Two Surnames from the Borderland Area - Mickiewicz and Słowacki Cover Image

Dwa kresowe nazwiska - Mickiewicz i Słowacki
Two Surnames from the Borderland Area - Mickiewicz and Słowacki

Author(s): Władysław Makarski
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL & Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Keywords: etymology of the surname Mickiewicz; etymology of the surname Słowacki; Polish-Ruthenian anthroponymy of the Borderlands; comparative anthroponymy

Summary/Abstract: In this paper, the author presents a comparison of two surnames of the most outstanding Polish poets of the Romantic era: Mickiewicz and Słowacki. These two names can be analysed in a number of ways: Firstly, Mickiewicz can be interpreted as a patronimicum with the Ruthenian ending -kiewicz, derived from the Belarusan Mic'ka(-o) : Dz'mic'er < D(i)mitrij. Alternatively, this form may have been derived from the Polish Micek : Mikołaj¸ Michał or another Polish word Micek < Miczek. As far as the surname Słowacki is concerned, it can be seen as a variant representing a regular Polish surname pattern ending in –ski, with this ending being added to the natively Polish base Słowak (a Slav or someone who comes from Slovakia). Another interpretation regards this surname as related with the noun słowo (a word). In the light of the poets’ family chronicles, dating back to the late 17th century, the surnames of their ancestors can be interpreted as derived from place names: Mickiewicz as derived from the toponym Mickowce < Belarusan Mickovci, whereas Słowacki as derived from Słowatycze < Ukrainian Słavjatyči (Polish *Sławięcice). Both surnames suggest that the poets’ ancestors belonged to the Polish nobility inhabiting the Borderlands. The anchoring of the two families in the Polish culture manifests itself through retaining a native Polish name-giving tradition and the Polish coats-of-arms used. Finally, it is both poets’ works – indisputably embedded in the Polish culture in its content, form and message – that confirm the Polish identity of the families. Both surnames coined from the Ruthenian toponymic bases display Ruthenian phonological features, even though in the case of the surname Słowacki they are completely concealed on the surface. Both surnames belong to the corpus of the Polish-Ruthenian Borderland anthroponyms.

  • Issue Year: 59/2011
  • Issue No: 06
  • Page Range: 57-74
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Polish