The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / USA, Canada  % width posts: 48

Feminine surname endings in America?


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,449
18 Aug 2010  #1
From my observation, most female Polish immigrants wtih names ending in -ska Kowalska, Lewandowska, etc.) have -ski in their US citizenship papers and other American documents. My question is the following: is that merely by custom and personal preference or is there a US law mandating that -ska names msut be changed to -ski? Anyone know?
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
18 Aug 2010  #2
there a US law mandating that -ska names msut be changed to -ski? Anyone know?

Yes there is law against it, I read it in a book by Davies in Europe: east and west.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,389
18 Aug 2010  #3
is that merely by custom and personal preference or is there a US law mandating that -ska names msut be changed to -ski?

i would imagine that it was automatic to give one name to all family members... based on the husband, father, senior male.
if Americans don't or didn't use the Polish system then the compromise is as above.
however, the rule is probably written in law.

genealogy.com
ancestry.com
ellis island records .....may have the answer.
plk123 8 | 4,150
18 Aug 2010  #4
didn't we already talk about this before? it was your thread too.. but it's a preference, just like everything else in america..

however, the rule is probably written in law.

no

Yes there is law against it, I read it in a book by Davies in Europe: east and west.

not at all.. there is no such law
trener zolwia 1 | 940
18 Aug 2010  #5
My question is the following: is that merely by custom and personal preference or is there a US law mandating that -ska names msut be changed to -ski?

Nope. Absolutely not. Unlike P-Land, America has no naming laws whatsoever.
For first names one can name their child any old stupid scattered mess of letters they can come up with -and many do these days. American blacks are known for naming their kids ridiculous things like this. Old joke says that they toss Scrabble tablets and name their kids whatever letters come up. Lol...
mafketis 19 | 7,002
18 Aug 2010  #6
I thought that first generation lady immigrants from Poland (and presumably Pepikistan) keep the female form of the name but their female children born in the new country take the father's name.

I hadn't heard of female immigrants changing their name and if they do it's probably because of concerns about confusing people that don't know Polish.

I did know an Asian woman who married a Polish man and officially used the masc form of his name (in Poland) because her country's government required husbands and wives to have exactly the same family name.
David_18 68 | 982
19 Aug 2010  #7
Yah kinda fun to see that some women got Ski in their surname, WIERDOOOS!!!

But how can a zero cultured redneck understand something like that?
trener zolwia 1 | 940
19 Aug 2010  #8
I thought that first generation lady immigrants from Poland keep the female form of the name but their female children born in the new country take the father's name.

Maybe so. But as we have no such laws, any changing of names upon immigration here is due to cultural traditions in the emigrated land.

Many women here don't even take the husband's sirname upon marriage anymore. I suppose this makes things easier come divorce time.
Even children born here don't automatically take the father's sirname anymore. There are so many out of wedlock babies born these days that sometimes the tramp doesn't even know who the father is, so the kids will be recorded with the mother's sirname.
plk123 8 | 4,150
19 Aug 2010  #9
but their female children born in the new country take the father's name.

again, not necessarily

But how can a zero cultured redneck understand something like that?

what's that have to do with anything? it has more to do with the english language and tradition.

sirname

surname, you dolt
trener zolwia 1 | 940
19 Aug 2010  #10
surname

Once I realised my mistake I knew one of you would take that easy shot.
I guess you gotta try to get them however you can... Petty.

Btw, in US we don't use the term 'surname' so much, so it's not that familiar. We generally just say first name/ last name.
David_18 68 | 982
19 Aug 2010  #11
what's that have to do with anything? it has more to do with the english language and tradition.

It's about respecting other cultures. Kowalski/Kowalska

Example: People in Poland Would think that Victoria Kowalski would be an transvestite if she would visit her ancestral country since she is using the masculin form in her surname... Is that fair?
mafketis 19 | 7,002
19 Aug 2010  #12
Yeah, I think 'surname' in American English sounds kind of artificial or old-fashioned, people say 'first name' and 'last name'. That's often the case even on official forms.

Do Brits really use 'surname' or is it a fossil left over from language textbooks?

People in Poland Would think that Victoria Kowalski would be an transvestite if she would visit her ancestral country

No, partly because a large number of Polish people don't know what transvestites are (or confuse them with transsexuals). And also because enough Polish people know that Polish names tend to revert to the masculine singular outside of Poland.

If Victoria Kowalski were to visit Poland, almost everyone would just assume she's the child of Polish emigrants.
trener zolwia 1 | 940
19 Aug 2010  #13
Do Brits really use 'surname' or is it a fossil left over from language textbooks?

I've seen the term on PF more than anywhere in my life. Polonius uses it all the time. But then, he's a nameologist... Lol, or whatever they're called. (-calling petty leg humper Plk123 for another cheap shot!)

