Surname confusion

Discussion in 'General Language' started by pineledge, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. pineledge

    pineledge New Member

    I am researching my grandmother's ancestry and am a bit confused about surnames. For instance, I thought the suffix "ova" referred to a female yet one name that surface for a man was Mr. Muzikova. Another example Josef Sedlone was also listed as Sedlon and his wife was Sedlonovou and also Sedlonova.
    Any insight would be very helpful.

  2. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    In Czech, surnames, like any other noun or adjective, change their endings based on how they are used in a sentence, e.g. subject, direct object, indirect object, etc. For example, after the preposition "s" (meaning "with"), the surname Sedlonova changes to Sedlonovou. When calling someone (e.g. "Hey you!"), the surname Sedlon changes to Sedlone.

    The instance of Mr. Mužikova is somewhat of a mystery to me. Probably it is a possessive form of the surname Mužik (e.g. Mužikův, Mužikova, etc.). In principle, the feminine form of noun-based surnames is a possessive form, so this would make sense as to why the possessive form would look like the feminine version of the surname. I'd have to see the context of the usage to determine if this was the case.
  3. pineledge

    pineledge New Member

    Thank you so much for your reply. I recently found a letter from 1984. My family corresponded with my grandmother's cousin, Frantisek Douda (he won a bronze medal in the 1932 Olympics) In his letter, he mentions that two of his aunts married brothers name Muzikova. "Aloise, married to Mr. Muzikova" and "Marie, married Mr. Muzikova from the town of Tabor. I believe the letter I found was a translation from Czech by a neighbor. In this letter he mentions my great-grandmother, Anna Sedlonove-Novotny. Yet other references to Anna listed her surname as Sedlone or Sedlonova.
    Your explanation will help ... again, thanks.

  4. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    The Czech surnames in question:

    Mužík - Mužíková (mužík = a little man, manikin)

    Muzika - Muziková (muzika = music, as a surname a musician colloq.)

    Sedloň - Sedloňová (sedlo = a saddle; sedlati = to saddle)

    Novotný - Novotná (nový = new; novota = a novelty)
  5. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    The name is most likely Sedloň, that means the name follows the soft model “muž” and not the hard model “pán” as suggested by Sova, but in principle it changes nothing on Sova’s words. “Sedlone” could be the genitive form of “Sedloň”.

    The context of the “Mr. Muzikova” could be helpful to identify the basic nominative form of the name. It could be anything of:

    Mužík (possessive Mužíkova, female form Mužíková)
    Muzika (possessive Muzikova, female form Muziková)
    Mužik (possessive Mužikova, female form Mužiková)
    Mužikov (genetive/accusative form Mužikova)

    The last two are not standard Czech names, but we should consider them too.

    No, Sova, this is common misconception. The female name suffix “-ová” is not possessive, it is adjectival. The difference is striking in declined forms:

    N -ová × -ova
    G -ové × -ovy
    D -ové × -ově
    A -ovou × -ovu
    V -ová × -ova
    L -ové × -ově
    I -ovou × -ovou

    The suffixes are correlated as both are derived from the genitive, but possession is not the only function of the genitive, right?

    The female suffix “-ová” is identical to the suffix “-ová” as used in adjectives like “kovová” (metallic ~ made of metal), “vodová” (water(y) ~ of water), fialová (violet ~ of the color of violet) or “kruhová” (circular ~ of the form of circle). The underlined ofs indicate the non-possessive genitive.
  6. meluzina

    meluzina Well-Known Member

    just to add to wer's comment that 'ova' is adjectival and not possessive, consider names such as zeleny/zelena, cerny/cerna, zeleny/zelena and some names that do not chane, such as martinu, macku

    just as an aside, i've oft had arguments about the fact that people think the 'ova' suffix is 'sexist' as it denotes possession - having been an 'ova' since birth (even in the u.s.), i would feel funny without it
  7. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Thanks wer and meluzina for the clarification. I'm aware of the differences in the forms--I just misspoke: I should have said genitive, rather than possessive.

    @meluzina: I've been an -ova since my "birth" here on, but I suppose S-ova, doesn't quite fit that bill. :wink:

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