Friday, February 6, 2009

More Fun With International Names

I can't quite believe I didn't think to add this given the presence of a Polish character in "The Age of Innocence," but Polish names that end in "ski" become "ska" when a woman uses them. Hence, (that bastard) Count Olenski, but (the alluring and soulful) Ellen Olenska. The photo above is of a street sign in Krakow; if the street had been named after a woman, the name at the top would be "Pl Szczepanska."

Meanwhile, my mother, who works in a hospital out East, tells me that among the Hispanic population, infants are given their mothers' last names at birth, but that changes once the mother and child leave the hospital. Then, the father's last name replaces the mother's last name. If records are requested or the child comes to the ER, the records are tricky to find. Most people who work there understand this and ask a lot of questions, but it used to cause a lot of confusion in the Maternal Child Unit and the nurseries.

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