||Maggie_Simpson (guest, 184.108.40.206)
||November 12, 2007 at 11:51:16 PM
While Czechs share relatively few given names, there are tens of thousands of Czech surnames.
Czech surnames (singular and plural: příjmení) are similar in origin to English ones. Typically, they reflect a personal characteristic of someone's ancestor (such as Malý, "Small"); where he was from or where he lived (e.g. Polák, Polish person); what he did for a living (Kovář, "Blacksmith"); or the first name of a relative (Petr, "Peter"). Many Czech surnames, such as Sokol ("Falcon"), are the names of birds.
German surnames are also common in the Czech Republic; the country was part of the Austrian Empire before 1918 and had a large German population until World War II.
The most-common Czech surnames are Novák ("Newman"), Svoboda ("Freeman," literally "Freedom"), Novotný (same origin as Novák), Dvořák (from dvůr, "court") and Černý ("Black").
 Female surnames
As in English-speaking countries, Czech females traditionally receive their father's surname at birth and take their husband's name when they marry. However, the names are not exactly the same; the endings differ to fit into the Czech language's system of gender. For example, if Martina Navrátilová were a man, her surname would be Navrátil.
Czech female surnames are almost always feminine adjectives. There are several ways of forming them, depending on their male counterpart.
If a male surname is a masculine adjective (ending in -ý), the female surname is simply the feminine equivalent. Thus, a girl whose father's surname is Novotný would have the surname Novotná .
If a male surname is a noun, the female surname takes the suffix -ová, making it a feminine adjective:
* Novák becomes Nováková
* Horáček becomes Horáčková
* Svoboda becomes Svobodová
A few Czech surnames do not differ for men and women in the nominative case (the case used for the subject of a sentence. Those include surnames whose male form is genitive plural, (e.g. Jirků, Janků) and those whose male form is an adjective with the suffix -í (e.g. Tachecí, Jarní). Note that these are only identical in two of the seven grammatical cases; in the other five, the male and female forms differ, as per the soft adjective declension.
Because gender-marked suffixes are essential to Czech grammar, Czechs will usually add a feminine suffix to the surnames of foreign as well as Czech women. Thus, American first lady Laura Bush is referred to as Laura Bushová in the Czech press. This phenomenon is not universal, however.
Until 2004, every woman who married in the Czech Republic and wanted to change her name had to adopt a feminine surname, unless her husband was a foreigner whose name ended in a vowel or she was a registered member of a Czech minority group, such as the Germans. A law passed in 2004 allows all foreign women, and Czech women who marry foreign men, to adopt their husband's exact surname.
As in English-speaking countries, some Czech women decide to keep their maiden name after marriage or adopt a double surname. A couple can also agree to both adopt the woman's surname, with the husband using the masculine form.
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- Czech/Slovak surnames - Maggie_Simpson Nov 12 2007, 11:51:16 PM