JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Matronymics and the way Zayin is pronounced #general


In a message dated 3/5/2006 3:57:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:

< . . . I am not able to
say how often a name like e.g. "Suskind" originated with the Slavic
"-kin- suffix and later picked up a final "D" >from Yiddish influence,
or how often "Suskin" originated with the Yiddish "-kind" and later
dropped the final "D". It's an interesting question, and I wish I did
know. . . . >

==In Germanic countries (where "Western Yiddish" was the rule), Suskind,
Susmann, Susel etc are almost invariably written with an initial Samekh or Sin,
pronounced "s." (Z in German is invariably pronounced "ts"--like Tsadeh in
Hebrew. There is no sound in the German language that resembles the Z in
"zero." Zayin is pronounced "S" by German Jews (except by Sfardim, I would
assume). the word Zion is pronounce Tziyon" by West European Jews, as it is in

==In Yiddish, Suskind, Susmann, Susel etc are almost invariably written with
an initial zayin and pronounced "z"; In German, they were pronounced with an
initial S and written with a Samekh.

==Beider, who uses the YIVO standard transliteration for Yiddish, lists
these Aus- names under Ziskind, Zismann, Zisl etc.

==If the name Suskin were a matronymic we would have to assume a mother
named Susan or Susi, written with an initial zayin. But that is not the case;
they have the initial shin, pronounced Sh. Suskin[d] or Zuskin[d] cannot be
derived >from a woman's name.

==I think, though, that we can close the gap in opinions. Yiddish is based
largely on the language of medieval German Jews. The majority of first names
in Yiddish-speaking areas were developed by, or transmitted by German Jews.
It was German Jews who developed the Suesskind name based on the German
noun, Kind. It was East European Jews who developed the matronymics that are
based on the Slavic suffix "kin." Folk etymology caused a blending between the
two causing the Slavic "kin" to gain a "d" and become "kind" and the German
"kind" to lose a "d." and become Slavicized.

==I hope no one is offended by the unintentional tartey-mashmeh

==Michael Bernet, New York

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