Suwałki - the origin and meaning of the name Cover Image

Suwałki – pochodzenie i znaczenie nazwy
Suwałki - the origin and meaning of the name

Author(s): Tadeusz Zdancewicz
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: the name of Suwałki; etymology; new viewpoint/justification; Polish-Lithuanian borderland

Summary/Abstract: The establishment of the origin and the meaning of the name of the principal city in Suwałki Region is a diff cult task. Due to the history of this region, the investigator shall take into consideration that the names may originate from four languages: the jaćwieski, the Lithuanian, the Belarusian, and the Polish languages. Therefore, as regards the isolated names or names with an imprecise semantic meaning and morphological structure, the researcher shall take into consideration each of the four above-mentioned opportunities of the origin of the said name and only after the elimination of three of them, the researcher may establish the proper linguistic source of the considered name. This being the case, the name Suwałki is neither of Polish, nor Belarusian, nor Jaćwieski origin. The name Suwałki is of the Lithuanian origin. Originally, it was the name of the village established on the southern-western border of the then Lithuanian linguistic area in 1682–1690. Due to the above, the said name is connected with the names of villages located on the territory of Lithuania and in the light of Lithuanian linguistic facts it has a transparent structure and a clear-cut meaning. The name consists of the prefix su- and the stem -valk-. The Lithuanian prefix su- has a meaning of location “at”, “near”; the stem -valk- occurs in the general Lithuanian noun valka which here has a geographical meaning “a tiny, small river, a damp and swamp place”. The name of Suwałki means the “locality located near the damp and swamp place” or even “near the lake.” The article presents the folklore nature of the etymology according to which the name of Suwałki allegedly originated from the Lithuanian word, susiwiłkaj, the “vagabond”. The said folklore nature was recorded by A. Połujański in 1859. The article established the dialectal Lithuanian equivalent of this word.

  • Issue Year: 2005
  • Issue No: 29
  • Page Range: 9-37
  • Page Count: 29
  • Language: Polish