Serbs, Names

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The Serbs (, ) are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to the Balkans.


There are several different layers of Serbian names. Serbian first names largely originate from Slavic roots:

e.g., Slobodan, Miroslav, Vladimir, Zoran, Ljubomir, Vesna, Leposava, Radmila, Gordana, Dragan, Milan, Goran, Radomir, Miomir, Branimir, Budimir, Slavimir. Some may be non-Slavic but chosen to reflect Christian faith and often originate from Hebrew for Biblical reasons. Christian names include: Nikola, Ivan, Jovan, Marija, Ana, Mihailo. Along similar lines of non-Slavic names among Christians, the origins for many such names are Greek: Aleksandar, Filip, Jelena, Katarina, Đorđe, Stefan, Vasilije, Todor. Names of Latin origin include: Marko, Antonije, Srđan, Marina, Petar, Pavle, Natalija (through Russian), Kornelije. Names of Germanic origin include: Oliver, Igor, and Olga (the last two through the Russian form, originally from Ingwar and Helga).

It is estimated that over two thirds of all Serbian surnames have the suffix -ić (-ић) (). Due to limited use of international typewriters and unicode computer encoding in international bureaucracy, this can sometimes further be simplified to -ic, but in history, Serbian names have often been transcribed with a phonetic ending, -ich (in Italian and English) or -itch. The -ić suffix is a Slavic diminutive, originally functioning to create patronymics. Thus the surname Petrović means the "son of Peter" (Petar is the Serbian name for Peter; for a surname from a male ancestor name, the root is extended with "-ov-", or in some contexts "-ev-", for the possessive form. N.B. similar Petrić is the son of Petra, a female).

Most Serbian surnames are paternal (father), maternal (mother), occupational or derived from personal traits . Other common surname suffixes found among today's Serbian surnames are -ov, -ev, -in and -ski which is the Slavic possessive case suffix, thus Nikola's son becomes Nikolin, Petar's son Petrov, and Jovan's son Jovanov. Other, less common suffices are -alj/olj/elj, -ija, -ica, -ar/ac/an. The ten most common surnames in Serbia, in order, are Jovanović, Petrović, Nikolić, Marković, Đorđević, Stojanović, Ilić, Stanković, Pavlović and Milošević.

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External Links

  • WikipediaProject Rastko – Serbian cultural and historical research societyArticles about the Serbs by Westerners

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