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Тема: « Происхождение английских фамилий
Выполнила: ученица 8 кл.
Проверила: учитель английского яз.
The necessity of the surname.
The origin of English
A surname is a kind of anthroponomy. It shows
the person’s belonging to the definite family. The surname is added to the
first name. The first name is primary, the surname is secondary.
Before the definite development’s grade the
man kind doesn’t have the surnames. In the
XI – XII centuries the most
widespread first names were William, Robert, Ralph, Richard. It the XIV century
about 25 per cent of men in England were called John. It’s funny. But if
somebody called John or Johnes at the
market, in Wales that time, then all everyone would respond to it or nobody
could respond to if a everyone, because everyone would think that hi was called
and nobody, because there were no definite descriptions. So, people used to
give nicknames to individualize every man. If a person was red, he would be
given a nickname Red John. If a person lived on hill, he would be given a
nickname Tom Hill. When the nickname lost its reason it would develop into the
surname. (I give an explanation): If William Robertson dad was not Robertson,
John cook was not a cook, Tom. Ill didn’t live on the hill, then their
nicknames were hereditary. I the
Domesday Book, which was written in 1085
– 86 many nickname received documentary registration.
Little by little the nickname turned into
There are four kinds of modern surnames.
2. local surnames
1. Patronymic names.
First of all there are personal names that
are used as surnames. They are not changeable, for example: Anthony, Baldwin,
Cecil, Dennis, Henry, Reynold, Thomas, Walter. A lot of patronymic surnames are
connected with mythology, God’s names: Good, Godwin, Goodiers, Goddard.
Some surnames have its origin from
Scandinavian personal names: Thurston, Thurlow, Thurkettle. A lot of surnames
come from Normandian invaders. Their names turned to surnames: Walters, Watts,
During the late Middle Ages a lot of
biblical names turned to the surnames. For example, such names as Lawrence,
Lawson, Larson, Larkin were formed from the Saint’s name – St. Lawrence.
A lot of English surnames include "son” (Johnson).
It means "somebody’s son”. It’s interesting to know that Johnson was a native
of the South and Johnston was a native of the North.
In the Highlands people use the prefix
"Mac”. It means "son”, for example MacDonald, MacCartney, MacGregor. This
prefix was used in Ireland too. In Ireland also a lot of surnames were formed
using the grandfather’s name with O-prefix: O’Hara, O’Neal. There is a popular
poem about it:
You’ll always know
Irishmen, they say
Irishmen are they.
The word "son” in Welsh means "ap”.
Surnames Powell was formed from Ap Howell, Pritchard – from Ap Richard. In the
old times you could meet a Welshman who introduced himself proudly:
"Evan-ap-Griffith-apDavid-apJenkin.” It means: "Evan is Griffith’s son, David’s
son, Jenkin’s son.”It caused a big amount of funny stories. I’d like to tell
you one of them:
"An Englishman, riding one dark night
among the mountains, heard a cry of distress, Coming apparently from a man who
had fallen into a ravine near the highway, and, on listening more attentively,
hear the words: -"Help, master,
help!” – in a voice truly Cambrian. "Help,
what, who are you?”- asked the traveler.
was the response.
"Lazy Fellows that you be,” –
said the Englishman, setting spurs to his horse, "To lie rolling in that hole,
half a dozen of you. Why in the name of common sense don’t you help one another
2. Local surnames.
It’s a wide range of English surnames,
about 50% of the whole amount. Based on the nicknames’ meanings, they are
divided into two groups:
Surnames that were formed from the nicknames that
pointed on the person’s origin from the definite place, city or country.
It’s known that there are four
countries in the UK. People migrate from one country to another. It was
necessary to mark settlers. So, there are such surnames as Scott. England,
English, Irish, Wales, Welsh, Welshman, Wallace. There are a lot of surnames from
the countries of Western Europe: German, France, Spain, Norman, Champagne; from
the counties’ names: Hampshire. Kent, Cornwall. There is a big amount of the
surnames that were given to people to show their belonging to the definite
small town or village. They moved to the big cities marking themselves such
nicknames as York, Westley, Button, Longford. There are hundreds of places with
such names and thousand people’s surnames are closely connected with these
This category includes such surnames that were formed
from outstanding landscapes: Brook, Hill, Dale, Moore, Fields. You can come
across with the surnames showing that this man lived not far from the hill,
dale or brook.
