Re: Eastern European surname suffix in transliteration #names #translation


you are looking for consistency in transliteration between at least 3 different alphabets, and 5 or more different languages?

-ovich, regardless of spelling, is a slavic suffix meaning "son of". it's used, as far as i know, in russian, ukranian, polish, slovak, most of the balkans, and even romania, in either latin or cyrillic alphabets. from there, it goes to yiddish, in hebrew letters, and then transliterated into latin letters using either german or english spelling conventions. and then sometimes into modern hebrew. (i don't know if any slavic version ends in the "tz" sound of the hebrew tzadi.) i can't imagine that there's a single, consistent and rational way to do this. there isn't even consistency in the original languages, because polish, german, hungarian and romanian, just for example, all write the "ch" sound differently, and some aren't even consistent within themselves. (e.g. hungarian spellings vary between "-ovits" and "-ovics", even for the same individual. both are valid and pronounced the same.)

you can either accept the (historic) inconsistency, or attempt to impose your own idea of what is correct. my experience is that i prefer to be more consistent in my own records, just because it wastes time to not have members of the same family grouped together, and to have to remember to check alternative spellings all the time. but i suppose that from a purely academic research point of view, i should really record all the variant spellings exactly as i find them.

....... tom klein, toronto  <tomk@...>

At 13:27 -0700 23/5/20, main@... wrote:
Does anyone know a linguistic reason to prefer a transliteration of
the Hebrew suffix bet-yud--tzadik sofi such as in the name Rabinovitz
in the absence of documentary evidence? If no rule or reason shouldn't
phonetic usage dictate consistent transliterations within one document
or book?
Sometimes a name is spelled -witz or. as from the Polish to English
usage -wicz.. Common also are the suffixes --vich., -vitch -wich and
-witch (as in Borovitch or Borovich). The latter usage seems unsound
phonetically, but it exists. A name is a private matter after all and
can be legally changed. Appreciate any comments.

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