Ová and out: Slovak women dropping female suffix from surnames

Nationality still a problem, though, and linguists warn against hasty change to convention.

(Source: Pixabay)

Angela Merkelová, Drew Barrymorová, Greta Thunbergová, Mikaela Shiffrinová.

To foreign readers, coming across these names in Slovak media could be a surprise, but it is simply following linguistic convention with the suffix -ová placed at the end of a surname to indicate the female gender.

But this linguistic convention is changing with anecdotal evidence that more women getting married are opting to either adopt the male version of their husband’s surname, without adding the female suffix, as is the traditional custom, or to combine their new surname with their maiden surname.

Practical, business, and other reasons

Bea Ertl, who got married in late July, decided on the former. Instead of adding the female suffix to her husband’s name and becoming Ertlová, she left it as Ertl.

“Before I got married, I had to live with a long and complicated surname [Kolodziejska] and the authorities and institutions kept getting it wrong [in documents],” Ertl told The Slovak Spectator. “That’s why I opted for the shortest possible version of my new surname when I got married.”

She said that people who know her got used to her new name quickly and reactions to her choice has been positive so far.

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