Latvian: Kristīne Opolais

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AndrasBP

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello,

Kristīne Opolais is a Latvian opera singer. As far as I know, feminine forms of Latvian surnames end in -a or-e.
Can anyone explain why her surname ends in -ais, which looks like a masculine nominative ending for definite adjectives (melnais = the black one)?
 
  • AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Not important - is that person male or female.
    Thank you for the reply, but that's certainly not correct. The feminine forms of Latvian surnames do not end in -s.
    Here's a selection of Latvian women from Wikipedia:

    Amanda Aizpuriete, Ingmāra Balode, Ilze Jaunalksne, Zenta Mauriņa, Agnese Apsīte, Dzintra Blūma

    Their fathers' surnames would have been Aizpurietis, Balodis, Jaunalksnis, Mauriņš, Apsītis and Blūms, respectively.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    I found this information, it might be relevant:

    14. The feminine ending -s may only be in surnames – common names of VI declension of Latvian origin which have acquired the meaning of a proper noun, for example, Dzelzs, Grunts, Klints, Uguns, Zivs. In such case the corresponding male surnames shall be with the same endings as female surnames but with differences in the dative case (Klintij – Klintim).
    https://vvc.gov.lv › catalog › dokumenti
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Thank you, it's an interesting document, but the ending -ais in 'Opolais' seems to be a different matter.
    I made some quick searching and found that, except Kristīne, there are also other women whose surname is "Opolais", like Skolestika Opolais, Mārīte Opolais, eg. here. So, the case of Kristīne is not unique.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I made some quick searching and found that, except Kristīne, there are also other women whose surname is "Opolais"
    Yes, I was aware of that, I only used Kristīne as an example. I've also found that this surname is indeclinable, which also makes it unusual:
    e.g. Kristīnei Opolais (the first name is in the dative case, but the surname isn't).
     

    Kurmis

    New Member
    Latvian
    Yes, I was aware of that, I only used Kristīne as an example. I've also found that this surname is indeclinable, which also makes it unusual:
    e.g. Kristīnei Opolais (the first name is in the dative case, but the surname isn't).
    "...praksē diemžēl aizvien sastopami sieviešu uzvārdi ar vīriešu dzimtes galotni, piem., Kristīne Opolais, un bieži vien uzvārdu īpašnieki to attaisno ar tradicionālu dzimtas uzvārda rakstību."

    So you are right, it doesn't follow the set rules of the language, and that's about all there is to it. If going by present recommendations it should be Opolā as it has the definite adjective end "ais" it should follow that pattern, even if, as in this case, it doesn't actually correspond to a Latvian adjective.

    Turlais – Turlā
    Gaidais
    - Gaidā
    Dabrais
    - Dabrā

    EDIT I had posted a link to the source of this, but the post was deleted (why?). If you search for this (LATVIJAS UNIVERSITĀTES RAKSTI746. SĒJUMSValodniecība Latvistika un somugristika ) you should find the source of this quote p118
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you, Kurmis, for your reply.

    "...praksē diemžēl aizvien sastopami sieviešu uzvārdi ar vīriešu dzimtes galotni,
    Is it "diemžēl" (unfortunately) because such names are somehow considered an error or a language problem?

    Turlais – Turlā
    Gaidais
    - Gaidā
    Dabrais
    - Dabrā
    I've just googled your examples and found hits with both masculine and feminine forms. I can see there are also women named Opolā, with the regularized (?) form. Do you think Opolais is a name of Latvian origin? How are the "o"-s pronounced, as in "koks" or "metode"?
     

    Kurmis

    New Member
    Latvian
    Is it "diemžēl" (unfortunately) because such names are somehow considered an error or a language problem?
    Yes, the "unfortunately" implies that the person/linguist who wrote this thinks that these sort of cases shouldn't exist as they are erroneous/don't conform to the established language rules and should all be transformed according to current recommendations.

    I've just googled your examples and found hits with both masculine and feminine forms. I can see there are also women named Opolā, with the regularized (?) form. Do you think Opolais is a name of Latvian origin? How are the "o"-s pronounced, as in "koks" or "metode"?
    Both of the 'o's are pronounced as the o in "ornaments." There are three types of o in Latvian: diphthong - "koks" [kuoks],
    short - "ornaments"[ornaments], long - ''metode" [metōde].

    This also implies that the last name is not of Latvian origin as 'true' Latvian words only have the o sounded as in "koks". She herself has said that it is of Latgalian origin. Latgale is an eastern part of Latvia with it's own language/dialect.

    Yes both forms of those last names can be found, but the implication is that the masculine invariant form is erroneous.
     

    Antons F

    New Member
    Russian
    Thank you, Kurmis, for your reply.


    Is it "diemžēl" (unfortunately) because such names are somehow considered an error or a language problem?


    I've just googled your examples and found hits with both masculine and feminine forms. I can see there are also women named Opolā, with the regularized (?) form. Do you think Opolais is a name of Latvian origin? How are the "o"-s pronounced, as in "koks" or "metode"?
    Opolais is a masculine adjective and means round or circle-shaped in Latgalian (Upper Latvian). In Middle Lativian, apaļais.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Opolais is a masculine adjective and means round or circle-shaped in Latgalian (Upper Latvian). In Middle Lativian, apaļais.
    Do you know if the basic form of the adjective, apaļš, would be opols or opoļš in the Latgalian dialect? I'm just surprised that the "l" is not palatalized in "Opolais".
     
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