What’s in a Vlach name? Patronyms, double naming and ethnic identity of the Vlachs of Eastern Serbia
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double names


This paper discusses the existence of two different systems of naming used among the Vlachs of Eastern Serbia: a private one, based on their Vlach patronyms, used exclusively in their home villages and transmitted only orally, and an official, Serbian one. After presenting an overview of Romanian names and naming practices in the 18 th –19 th centuries, with a focus on the double naming system, the author explains how the Vlachs kept their Vlach patronyms after settling in Eastern Serbia, and how the second, official naming system, was Serbianized over time. In the second half of the paper, the author focuses on the recent phenomenon of the private, Vlach name gaining visibility and being used in writing, starting with the turn of the millennium, based on a variety of data sets. The increased visibility of the Vlach naming system reflects the recent increased prestige of the language, which was standardized and has started to be used in writing. The paper demonstrates that the double naming of the Vlachs reflects their dual, contextual identity, while the use in writing of the Vlach names signals an important shift in the attitude towards identity and language.

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