2019, Volume 16, Issue 3

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Anna A. Plotnikova
Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, Russia

Notes on the Regional Features of Personal Naming among the Old Believers of Latgale

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp. 48–60 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.3.030

Received 18 September 2018

Abstract: The paper deals with the two opposed traditions of Slavic naming, explaining the patterns that are currently observed in the Russian and Serbian languages. The first tradition follows the Church Slavonic pattern, while the second suggests that a child’s name can refer to a number of things in the surrounding world. The author focuses on the Old Believer tradition of naming, linked specifically to the holy calendar. For this purpose, the regional anthroponymic vocabulary of the Latgale Old Believers is studied, as it is recorded in their notes and memorial books submitted in the church. A large corpus of names used by parishioners is presented in the Guide to the Memorial Book which receives most close attention as a source of vernacular name forms and as a tool for their normalization using Church Slavonic spelling. The correction policy used by the modern compilers of the Guide is fully in line with the traditional Old Believer practice of avoiding any deviations from the canonical name form. At the same time, the notes collected by the authors of the Guide for the Memorial Book include a variety of colloquial forms of the Old Believer names, some of them previously unrecorded and uncovering the history of the formation of new names and surnames derived from them. The analysis is added by texts and dialogues about the name highlighting the peculiarities of the naming tradition: recorded during linguistic expeditions to the Latgale Old Believers in 2016–2017, they complement and illustrate the historical situation in the “ethnographic present”. The comparison with the South Slavic tradition of naming, on the other hand, shows that the name choice can be directly related to ritual and magical practice, which is still common with the Serbs up to the present day.

Keywords: Slavic languages, naming, Church Slavonic tradition, dialectal features, vernacular, commemoration, Old Believers of Latgale.


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