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27880Re: [Slovak-World] Re: A suffix added to family names

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  • Caye Caswick
    Dec 3, 2009
      Interesting, thanks Martin.  When the cousins came 2 summers ago -- I noticed on one of their stacks of CD's (recorded favorite television shows from the US broadcast on Slovak cable) a label "Alley McBealova" -- cracked me up.
      I want to think my grandmother's freedom in the US (she did take and use her husband's name) might have been part of her rebellion to the OVA thing -- she was quite an independent thing for her age/day -- didn't take to following rules very lightly.

      --- On Wed, 12/2/09, votrubam <votrubam@...> wrote:

      From: votrubam <votrubam@...>
      Subject: [Slovak-World] Re: A suffix added to family names
      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 8:23 PM


      > she hated that "ova" thing

      As Julie implied, it sounds to most Slovaks today as if an American nun hated being called that and insisted on being called a monk. But there is a tiny group of Slovak women who do not use it.

      > totally guessing here) that it came about with communism

      It became formalized and widespread, but not mandatory, after 1918. The Slovaks distinguished women's and men's last names before, the ending -ka was most common for women (there were others), it is still today in informal conversations, but the same last name, no -ova, was used for both genders in formal situations towards the end of the 19th century. There's a bit more on that here:

      <http://www.pitt edu/~votruba/ sstopics/ lawsonlangaugein slovakia. html>

      ... click on the link that belongs to the year 1995, the passage then starts on page 5.

      The smiles with Julie's last name came precisely because when applied to a woman without the -ova ending, the last name, which happens to end in -ka, sounds like what a woman from a related family might be called informally when she's not present, somewhat comparable to the English "that Jones woman."


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