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Nicknames in the Past and Today and How They Have Been Used

Author(s): Evgenija Krăsteva-Blagoeva
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: The article is an attempt at an analysis, on the basis of field research material, of some of the key characteristics of the nickname and the specificities of its usage in traditional and modern Bulgarian society. Since the nickname emphasises strictly specified rather than randomly chosen features of the individual, it is a reflection of the world outlook, value system and the aesthetic and moral nature of the community that has invented it. The principled differences between nickname and personal name have been outlined, which engender differences in the functions performed by the nick name and the personal name. Several types of nicknames have been classified. Special attention has been paid to their being handed down from father to son, to their developing into a formal family name and to the distortion of the original story about their emergence, which is very common and is the result of the heirs's desire to get rid of a name they find disagreeable. An analysis has been also made of the extensive use of nicknames in our time in small, closed communities (as those of the Bulgarian villages of the past) like those of schoolchildren, neighbours and, most of all, gangsters. An explanation has also been given to the curious fact that most of the gangsters' nicknames, abounding in the media particularly in the 1994-1996 period, have been associated with the animal, i.e. "non-human", world.

  • Issue Year: 2000
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 48-58
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Bulgarian