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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18454/RULB.2020.22.2.25

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Abramova E.I. ANTHROPONYMS IN A FOREIGN SOCIOCULTURAL CONTEXT / E.I. Abramova // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2020. — № 2 (22). — С. 29—32. — URL: http://rulb.org/ru/article/%d0%b0%d0%bd%d1%82%d1%80%d0%be%d0%bf%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d0%bc%d1%8b-%d0%b2-%d0%b8%d0%bd%d0%be%d1%8f%d0%b7%d1%8b%d1%87%d0%bd%d0%be%d0%bc-%d1%81%d0%be%d1%86%d0%b8%d0%be%d0%ba%d1%83%d0%bb%d1%8c%d1%82/ (дата обращения: 20.04.2021. ). doi:doi.org/10.18454/RULB.2020.22.2.25
Abramova E.I. ANTHROPONYMS IN A FOREIGN SOCIOCULTURAL CONTEXT / E.I. Abramova // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2020. — № 2 (22). — С. 29—32. doi:doi.org/10.18454/RULB.2020.22.2.25

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ORCIDАбрамова Е.И.1
1 , Московский государственный областной университет, Мытищи, Россия
АНТРОПОНИМЫ В ИНОЯЗЫЧНОМ СОЦИОКУЛЬТУРНОМ КОНТЕКСТЕ
Аннотация
Статья посвящена функционированию антропонимов и способам их ассимиляции в иноязычном социокультурном контексте. Выявляется основная социальная функция антропонимов: идентификация личности, ее социального статуса, этничности в поликультурном обществе, культурной основы, национальности, религиозной принадлежности и хронотопа. Рассматривается функционирование иноязычных и инокультурных имен, интеграция имен мигрантов в новой культуре и социуме, изменение имен в тоталитарных государствах, бытование имен миноритарных языков в культуре мажоритарного. Делается вывод, что антропоним важный инструмент самоидентификации, манипуляции, ассимиляции и коммуникации в социокультурном контексте.
Ключевые слова: антропоним, социокультурный, этнический, ассимиляция, идентичность.
Страницы: 29 - 32

ORCIDAbramova E.I.1
1 , Moscow State Regional University, Mytishchi, Russia
ANTHROPONYMS IN A FOREIGN SOCIOCULTURAL CONTEXT
Abstract
The paper deals with the ways foreign anthroponyms function and are assimilated in a different linguistic and sociocultural context. It discusses the main social function of anthroponyms: identification of an individual, their social status, ethnicity in a multicultural society, cultural background, nationality, religious affiliation, and a space-time identifier. The article considers how foreign language and foreign culture personal names function, how migrants’ names integrate into a new culture and a new society, how names are changed in totalitarian states, how minority language names function in a majority language culture. The conclusion is that anthroponyms are a powerful tool of self-identification, manipulation, assimilation and communication in a sociocultural context.
Keywords: anthroponym, sociocultural, ethnic, assimilation, identity.
Pages: 29 - 32
Почта авторов / Author Email: abramel[at]mail.ru

Introduction

The paper deals with the ways foreign anthroponyms or personal names (forenames, surnames, bynames etc.) function and are assimilated in a different linguistic and cultural context.

Anthroponyms being part and parcel of every culture form a socially specific word group in the lexis. They do not just name or describe a person but linguistically identify an individual or a personality, which constitutes the main function of the anthroponym and makes it a sociolinguistic phenomenon. Another identificatory function of the anthroponym is evidence of ethnicity in a multicultural society: a possible ethnicity of the individual or his/her parents’ statement of their cultural links with the ethnos [6, P. 404]. The anthroponym is also a sign of cultural and national identity. Moreover, the anthroponym is a specific chronotopos functioning as a spacetime identifier referring the individual to a particular place and time, as well as a social and cultural reminder [3, P. 43]. As a linguistic and cultural sign, the anthroponym contributes to resolving the “friend-foe” dichotomy [1, P. 21].