It's about respecting other cultures. Kowalski/Kowalska

In that we have no such laws, this would fall to the immigrant themselves.

Wait, let me get this straight... You guys are saying that in P-Land a woman always changes her last name (surname) to feminine version when she gets married? She has to by law??
mafketis 19 | 7,002
19 Aug 2010  #14
There are two separate issues.

1. It's generally expected that women change their names when they get married, though not all do and some just add the husband's last name to their own.

2. Some, not all, Polish names have distinct masculine and feminine forms. Basically these are adjectives ending in -cki or -ski in the masculine and -cka or -ska in the feminine. (well leave off plurals for the moment as there are other complications there).

There used to be other endings for wives and daughters but these aren't really seriously used anymore by anyone under 50.

So if Anna Nowak marries Jerzy Kowalski, she'll be Anna Kowalska. If she marries Jerzy Kaczmarek though, she'll be Anna Kaczmarek. Basically it's like the traditional American system AFAIK except that some names have different forms depending on the sex of the person.
trener zolwia 1 | 940
19 Aug 2010  #15
mafketis

Interesting. Thanks.

Is that the law, or just a cultural rule?
Kinda weird that a woman changes her last name and not even to her new husband's name, technically.
Add to this the Polish rules (laws?) pertaining to first names... They have to be from an approved list... girl names must end in 'A'...

See, that's all foreign to us as we don't get into feminine and masculine surnames at all. And there are certainly no restrictions on first names...
plk123 8 | 4,150
19 Aug 2010  #16
Example: People in Poland Would think that Victoria Kowalski would be an transvestite if she would visit her ancestral country since she is using the masculin form in her surname... Is that fair?

who gives a crap since she doesn't "live" in PL..

Btw, in US we don't use the term 'surname' so much, so it's not that familiar. We generally just say first name/ last name.

yes, i am guessing HS was hard for you, wasn't it? lol

(-calling petty leg humper Plk123 for another cheap shot!)

see above. haha

She has to by law??

law or not, female always gets a feminine everything.. same as in espanol
see mafketis above for exceptions.

Kinda weird that a woman changes her last name and not even to her new husband's name, technically.

technically it IS his name.. just the fem form of it.

girl names must end in 'A'...

not always.. similar exceptions to the surname ones.
trener zolwia 1 | 940
19 Aug 2010  #17
law or not, female always gets a feminine everything..

But is it a law or just a cultural rule? Must a women do it?

It's ok if you don't know. You can just say so. No biggie. Not like anyone will get a lesser opinion of you than they already have...
mafketis 19 | 7,002
19 Aug 2010  #18
But is it a law or just a cultural rule? Must a women do it?

Must do what? I'm pretty sure a woman can keep her name if she wants to, on the other hand, I can't imagine a Polish woman living in Poland wanting to use the masculine form of a -cki or -ski name.

Now I relly don't know what the rules for a woman born in Canada as Anna Kowalski would be if she wanted to get a Polish passport.

One advantage of using the feminine form is it can be declined while Kowalski can't decline as the last name of a woman.

Anna Kowalska
Annę Kowalską
Anny Kolwaksiej etc

but

Anna Kowalski
Annę Kowalski
Anny Kowalksi etc

Generally Polish people perceive Kowalski and Kowalska as different forms of the same name (like Smith and Smith's, Smiths and Smiths' are different forms of the same name in English) and not two different names)

All add that Czechs are far more extreme than Poles in this regard. Virtually all Czech last names have specific male and female forms Czechs routinely modify the names of non-Czech women to conform to their system so you'll see references to Hillary Clintonova or (my all time favorite) Doktorka Quinnova.
trener zolwia 1 | 940
19 Aug 2010  #19
Generally Polish people perceive Kowalski and Kowalska as different forms of the same name (like Smith and Smith's, Smiths and Smiths' are different forms of the same name in English) and not two different names)

Ok, but try puting that on an official form over here and it wouldn't be accepted, the clerk or computer will reject it as a different name.

Czechs routinely modify the names of non-Czech women to conform to their system so you'll see references to Hillary Clintonova

They even change others' names when refering to them??! Now that's just getting crazy! :D
siuniab
19 Aug 2010  #20
Now I relly don't know what the rules for a woman born in Canada as Anna Kowalski would be if she wanted to get a Polish passport.

Having gone through this incredibly frustrating process recently, government bureaucrats WOULD NOT ALLOW me to take the feminine form of my surname (and yeah, Canadians are actually familiar with the term), even though I speak the language and use the feminine form in the Polish community.

My Polish birth certificate had to be transcribed in an identical fashion to my Canadian one. I was not allowed to change the first letter of my surname to £, even though I had my father's Polish birth certificate where the £ is clearly evident.

