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The anthroponymy , Anthroponymik or Anthroponomastik is a linguistic research center and a branch of onomastics (name research) and deals with the person's name customer.

The word is a scientific neologism consisting of ancient Greek ἄνθρωπος anthropos , German 'human' and ὄνομα onoma , German 'name' , thus designating the research of human proper names of all kinds. In addition to the etymologies of names for persons (individual names, personal names) or groups of persons ( collective names ) describes anthroponymy, for example, its functions as well as geographical distribution and historical development; she also works out the classification of names.

Due to the diverse origins of people's names, anthroponymy draws on most of the other fields of namology such as toponymy (place and field names), hydronymy ( names of waters) and so on, but also chrematonyms (object names).

Anthroponyms (personal names)

A basic distinction is made between individual and collective names, i.e. designations for individuals and for groups of people. There are also other distinguishing criteria that further specify these two groups of names, such as: B. the distinction between official, z. B. civil and unofficial names, e.g. B. House names .

Function of personal names

From today's perspective, a name is used for identification; earlier, however, it had a stronger lexical meaning, which is explored in etymology. In terms of content, that meaning related to an often physical characteristic of an individual. Over time, however, this basic function was lost and the name was also usually changed aloud, so that it was minimized to the identification function.

Formal structure

Names with one name: mononyms , often with additional characterization such as B. Occupation or designation of origin, whereby these are not considered part of the name, as they are not fixed and only serve to differentiate within a context.

Multi-name names: A distinction is made between official and unofficial names. The official, full name is called the overall name . The unofficial nickname include ( Pointed , Mock and pet name ) and secondary name (eg. As house names ).

In Western cultures, a name scheme consisting of one (or more) individual baptismal or first names and a hereditary family name has been very common since the Middle Ages . Example:

  • Overall name: Susanne Marie Mayer
  • First name: Susanne Marie
  • Last name: Mayer
  • Call name: Susanne
  • First name: Marie
  • Nickname: Susi: (shortened first name)

After marrying Karl Schmidt, the family name of one spouse can be taken over in whole or in part by the other, resulting in a married name “Susanne Marie Schmidt” or “Susanne Marie Mayer-Schmidt” that differs from the maiden name “Susanne Marie Mayer” . As a generic term for the family , birth and marriage name can feed or last name be used. In the past, the maiden name of women was also referred to as the maiden name. Preferred forms of name that differ from the official name (such as "Suzy Mayer" or "SM Maier") are called the Rufform .

Necronymes go back to the deceased.

Occasionally house names are still used in rural regions, so in the example "Müller" or "Müllerin" would be house name, assuming Ms. Mayer lives on a farm known as Müllerhof . In southern German there are also often the slang forms with a preceding family name ("Huber-Sepp" for "Josef Huber").

This naming scheme is by no means generally valid, Icelandic names consist of an individual name and a patronymic . For example, the singer Björk is fully called Björk Guðmundsdóttir and her father is called Guðmundur Gunnarsson . Occasionally, matronymic forms ( taking the mother's name) appear in Iceland , an example is the footballer Heiðar Helguson ("Helga's son Heiðar"). In Spain one has two-part surnames, consisting of the surname of the father and the mother (the parents of Federico Garcia Lorca were Federico García Rodríguez and Vicenta Lorca Romero). Russian names consist of first name, patronymic and family name (the father of Fyodor Michailowitsch Dostojewski was Michail Andrejewitsch Dostojewski) and Javanese names are traditionally mononymous ( Sukarno , Suharto ).

Names invented by humans for mythical beings also count towards anthroponymy, for example names for demons, deities or mythical animals.

See also


  • Adolf Bach : German onomatology I. The German personal names. 3. Edition. Winter, Heidelberg 1978. 2 parts:
    • 1.1: Introduction. On the theory of sounds and forms, word order, word formation and meaning of German personal names. ISBN 3-533-00232-2 .
    • 1.2: The German personal names in historical, geographical, sociological and psychological terms. ISBN 3-533-00234-9 .
  • Andrea Brendler, Silvio Brendler: European personal name systems. A handbook from Abasic to Centraladin. Baar, Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-935536-65-3 .
  • Max Gottschald : German onomatology. 6th edition. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2006, ISBN 978-3-11-018031-2 , doi : 10.1515 / 9783110890389 .
  • Konrad Kunze : dtv-Atlas onomastics. First and last names in the German-speaking area . Munich 2003, ISBN 3-423-03266-9 .
  • Hartmut EH Lenk: personal names in comparison. The forms of use of anthroponyms in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Finland. German linguistics, monographs, Vol. 9. Hildesheim a. a. 2002.
  • Wilfried Seibicke: The personal names in German. 2nd Edition. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2008, ISBN 978-3-11-020466-7 .
  • Johannes Siebmacher: J. Siebmacher's large and general book of arms. DNB 457082631 .
  • Otto Wimmer: Handbook of names and saints, with a history of the Christian calendar. 3. Edition. Innsbruck / Vienna / Munich 1966; from 4th edition. 1982, by Otto Wimmer and Hartmann Melzer, under the title Lexicon of Names and Saints .

Web links

Wiktionary: Anthroponym  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Seibicke: Personal names in German. 2nd Edition. Berlin / New York 2008, p. 9 ff.