Anthroponymy as an element identifying national minority: the characteristics of Polish Old Believers’ names

  • Magdalena Ziolkowska


The paper focuses on Polish Old Believers’ anthroponymy as the element identifying the group. The Old Believers are one of the ethnic, religious and national minorities in Poland.They came here shortly after the schism in Russian Orthodox Church. They settled down in North-Eastern Poland in the second half of the 18th century. Their descendants live there till now. After coming to Poland, Russian immigrants were living in hermetic, homogenous communities. This protected their religion and culture from strong exterior influence. After the Second World War the community became more open to external world. Nowadays, after a number of civilizing and geopolitical transformations, the isolation practically disappeared making the Old Believers’ culture defenceless against influence of dominant Polish culture. Together with all that changes the Old Believers’ anthroponymy has been transformed. Contemporary Polish Old Believers’ anthroponymy consists of Russian and Polish (in Masuria region – Russian, Polish and German) elements, as a result of bilingualism (and multi-lingualism on Masuria).


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