The anthroponym also performs economic, political, cultural, social and religious functions. The social function is evident when we refer a Smith to a certain social group, a family called the Smiths. The Russian family surname Semeiskie is associated with a religious group of Old Believers living in the Transbaikal since the XVIII century. The sociopolitical climate in Bosnia-Herzegovina forces parents to choose names to express their Bosniak Muslim identity or an identity without a nomination [12, P. 166].

Nowadays, the specific position of the anthroponym in language and society is conditioned by its multifaceted nature and value in language, history and culture. On the one hand it is an object of linguistic analysis, on the other hand it is a phenomenon of a specific national, ethnical, social and cultural value [5, P. 9].

Methodology

This paper employs the sociolinguistic method to describe the functioning of anthroponyms in the speech communities and analyze the relationship between language variables and sociolinguistic variables.

Discussion

In modern society the personal name has lost its magic or protective power, which was typical in ancient communities, and has become a legal and bureaucratic phenomenon. The official name appears to be the basis of the name system, whose elements are used in relevance to the status of the person in society and group, age, type, and formality of the situation etc. These elements like diminutive names or “domestic” names fail to be standardized, which raises the question: are official names in identification documents always standardized?

Personal names present a problem for standardization. Non-standardized names are cases of atavism or archaism, especially if they belong to dead or dying languages and cultures [10, P. 2217]. Therefore, names must be assimilated to fit into the native anthroponomic system of the society. So do minority language names in the culture of the majority language.

In a bilingual society the individual can be identified by two names, not always equivalent to each other. In most cases they are genetic equivalents (religious, cultural), which are similar in both languages to a certain degree in the graphic, word-building and phonetic aspects. Thus, two names or their variants are used parallel to each other.

There are several problems in intercultural communication relevant to transmitting anthroponyms: 1) absence of fixed correlation between writing systems which results in variations: LarisaLarissa, ElenaYelena, 2) discordance of the name in the target language, like some Chinese names in Russian, 3) problems with recognizing personal names and surnames in some cultures [4, P. 26], for example, Maksim is a personal name in Russian, but a surname in Kazakh.

We consider how foreign language and foreign culture personal names function in three sociolinguistic situations: how migrants’ personal names integrate into a new culture and a new society, how names are changed in totalitarian states, how minority language names function in a majority language culture.

A lot of research papers are devoted to the value of migrants’ anthroponyms as elements of cultural heritage. The first generation of migrants have ethnic personal names, which are alien in another country, but migrants try to preserve them. Zlatina, a Bulgarian immigrant in England writes in Facebook that although her name is difficult for English people (unlike her friend Alex’s) she thinks it right that Bulgarians keep their ethnic names in emigration [14, P. 106]. This is a method to keep identity, cultural and ethnic background. Other migrants decide upon modifying their names for different reasons – phonetic (difficult to pronounce) or semantic (discordance) – or try to bury their cultural background. The Russian name Galina has a strong association with a hen (Gallina in Spanish). Ilya become Elijah, because his name sounds like a feminine one in the USA [14, P. 106]. After 1918 Russian immigrants in Finland changed their children’s names to make them more Finnish-like: Pauli, Paavo, Yrjő.

Migrants of the second generation get names both integrated with the new environment and following their ethnic and cultural traditions: Anthony – Антон, Mark – Марк, Robert – Роберт, Eric – Эрик etc. At the same time while trying to preserve the ethnic name parents must take into account how euphonic the new name is in the new culture. The Russian name Nastya is reminiscent of the word with the negative connotation “nasty”. On the whole Russian migrants choose names, which are part of European, mostly Christian culture.