Idiotic bureacrats.
mafketis 19 | 7,002
20 Aug 2010  #21
I was not allowed to change the first letter of my surname to £, even though I had my father's Polish birth certificate where the £ is clearly evident.

I used to know a Polish women whose last name was different than the rest of her family's. It seems the hospital made a mistake in filling out their forms (it was an odd name of non-Polish origin) and changed a ch to an h (or vice versa).

The family looked into changing it but utlimately decided it was far easier to have one member with a different name....
Olaf 6 | 956
20 Aug 2010  #22
i would imagine that it was automatic to give one name to all family members... based on the husband, father, senior male.

Oh, but it is the same name! It is just the lack of cases (almost) and conjugation in English that makes Americans unable to understand that there are e.g. feminine and masculine forms of nouns, names including. So Mrs Kowalska and Mr Kowalski have the same name, and the are Mr and Mrs Kowalscy.

But as I always say - and this is not just my opinion but a linguistic correctness - one should use the rules and grammar of the language s/he is communicating in - even with foreign names. That is why in Polish the foreign names should always be conjugated. In English - no, as there is no possibility.
trener zolwia 1 | 940
20 Aug 2010  #23
It is just the lack of cases (almost) and conjugation in English that makes Americans unable to understand that there are e.g. feminine and masculine forms of nouns, names including.

Yep. We don't play that over here.
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Aug 2010  #24
But is it a law or just a cultural rule? Must a women do it?

neither.. it's a linguistic rule.. it's the feminine form..

Now I relly don't know what the rules for a woman born in Canada as Anna Kowalski would be if she wanted to get a Polish passport.

kowalska

Ok, but try puting that on an official form over here and it wouldn't be accepted, the clerk or computer will reject it as a different name.

kind of.. a bit of an explanation and it's not a problem

They even change others' names when refering to them??! Now that's just getting crazy! :D

poles do to

Having gone through this incredibly frustrating process recently, government bureaucrats WOULD NOT ALLOW me to take the feminine form of my surname (and yeah, Canadians are actually familiar with the term), even though I speak the language and use the feminine form in the Polish community..

on polish docs or canadian ones? if polish and you have polish paperwork that specifies the "£" then that's just weird..

Yep. We don't play that over here.

like i said, kind of.. both of my parents use their own forms and it doesn't seem to be an issue whatsoever... but sometimes people are surprised when i tell them who my mom is as they don't recognize our names as being the same..
trener zolwia 1 | 940
21 Aug 2010  #25
both of my parents use their own forms and it doesn't seem to be an issue whatsoever... but sometimes people are surprised when i tell them who my mom is as they don't recognize our names as being the same..

Ok. Then you would have firsthand knowledge of this. One can understand the confusion it could cause. It's something most of us have never had to deal with or even thought of...
k2kwiatkowska
12 Nov 2011  #26
The reason their documents say "ski" instead of "ska" is because the difference in the masculine and feminine spelling of polish surnames is not recognized in both America and UK governments. In order to get any form of identification you have to either produce your birth certificate or your marriage certificate. Birth certificates have mothers maiden name and fathers name and marriage certificates have husbands name. Therefore, if the fathers name ends in ski, then the daughters name ends in ski and likewise with the husbands name.
teflcat 5 | 1,032
12 Nov 2011  #27
There is an increasing trend among Polish brides to keep their surname and to add that of their new husband. This can result in very long names. My wife was told by the bank that they couldn't get her full name on her cards and that she would have to choose one surname or the other. They relented when she pointed out that if she did that, the name on the card wouldn't be hers.

Another option, apart from the woman simply not changing anything, is for the husband to change his name to that of his wife, although I can't imagine that is done very often.
Natasa 1 | 580
12 Nov 2011  #28
There is an increasing trend among Polish brides to keep their surname and to add that of their new husband.

It is same everywhere. Here too. Also, young couples now have super idea not to get married at all, but to have kids, having in mind that legal systems everywhere made the rights of non married couples almost !!! equal to the rights of married ones (the most progressive in that field in last century was I think USSR, they were most liberal about recognizing non marital communities as 'marriages'). Polmed will correct me if I am wrong here.

Another option, apart from the woman simply not changing anything, is for the husband to change his name to that of his wife, although I can't imagine that is done very often.

There is a third option. They choose completely new one they both like. Sounds fair ; )

And keeps the annoying relatives away. And angry.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
12 Nov 2011  #29
There is an increasing trend among Polish brides to keep their surname and to add that of their new husband.

They do it because it makes things easier after the inevitable divorce :D
teflcat 5 | 1,032
12 Nov 2011  #30
Polmed will correct me if I am wrong here.

She'll probably correct you if you're right.


Home / USA, Canada / Feminine surname endings in America?
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.