[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Understanding Names

Otto otto at schienke.com
Tue Sep 2 11:01:44 PDT 2008

Good afternoon Maureen,
I will correspond with you privately. . .We may share a commonality.
The zest you express in your writing is an indicator... :D

I will cover this *point here for the benefit of the List-Serv members.
Surnames are family history books and written words are like recorded  
magnetic tapes, plug them into your mind and listen to the sounds they  
produce as you speak. May those sounds be in high fidelity.

You used the term "Americans have an "*obsession" with pronunciations"
I would be overjoyed if they did!

If you reread my E-letter to the ListServ you will become aware that I  
used the term "compulsion".
I used it as a euphemism to keep from saying what perhaps I should  
have, the phrase, "lazy speech habits".
We are into an era referred to as 'the dumbing of America'.
German is a precisely sounded out language.
So is Polish, even with tonal pitch in places.
The British with their form of 'official' English are precise in their  
The Americans. . . their 'official' written English is excellent,  
until they speak. We really are a nation of coined sounds and words  
peculiar to mixed cultures and background. I can almost type people to  
area by their speech inflections. Such, of course, is similar to all  
Language is a living thing in a constant flux. Due to technological  
advances here in the US we are a hotbed of language creativity.

Words conforming to a 6th to 8th grade level of language study suffice  
for most communication, which is the purpose of speech.
What I object to are conversations such as overheard by me, e.g.  
"Jeet"...? Nojew"? which interpreted is, "Did you eat? No. Did you?"
Note that the slang terms vibrate at the tip of the tongue... Hardly  
have to move the lips. :D

Most surname research is approached as a topic of onomasiology. (a  
branch of lexicology)
I much prefer the method resurrected  by the computer code industry,  
to identify code strings, referred to as 'semasiology'.
Simply described, break the name into individual pieces and examine  
them, asking, what am I looking at?
New? Old? Otherwise? Where did the sounds originate?

What is in a name anyway?

I will use my surname 'Schienke' and 'school' to illustrate.

I find that 'sch' is a Germanic consonant grouping sounded out as 'sh'  
by Germans.
(it does not exist in Polish, hence the Polish use of 'Sz' sounded out  
as 'sh')
Another spelling by the way, "Szynke", which some of my relatives had  
to use but changed it back to its original form of Schienke upon  
stepping on US soil.
The Dutch flatland German, Plattdeutsch, 'sch' is sounded out as 'sk'.
What becomes significant about the pronunciation of 'school'?
(be mindful that many dialects of Platt exist, even in Holland)
My niece met a young couple in the Chicago area with the surname  
'Schienke', pronounced sounding the diphthong, "Skee~en'keh". They  
were Dutch.

Next we must deal with the ancient diphthong 'ie' (diphthong = two- 
sound) The surname is pronounced "Schee~en'keh.
No language rules existed until recently and the diphthong of  
yesteryear is not recognized as one, causing more than any other part  
of the name, the multitude of spelling variations in existence today.
I find the 'ie' diphthong common in the 1400-1500's Dutch (dutch is  
given to 'ie' diphthong use) and also the East Frisian.
These foregoing serve as indicators pointing... (at what?)
The East Prussian Platt has a mix of the Old Prussian (extinct by  
manipulation) words and word parts in it...
-the jury is still out on this... Trust me... Still, I must consider it.
Old Prussian: ŠAN > Šis acc sg schan 4917
schan 5110 schan 532 schan 536 schan 552 schan 5517 schan 575 schan  
5710 schan 7915 schan 8113 schan 8313 schan 85 schan 1034 schan 10328  
Schan 107 schan 117 schian 99 schien 492 schien 1317 schien 133 schen  
7913 schen 8116 schan I 5 schan I 5 schian II 11 schin 799 schin 819  
sien 11918

THE 5th PRINCIPLE OF THE RECONSTRUCTION. The process /ē/ > /ī/ > (in  
the unstressed position which often was end of the word) > /i/ caused  
merger of the ē- and i-types of declension. This merger, as well as  
the merger of the i- and ja-types of declension, was propped by  
palatalization of consonants, the evidence of which may be seen in  
such variations of spelling, as acc. etwerpsennian III 45 /  
etwerpsennien III 71 < acc. *-(n)jan, corresponding to etwerpsennin  
III 65 of the mixed ja-/i-type of the 16th c. nom. (busennis - acc.  
gulsennin) and showing no kind of any ending *-ijan which W.Smoczynski  
tries to find here.
– No Baltic j of the ending acc. *-jan could be preserved in  
testified Prussian as it is obvious in such variations of spelling as  
(2x) accusative of the ja-stem Noseilis: naseilen I 7, naseilen I 9  
corresponding to naseylien II 7, naseylien II 9. The Prussian l of the  
16th c. was palatal nearing to German l (cf. the same in German  
Lithuanian dialects) what is clear in rendering the typical a-stem  
nom. pl. kaulei III 101 with the innovative accusative pl. of the  
"palatal" (mixed ja-/i-) declension kaulins (ibid.). This was the  
reason of the omitted i in naseilen [Nota bene:such facts show that  
the spelling in the catechisms was influenced by Polish tradition with  
its letter i signing palatalization of the previous consonant: it is  
enough to compare Pr. mien, tien, sien = Pol. mię, cię, się!] –
The same evidence of the palatalization, as etwerpsennian /  
etwerpsennien, are spellings of the acc. masc. schan I 5, III 1034,  
10328 = schianIII 999 = schien III 1317, 1332 and even fem. schan,  
schien, schen III 7913, 8116 (the spelling schan reflecting palatal  
character of this consonant < *sj).

ŠINS > Šis acc pl m schins 37  schins 39

Next we move on to the consonant 'N' ... Kinda lonely huh?

Sound it and hold the sound... Just like a Tibetan Buddhist chant... :D
I oft joked about changing my name to "Sin", everyone recognizes it in  
symbol form and is familiar with it.  :D

The suffix 'ke', sounded out as 'keh' has already been aired in the  
previous e-letter.

. . .   Otto
          " The Zen moment..." wk. of March 23, 2008-
                 "Each of us. . . A bundle of possibilities."

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