The personal name is the focus of attention in a totalitarian state. There are two opposite tendencies, according to which people are forced to change their names: assimilation to the majority and identifying the minority. In the period between WWI and WWII Greece pursued the policy of assimilating the Macedonian minority and hellenising Macedonian territories in Northern Greece. Thus, in 1926, Slavic place names were replaced with Greek ones by Decree 332. The attack on the Macedonian language, which culminated at the time of Ioannis Metaxas resulted in forcing all the Macedonians to change their names and surnames, the latter having to end in —is, —os or —poulos.

Another example is from Bulgaria, where in 1989 more than 300.000 Turkish people had to leave the country because of the Revival process, a campaign of ethnic and cultural assimilation of Turkish Muslims and Romani population by way of a forcible name change [7, P. 50]. The personal name also functioned as an identifier during the genocide in Rwanda, Bosnia and holocaust in Europe.

The example opposite to name assimilation also refers to a totalitarian state. Beginning in 1938 Jews, living in Germany with non-Jewish names had to add Israel (males) and Sarah (females) to their first names to be identified as non-Arians [13, P. 33].

Being bilingual for centuries, Scottish and Irish people use a double system of personal names. Some English and Celtic names are equivalent as part of European culture: Catriona – Katherine, Alasdair – Alexander. Without equivalents they correspond to graphically or phonetically similar names: Diorbhal – Dorothy or Oighrig – Effie. In everyday communication the dominant name is the one preferred by its owner or the one the surrounding people are accustomed to. The choice of the name depends on the sociolinguistic factors. The dominant factor is the language of communication, which is usual practice

For example, the Celtic name Gordon has two variants – English Gordon [ɡordɪn] and Gaelic Gòrdan [ɡɔ:rʃdən]: «I have a great respect for Father Macalister», the Minister said. I remember I once said to him «Ah well, A Mhaighstir Seumas» – for of course we were talking in the Gaelic to one another» [8, P. 72].

The Celtic variant can be used in English language communication as preferred by the owner of the name or the speakers because it is more euphonic, more intimate, more Celtic with the use of the Vocative case: «What's Fred done, Lieutenant Macroon?» Duncan laughed. «That's one to you, a Fhred». «A red»? the Sergeant-major exclaimed. «I'm giving it to you in the Gaelic. You always aspirate in the vocative, and the F becomes mute; but if you want to speak to Peggy, you'd say «a Pheigi» [8, P. 202].

The use of Celtic names can be explained by situational factors, mostly emotional. A user from the website forum Unilang writes about an Irish-speaking teacher of English, who used the Vocative case when the school students misbehaved: A Shéain! Listen up! And you, a Mháiri, you better stop chattering like some derailed monkey? [11].

The tradition to use the two forms of names goes back to English bureaucratic institutions. If a person is a public figure, English language media use the English name, Celtic language media prefer the Celtic one, for example, Mary McAleese and Máire Mhic Ghiolla Íosa for the 8th President of Ireland. Some Gaelic authors use two forms of their names: Brian O'Nolan (Irish Brian Ó Nualláin) uses the pen name Flann O'Brien for his English novel and Myles Na Gcopaleen for his Irish novel «An Béal Bocht». The world-famous singer Eithne Ní Bhraonáin is known as Enya Brennan or Enya because her original name would be difficult for English speaker to pronounce. So Enya is an approximate transliteration of the original pronunciation of her Celtic name.

Both the name and the language are social phenomena, which reflect cultural and social values. So it would be inappropriate to translate names into another language as was the practice with the Gaelic language BBC programs when the names of British politicians were translated into Gaelic according to the rules of Gaelic word-building: Iain Mac a' Mhaidseir (John Major) and Mairead Nic an Tuaghadair (Margaret Thatcher).

Nowadays Gaelic names are still not as popular as English names of European origin but there is a tendency to use more Celtic origin names. Before the 1960-s General Register Office did not register the names which sounded Gaelic, consequently, parents had their babies registered by English names to be used in formal and legal situations (Margaret) but they used the Gaelic form for informal communication (Mairead).

