[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Suffix -ke

Otto otto at schienke.com
Sat Nov 16 14:31:24 PST 2013

On Nov 16, 2013, at 4:40 PM, Helen Gillespie wrote:

> Have to chuckle on this one.
> My grandfather Emil Bethke was definitely not "diminutive" - he was 6'4"
> and his father August Bethke was from the Brandenburg area.  Supposedly
> many people with -ke ending names in that region - as already mentioned by
> others.  Don't know if the true origins are from elsewhere.  Maybe HIS
> ancestors were shorter!

At ease Helen, it has nothing to do with height.  
Most of the bearers of the suffix are tall persons. 
I have present members in the living relatives who are 6'7" and 6'8". I stand at 6'3", my son at 6'4" because my father was the runt of the litter.

Diminutive implies a warm familial reference. Dad "Daddy"   Mom "Mommy" and so on.

Similar to the Low German "ke" suffix is the high German "chen" and the Bavarian/Austrian "L".  We even have a Swabian "el".

My own surname 'Sch', a German consonant group; 'ie', a diphthong vowel; 'n' a single consonant; and the diminutive  'ke' indicating a child of "Schien" = Shins.

The "ke" suffix is Low German. Its use spread with migration along the North Sea coast eastward to the reaches of the Baltic coast and then inland.  Low German was the commercial language of the Hansa League from 900 c.e. through 1500 c.e. 

Low German (and its dialects) was the language of commercial significance.

The "ke" suffix is still in use in Frisian and Lower Saxon areas today. The Dutch are slowly  substituting "tje" or "kje" as a diminutive.

I'd researched the suffix use back in time 1,000 years to its Frisian use and informed my friend Al Muth (linguist) regarding my findings. . . He replied with, "Oh, is that so. . . Now break it down further and start with "k". . . as part of my thesis I threw in the towel on it." I guess from the beginning of language people have asked, "Ma". . . what is meant by that?"

The Frisians this day still qualify as the tallest people, based on average, in the world.

For those that want reference to "ke" suffix usage write me privately and I will fill in the detail.
They involve .jpg reference excerpts.

. . .   Otto
         " The Zen moment..." wk. of January 01, 2013-
                  "Answers out there . . .  Seeking us."

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