Saturday, February 28, 2015

Surnames of Ethnonymic Origin in the Hungarian Language

by Tamas Farkas from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Surnames of ethnonymic origin in the Hungarian language


 Surnames originating from ethnonyms form a characteristic part of the Hungarian surname stock, in comparison with surname corpuses of other European nations. Among the 10 most frequent surnames in Hungary, 3 are of this type: Tóth (= Slavic, Slovak), Horvát (= Croat),  Német (= German). These names make up at most 0.5% of the surname stock, yet their proportion could be estimated at about 7–8%. An analysis is presented here of the composition of the stock of these Hungarian surnames; the background and motivations for their creation; a historical perspective on the changes in their category; and the characteristics of their geographical distribution.

Keywords:  ethnonym, family name, etymology, name geography, Hungarian.