It’s not seldom to hear surname, that show
peculiarities of the flora: Aspen,
Beech, Birch; Scrub, Wood, Tree, Meadow croft. Local surnames are made up of
the rivers’ names: Tees, Calder, Becker,
Surnames that were
formed from the signs representing animals or plants have a particular place in
the local surnames. It’s important to remember that in those days a lot of
people couldn’t read, these signs helped them to find a place which they
needed, It’s not surnames go back to representation of different animals plants
and other things that were used to show the definite houses sing: Bull, Bush,
Bell, Angel, Griffin.
Approximately this type represents 20% of
the whole amount. Basically, these surnames came of the nicknames meant owner’s
appointment, profession or trade.
Professional surnames are
divided into three groups:
Surnames formed from the appointments’ names or posts’
Surnames formed from the professions’ names that
indicated agricultural work.
Surnames formed from the professions’ names that
indicated cities, trades.
Surnames formed from the names that indicated smooth
woolen cloth’ trade.
1.This group consists of the
surnames that point on the man’s title, rank and post who served members of the
Royal family. For example, Stuart (королевский шенешаль), Wardrop (смотритель гардероба), Spencer (управляющий), Page (подавал полотенце), Spooners, Butler
(дворецкий), Pottinger (готовил королевский суп), Marshall (мажордом). These surnames
remind about ancient traditions and customs. We can find social person’s
description in the following surnames: Knight, Gent, Sheriff, Justice, Judge,
Mayor, Clerk, Ranger and Falconer (отвечали за королевскую охоту).
2. There is a big surnames’
amount that have a stem pointing on the care of animals: Hurd, Hird, Heard,происходящие от herd – пастух, Hoggart, Potcher –
за свиньями, Goddart (goat-herd) – за
козами, Shepherd – овец.
The most widespread surnames
are Farmer, Baker, Bricker, Thatcher (тот, кто крыл соломой крыши), Honeyman, Nutter
(сборщик орехов). Smith (кузнец) is the most widespread surname in England and
America, originally it mentioned a worker with metal. It is included in the
compound surnames as Blacksmith, Brownsmith, Whitesmith, Goldsmith. Surnames
that have such part as "wright” belong to the people’s professions who had
woodwork: Boatwright, Wheelright, Caretwright.
3. There are a lot of surnames
associated with different spheres of the trade industry: Mercer – sold retail,
Crosser – wholesale, Chapman from Cheapmman – a man who sold cheap.
4. After agriculture and
industry smooth woolen cloth’ trade was the richest source of the professional
surnames’ creating.They is Woolen, Woolley, Packer, Webber (плести паутину), Tailor (портной) and so on.
There is a big range of surnames that show
biological special features of the person. They come from the nicknames
reflecting physiological or soul personal traits, for example: Bigg, Strong,
Arms, Armstrong, Knee bone (lame – хромой) Crump (humped – горбатый), Cudlipp (harelip – заячья губа). Such surnames can tell what was father’s hair:
Black, White, Grey, Red, Knott (витый), Bald. Moral and
intelligent peculiarities reflected in such surnames as: Bad, Good, Wise, Gay,
Friend, True man, Hardy, Gentle, Sweet, Love, Merry.
To the descriptive surnames belong such
surnames that were formed from the nicknames of the Mystery Plays’ members.
These plays were organized every year. The member of the plays can perform the
same role, this role turned into his nickname. That’s why there is a big amount
of such surnames. They are: King, Baron, Lord, Cardinal, Duke, Caesar, Queen,
It’s not seldom when descriptive surnames
were formed on the opposite way? For example R. Good’s friend was very high.
But he was given a nickname Little John.
To sum up you see that there are four kinds
of surnames’ originating.
To understand where
this or that surname comes from, you need to study from different points of the
1.А. И. Рыбакин «Словарь английских фамилий», изд.:
АСТ, Астрель, 2000 г.
2. Wikipedia: List of unusual personal names.
3. D.L. Jeffrey "A dictionary of biblical
tradition in English literature”
4. О.Т. Hook "All those