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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

Balto-Finnic Personal Name Suffixes

Author(s):
M Joalaid
Narva College of Tartu University, Estonia

The Balto-Finnic peoples have always formed their personal names using primarily personal name suffixes. After Christianizing, these peoples as most other European peoples have had Christian names: the Orthodox (Greek-Catholic) people (Karelians, Vepsians, Votes and Ingrians or Izhorians) mostly names of Greek origin, the Roman-Catholics (from the 16th century the Lutherans) (Finns, Estonians, Livonians) names of Latin origin. The Balto-Finnic name suffixes occur in the modifications / hypocoristics of the Christian names.

The most popular and with great probability also the oldest Balto-Finnic name suffix is -oi. According to old documents it occurs already in the pre-Christian names. The old Balto-Finnic place name with the suffix -la also consists of a personal name with the suffix -oi before the place name suffix -la. The suffix -oi is originally a diminutive suffix, although it has lost its diminutive character in names. In different Balto-Finnic languages, it has preserved its primary phonetic form (in Finnish, Karelian and Ingrian) or developed phonetically (Vote -oi > -o, Estonian -oi > -o > -u).

In addition to -oi, there are some other personal name suffixes which occur in different Balto-Finnic languages, for example -u, -k (ka), -t´s (-tš) and others.

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