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Old 31.08.2011, 23:50
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feminine and masculine surnames

As a Polish couple with our surname ending in –ski (masculine), -ska (feminine), we have had our share of fun with a Swiss estate agency, a Swiss health insurance, the Swiss electricity provider and a Swiss bank.
Let’s assume my name is Sagitta ……………….ska, and my husband’s name is Sag ……………….ski.
In all of the above companies they registered me as Sagitta ……………….ski although I provided them with the correct version of my surname. What’s important, it is the feminine form which stands in my passport. So I wrote a polite letter to the above companies (in German, proofread by a native speaker) and explained a tiny bit about the rules of Polish grammar.
None of the companies corrected my surname. It took another letter and a phone call to get things done properly.
I thought we were out of the woods until a payment slip from the agency came this morning. There it stood: Sagitta ……………….ska and Sag……………….ska!!
Do I demand too much? Should I admit defeat?
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Old 31.08.2011, 23:54
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

Mrs Sagittska, it could be worse.. it could be Mrs Sagittskova or is it Sagittova ?

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Old 31.08.2011, 23:59
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

Yeah, it could be worse...the funky -ova/-a, etc. that people don't get. It's just a special feminine ending, not entirely different name. But, could be even trickier, with -dottir, I guess. But the fact is, people with -ova basically walk around the entire life being somebody's, since it is the possesive ending, as "belonging to someone". So, Sagittova would be Saggita's girl. When chick gets married, she officially stops being her dad's and becomes her hubby's.
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:03
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

Companies get "foreign" names wrong all the time and it's a pain in the neck.

I get mail addressed to me with my maiden and married names with a hyphen in the middle (which is a pretty common Swiss practice) - which bugs the hell out of me as it sounds stupid when you say the two names together. My husband has an impossible first name (in Switzerland, very common back home) and 9 times out of 10 he will get the wrong name on the post. With a bank account I think I would hound them til they get it right as it's kind of important. With some things (like the migros points who are the hyphenators) I can't be bothered correcting it.
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:03
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

oh man.... so much for equality eh ?
They always seem to have a need to keep a careful eye on these wild females !


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But the fact is, people with -ova basically walk around the entire life being somebody's, since it is the possesive ending, as "belonging to someone". So, Sagittova would be Saggita's girl. When chick gets married, she officially stops being her dad's and becomes her hubby's.
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:05
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

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oh man.... so much for equality eh ?
They always seem to have a need to keep a careful eye on these wild females !
Yeah It is always the females.
And also - where is the famous Swiss accuracy?!
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:10
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

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Yeah It is always the females.
And also - where is the famous Swiss accuracy?!
The accuracy will happen the moment you become standardized ..Just become -ski. A basta.

Just think George Sand. Noble.
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:27
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

Same with multiple first names and surnames in the Spanish naming conventions (the children get both last names from the parents). They come up with all kind of guesses.
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:36
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

my last name sounds like a first name. and my first name sounds like a popular food product. it confuses the hell out of people!
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:38
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

You can't expect all the Swiss to understand all the totally different naming systems of the entire world. I have to live with a few facts, such as total disbelieve when I tell a Greek clerk that my dad had exactly the same first name as I; worse still, even my paternal grandpa had the same name. Greeks sometimes ask me, "Is that even legal?"

Another example, my first name is a German double name, in two words, without a hyphen, just a space. However, the second name is not like a middle name. It belongs to the first name, which means, my mom called me by both names not only when I was a bad boy. Accordingly, when filling out forms, the entire double name has to go into the "first name" field. That's a constant source of troubles in the USA.

To make things even more complicated, my first name contains an Umlaut ("ö"), which, as you may know, often can be replaced with "oe" if you have an Umlaut-less keyboard. However, in my passport, it's an "ö," which, when booking a flight, may cause alls sorts of problems in the computers of American airlines. "Type in your name EXACTLY as given in your photo ID" -- my posterior. I may end up with four or five differently spelled first names in my travel documents.

As I said, I have to live with it. I advise try to do the same.
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Old 01.09.2011, 00:43
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

I think the spelling is one thing, but the pronunciation is another..Once in Atlanta airport I got called out, they announced my name, they had to repeat it a few times and I had to stand under the crazy speaker to realize they are actually saying my last name.

My good friend has her maiden name and her new name, which makes her "hardworking gardener" in translation. In fact, "belonging to hard working and belonging to gardener". Hard working would be her hubby and gardener her dad.

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Old 01.09.2011, 10:12
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

Good thread

It works the other way round too of course.....my Russian wife and I are expecting our first baby in the new few days and if we decided to get him a Russian passport (we won't because he would need to do army service in Russia , but if we did...) he would need to be officially registered with a patronymic middle name.....which is fine if my my name is a good Russian name like Ivan (Ivanovich) or Alexander (Alexandrovich) but as a Brit, it would be odd if his middle name was Kevinovich, or Harryovich or something like that
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:17
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

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Same with multiple first names and surnames in the Spanish naming conventions (the children get both last names from the parents). They come up with all kind of guesses.
Yep, they keep asking me the second surname of my kids. We have this in Quebec too. Imagine a little boy's name Jean-Francois (first name) Heureux L'Éveiller (mom & dad's last name)

I wanted my kids to have only one last name, so we are all having the same one.

But now imagine this: My husband's first name finish with A, in spanish it is feminine names who finish with A. So he gets a lot of Mrs. If you know a bit of history, you know that name is masculine.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:24
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

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my last name sounds like a first name. and my first name sounds like a popular food product. it confuses the hell out of people!
You are Cervelas Gertrude and I claim my five pounds
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:32
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

for what little it's worth... Mrs G was in this country long before she was Mrs. G and so the bills, the phone, etc were for the longest time in her maiden name.

As result I would get phone calls from various companies asking to speak to Mr. W ...
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"sorry there is no mr. W that is my wife maiden name I'm mr. G"

"ok, will phone back when we can speak to mr.W"

I gave up and now I answer to most anything I'm called.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:37
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

Just make sure the spelling is 100% correct if you feel like representing the SVP in any election.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:37
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

I often get called by my surname as it is not an uncommon first name in Switzerland, and my first name could also be a surname.
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:38
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

bloody Cornish are so backwards
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:42
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

How I understand you

About a month after I came to Switzerland, I traded my Portuguese driving license for a Swiss one. I was walking around with a leaf of paper for about 2 months till someone called me from the... well... Fürhschein department or something...

"Hello Ms. Helm. We have a really big problem with your driving license!"

I panic. OMG will I have to re-do the whole thing in Swiss German????

"What's...the...problem...sir...?"

"Our driving licenses have a max of 23 characters. Your name is far too long! I want to know what I can cut out!"



I have 6 names.

1 Forename 2 Forename 3 Surname 4 Surname 5 Surname 6 Surname

My name has been butchered by every single company in this country. When I bought my house, they had to print the contract about 8 times till they got the name correct!

I believe that, in the last 3 years, Swiss companies have covered every single permutation of 6!
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Old 01.09.2011, 10:59
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Re: feminine and masculine surnames

My girlfriend's great-grandfather was a Polish immigrant to CH, so her surname ends in "ski", but she often spells it "sky" (on her driver's license, for example), but as I recall on her grandmother's headstone it's "ska", but neither she, her sister, or her mother have ever used the "ska" ending!

Tom

Last edited by st2lemans; 01.09.2011 at 15:40.
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