Thursday, April 23, 2009

May Librarian's Lobby

On April 15 someone on AUTOCAT asked about the transliteration of Gotlib, Zeev and found a NAF reference to : Gottlieb, Wolf, 1910-. At the time I answered that I was preparing an article that addressed the question.

The article that I was preparing on Hebrew-Yiddish name pairs is done. Ze'ev--Wolf is one of those pairs. This article will help the reader understand more about names. Over half of the popular given names are from Hebrew sources, but the English spelling and pronunciation is filtered through the Greek Bible translation. For example the Hebrew Shmuel becomes Samuel in English because Greek does not have an /sh/ sound. Greek used the letter sigma to represent the Hebrew letter shin. In English "sh" is a digraph (two letters for one sound).

The article has implications for catalogers and others interested in names. I gave examples of authors who had books in a library catalog. Not every name had an author.

You may download the article from my web site.

Please feel free to comment as I able to revise it before it is published in a scholarly journal.

April 24

I received many favorable comments on the article. One person named his son Simha Bunim and had no idea that was a name pair.

Comment from :Jill Rosenshield, University of Wisconsin--Madison Library. Included here with her permission.
I very much enjoyed your article on double names. We named our first son Simcha Velvel after his late grandpa; but he had a plaque made for his room Simcha Zev because we thought we had mixed Hebrew and Yiddish. Maybe we should have gone the other way and named him Zelig Velvel.

Incidentally, I have always been puzzled by two forenames: I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian and had relatives who criticized the practice because they said it was Roman Catholic. I think Catholics get a second middle name on some day such as Holy Communion. [Stuhlman comment -- I checked about this Catholic practice. Many Catholics get an additional name at confirmation. This is in addition to the names given by parents. Some confirmands use the additional name and some don't.]

Of course, now that there are so many people and so many shared surnames, there is probably a very good reason to give several forenames. I should talk: Rosenshield is a very rare name in its spelling.

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