The Cultural and Language Effects of the Influence of Russian on West Siberian Tatar Names
Lawson, Edwin D.
Zavyalova, Zineida S.
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This study is part of a general investigation examining how political, economic, and cultural forces might affect a minority indigenous people speaking a different language (in this case, West Siberian Tatar in Tomsk, Siberia and the surrounding area). West Siberian Tatar is a non-written language. What this specific investigation focused on was naming patterns and their change. The hypothesis tested whether naming patterns in villages (where the dominant first language is Tatar) compared with naming patterns of Tatars who have gone to the city (many of whom have Russian names) might give a measure of how far Russification of Tatars has gone. For this question we measured the number of Tatars who adopted Russian given names as opposed to continuing their original Tatar names. A second question was whether the influence of Russification was greater for men or for women. While some might have predicted that the city-dwellers might have changed more, it came as a surprise that women in both communities were almost twice as likely to adopt Russian given names. The Appendix shows the name’s language origin, meaning, significance, and frequency. Projected future analyses include time periods, religious background, first language spoken, second language spoken, and where the languages are spoken—home, school, or work.