Wacław associated negatively?
Bieganski 17 | 901
10 Nov 2012  #21
Alfred is too "Olde English".

Wacław (aka Václav) is too Czech.

Both carry the stamp of "Roman Catholic Approved".
Zibi - | 336
10 Nov 2012  #22
Both carry the stamp of "Roman Catholic Approved".

What? I, for one, never had such an association.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
10 Nov 2012  #23
Alfred is too "Olde English".

No, it's too hoity-toity. BTW, it's an old pagan Anglo-Saxon name meaning "Counsel / Wisdom of the Elves" so the Roman Catholic approved thingy simply doesn't stick.

Wacław (aka Václav) is too Czech.

Really? I thought it would be the rather naughty associations of the diminutive, "Wacek" (Willy or Dick would be the English equivalent in terms of meaning) ;-)

Both carry the stamp of "Roman Catholic Approved".

Why do you keep dragging the RC into everything? Are you a militant Pagan? ;-)
Bieganski 17 | 901
10 Nov 2012  #24
No, it's too hoity-toity. BTW, it's an old pagan Anglo-Saxon name meaning "Counsel / Wisdom of the Elves" so the Roman Catholic approved thingy simply doesn't stick.

Really?

St. Alfred the Great - catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1262

Really? I thought it would be the rather naughty associations of the diminutive, "Wacek" (Willy or Dick would be the English equivalent in terms of meaning) ;-)

St. Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia - catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2040

St. Wenceslaus - catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=592

Why do you keep dragging the RC into everything?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavic_names - Names in Poland

After banning the usage of native non-Christian names (ordered by the Council of Trent), Polish nobility (especially Protestants) tried to preserve traditional names, such as Zbigniew and Jarosław. Ordinary people, however, tended to choose names solely from the Christian calendar, where there was only a few saints' names of Slavic origin, like: Kazimierz (St. Casimir), Stanisław (St. Stanislaus), Wacław (St.Wenceslaus) and Władysław (St. Ladislaus). Names which referred to God (e.g. Bogdan, Bogumił) were also allowed.

I'm just stating facts.
OP polonius 54 | 420
10 Nov 2012  #25
Here are as few of the names given to newly born infants in Warsaw as reported in the 10-11 Nov 2012 issue of Gazeta Wyborcza:
Kamil, Boleslaw, Jasio, Zosia, Hania, Alan, Ania, Aleksandra, Anielka, Katarzyna, Bartosz, Dawid, Lucja, Natali, Sebastian, Przemek, Piotrek, Maja, Maciej, Joanna, Sznmus, Antos, Oliwier, Dawid, Filip, Gabriela, Ola, Hania, Nadia, Gabriel, Milosz...
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
10 Nov 2012  #26
Really? St. Alfred the Great

Really. It is a name of pagan Anglo-Saxon origin no matter what happened to it later.

So because Czechs and Poles happen to share a given name, Poles don't use it because it's "too Czech"? Balderdash, my dear Watson.

Names in Poland

One Wiki article is enough to convince you?

You're not stating facts at all, my friend. Even the Polish version of this article is slightly different. Another wiki article:

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzieje_imion_w_Polsce
An interesting read.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2012  #27
Alfred is too "Olde English".Wacław (aka Václav) is too Czech.

LOL. No...

Alfred is a name for a butler while Wacław have the same problem as Richard in English... diminutive form is commonly used to call a certain part of a male body ;)

Alan

I forgot to add that name to my "special care" list. It should follow Brajan and Nikola ;)

Nadia

Yeah, recent craze - Russian names! Lena, Nadia, Natasza... other examples?
Bieganski 17 | 901
10 Nov 2012  #28
Really. It is a name of pagan Anglo-Saxon origin no matter what happened to it later.

A man with a pagan name who became a Christian. He lived from 848 - 899. The Council of Trent occurred 1545-1563.

It was not uncommon for the church to take converts and make them saints for propaganda purposes in order to appeal and be relevant to a local population. The RC did this again recently with a follower named Kateri Tekakwitha who was an American Indian.

There are other followers who did change their name while they were still alive. St Adalbert of Prague (956-997) is one example. His real name was Vojtěch (Wojciech) and changed it to Adalbert in honor of his mentor Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg.

I've often heard and seen accounts that Adalbert is the equivalent of Wojciech in other languages but this is of course completely erroneous.

So because Czechs and Poles happen to share a given name, Poles don't use it because it's "too Czech"?

Yes while there will be others who would be turned off by the name due to its overly Catholic connotations.

You're not stating facts at all, my friend. Even the Polish version of this article is slightly different.

Yes, slightly indeed; as in not much different from what I already stated. This other article actually reinforces what I already posted. Specifically, the replacement of native names with Christian approved names:

Wraz z nastaniem chrześcijaństwa imiona rodzime zaczęły być stopniowo wypierane przez imiona chrześcijańskie.

As well as the process of non-Slavic names being Polonized or Slavic names being substituted with Greek or Latin equivalents:

Czasami tłumaczono obce imiona na język polski (np. Feliksa na Szczęsnego) lub identyfikowano imiona słowiańskie z łacińskimi lub greckimi (np. Lasotę z Sylwestrem, Żegotę z Ignacym).

And this other article you shared includes what I've already posted about the banning of native non-Christian names per the diktat of the Council of Trent:

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzieje_imion_w_Polsce

It was only due to newly found patriotism during the era of partition in the 19th century that there was interest in reviving traditional Polish names. The revival came from priests who had previously fought hard to prevent traditional names from being used:

W XIX wieku księża katoliccy, którzy wcześniej ze względów religijnych zwalczali stare imiona słowiańskie, zaczęli je teraz ze względów patriotycznych (zachowanie polskości w okresie zaborów) propagować.

You mentioned that many new names were "made up" during this later partition. However, rather than being artistic and inspirational interpretations, the very long passage of time actually resulted in errors being made with these names when they were revived since their original forms were lost from public consciousness for centuries:

So, to sum things up, many ancient Polish names of Slavic and pagan origin will be lost forever thanks to the actions of religious zealotry from centuries ago. The few that have survived will most likely continue to decline in popularity as Poland becomes more and more influenced by outside cultures where sometimes the only way to stand out in the crowd is to take a sandblaster to your own heritage and identity and parade around in the Emperor's new clothes. The result? You eventually lose everything and worse so do future generations.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
10 Nov 2012  #29
Are you Polonius in disguise? ;-p
pip 10 | 1,661
10 Nov 2012  #30
Poland becomes more and more influenced by outside cultures

I don't think it has anything to do with outside cultures. It seems to happen in all cultures. There are trends in names. Some are really stupid trends. My kids have atypical Polish names. Not popular or trendy.....yet. But because we are a two culture family we wanted names that would be the same in both Polish and English.

In fact, when my husband went to register my daughter after she was born- the woman that worked in the office told my husband she didn't like my daughter's name. I can't even imagine somebody saying this to me.

Personally I like interesting names. Seriously, for teachers it must be a nightmare having 8 Asia's in one classroom.

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