In 2003 Austin Boyle attempted to register his daughter's name Aoife NicBhaoille (Eve «daughter of Boyle») in Gaelic with the prefix Nic for females, which was previously removed in the process of anglicizing Gaelic names. He was prevented from doing so but following protests by language groups and threats by the family that they would risk prosecution the Registry have agreed that the registration should proceed accordingly [9, P. 3]. The choice of the name in this case is a deliberate statement about ethnic identity and a linguistic reaction to bureaucracy.

Results

The main social function of the anthroponym is identification in society.  It identifies an individual or a personality, their social status, ethnicity in a multicultural society, cultural background, nationality, religious affiliation, and functions as a space-time identifier.

In modern society the personal name is not only a language unit and a sign of identity, but also a legal and bureaucratic phenomenon. The attempts to standardize personal names are doomed to fail because the personal name is a sociolinguistic variable and it depends on a situation: everyday situation, a period of life, a political situation in the state etc.

The first generation of migrants have ethnic personal names, which they try to preserve to keep identity, cultural and ethnic background or decide upon modifying their names for different reasons – phonetic or semantic – or try to bury their cultural background. Migrants of the second generation get names both integrated with the new environment and following their ethnic and cultural traditions.

In a totalitarian state there are two opposite tendencies, according to which people are forced to change their names: assimilation to the majority and identifying the minority.

Scottish and Irish people implement a double system of personal names, which are used according to the situation or the language context.

Conclusion

So, the anthroponym is a specific language element with a strong sociolinguistic potential and a number of socially-oriented connotations. The Russian-Soviet Sociolinguist V.D. Bondaletov argued that anthroponyms present ample material for sociolinguistic research because they are most closely connected with people and social relations in human society [Bondaletov, 18]. From practical perspective anthroponyms are a tool of self-identification, manipulation, assimilation and communication in a sociocultural context.

Список литературы / References:
  1. Бойко Л. Б. К вопросу о роли антропонима в лингвокультуре / Л. Б. Бойко // Вестник Балтийского федерального университета им. И. Канта. – 2013. – №2. – С. 13-21.
  2. Бондалетов В. Д. Ономастика и социолингвистика / В.Д. Бондалетов // Антропонимика. – М.: Наука, 1970. – С. 17-23.
  3. Бурдина Е. А. Изучение художественных текстов, содержащих лексическую экспликацию хронотопа как прием формирования концептуальной картины мира учащихся / Е. А. Бурдина // Организация воспитательной работы в вузе. – № 5. – М.: РГУП, 2015. – С. 39-45.
  4. Жукова И. Н. Словарь терминов межкультурной коммуникации / И. Н. Жукова, М. Г. Лебедько, З.Г. Прошина и др. – М.: Флинта: Наука, 2013. – 632 c.
  5. Кульдеева Г. А. Антропонимическая система современного казахского языка / Г. А. Кульдеева. – Казань: ДАС, 2001. – 239 с.
  6. Clifton J. What’s in a name? Names, national identity, assimilation, and the new racist discourse of Marine Le Pen / J. Clifton // Pragmatics. – 2013. –Volume 3.– P. 403-420.
  7. Karkov N. Rethinkung East-European Socialism: Notes Toward an Anti-Capitalist Decolonial Methodology / N. Karkov, Zh. Valiavicharska // Balkan Transnationalism at the Time of Neoliberal Catastrophe. – Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2019. – P. 35-63.
  8. Mackenzie C. Whiskey Galore / C. Mackenzie. – London: Vintage Books, 2009. – 304 p.
  9. Moffat B. Registrar backs down in dispute over Gàidhlig / B. Moffat // Carn. – № 122. – 2003. – p. 3.
  10. Neustupny J. V. Sociolinguistic Aspect of Social modernization / J. V. Neustupny // Sociolinguistics. An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. – Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2006. – P. 2209–2223.
  11. Unilang. Going by different names in different languages [Электронный ресурс]. – URL: http://www.unilang.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24298&start=15. (дата обращения: 10.06.2020)
  12. Virkkula J. Muslim Names the Bosnian way / J. Virkkula // Slavica Helsingiensia. – 2012. – № 41. – P. 153-168.
  13. Watford B. A. A Layman’S View of Seventy Years of America’S Foreign Policy / B. A. Watford. – Bloomington: Xlibris Corporation, 2012. – 287 p.
  14. Yankova V. Native language as Cultural heritage and Social Instrument in Migration / V. Yankova // Cultural Heritage in Migration. – Sofia: Paradigma Publishing House, 2017. – P. 102-114.

Список литературы на английском / References in English:
  1. Bojko L. B. K voprosu o roli antroponima v lingvokul’ture [To the issue of the role of the anthroponym in linguoculture] / L. B. Bojko // Vestnik Baltijskogo federal’nogo universiteta im. I. Kanta [Baltic Federal University after I. kant Bulletin]. – 2013. – №2. – P. 13-21. [in Russian]
  2. Bondaletov V. D. Onomastika i sociolingvistika [Onomastics and sociolinguistics] / V.D. Bondaletov // Antroponimika [Anthroponomics]. – M.: Nauka, 1970. – P. 17-23. [in Russian]
  3. Burdina E. A. Izuchenie hudozhestvennyh tekstov, soderzhashchih leksicheskuyu eksplikaciyu hronotopa kak priem formirovaniya konceptual’noj kartiny mira uchashchihsya [Study of fictional texts containing lexical explications of spacetime as a method of building students’ conceptual world view] / E. A. Burdina // Organizaciya vospitatel’noj raboty v vuze [Organisation of socially educational work in university]. – № 5. – M.: RGUP, 2015. – P. 39-45. [in Russian]
  4. ZHukova I. N. Slovar’ terminov mezhkul’turnoj kommunikacii [Dictionary of intercultural communication terminology] / I. N. ZHukova, M. G. Lebed’ko, Z.G. Proshina i dr. – M.: Flinta: Nauka, 2013. – 632 p. [in Russian]
  5. Kul’deeva G. A. Antroponimicheskaya sistema sovremennogo kazahskogo yazyka [Anthroponimic system of modern Kazakh] / G. A. Kul’deeva. – Kazan’: DAS, 2001. – 239 p. [in Russian]
  6. Clifton J. What’s in a name? Names, national identity, assimilation, and the new racist discourse of Marine Le Pen / J. Clifton // Pragmatics. – 2013. –Volume 3.– P. 403-420.
  7. Karkov N. Rethinkung East-European Socialism: Notes Toward an Anti-Capitalist Decolonial Methodology / N. Karkov, Zh. Valiavicharska // Balkan Transnationalism at the Time of Neoliberal Catastrophe. – Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2019. – P. 35-63.
  8. Mackenzie C. Whiskey Galore / C. Mackenzie. – London: Vintage Books, 2009. – 304 p.
  9. Moffat B. Registrar backs down in dispute over Gàidhlig / B. Moffat // Carn. – № 122. – 2003. – p. 3.
  10. Neustupny J. V. Sociolinguistic Aspect of Social modernization / J. V. Neustupny // Sociolinguistics. An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. – Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2006. – P. 2209–2223.
  11. Unilang. Going by different names in different languages [Electronic resource]. – URL: http://www.unilang.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24298&start=15. (accessed: 10.06.2020)
  12. Virkkula J. Muslim Names the Bosnian way / J. Virkkula // Slavica Helsingiensia. – 2012. – № 41. – P. 153-168.
  13. Watford B. A. A Layman’S View of Seventy Years of America’S Foreign Policy / B. A. Watford. – Bloomington: Xlibris Corporation, 2012. – 287 p.
  14. Yankova V. Native language as Cultural heritage and Social Instrument in Migration / V. Yankova // Cultural Heritage in Migration. – Sofia: Paradigma Publishing House, 2017. – P. 102-114.

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