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  • Which is actually the Frankish version of Svatopluk

    May 19, 2009

  • Interesting that they should have taken a Slavic name.

    May 19, 2009

  • Politics. Emperor Arnulf of Karinthia named his son after Svatopluk of Moravia, who was the godfather.

    May 19, 2009

  • Too bad the name never caught on in the West. I think it means something like "Holy Army".

    May 19, 2009

  • Svato-polk? Wikipedia informs me that the contemporary version must have been something like Sventopluk. That makes sense, with the Franks replacing the final element with the more familiar -bold.

    May 19, 2009

  • In the 8th and 9th centuries, the first vowel in the word svat ("holy") would have been a nasal front vowel, probably pronounced something like the sound in the French word vin, which is why the Franks spelled it -en-. It evolved differently in different Slavic languages, turning into something we usually transliterate as "ja" or "ya" in Russian (e.g. �?в�?той = svjatoj, "holy" – though it's more complicated than that), an a or á in Czech (compare the names Václav and Wenceslaus), the nasal sound in Polish (święty means "holy"), and a high front e in the South Slavic languages (svet means "holy" in both Slovene and Serbo-Bosno-Croatian).

    The second part of the name would in Old Slavic have originally been pronounced more or less pulk (rhyming with the English word hulk), where the "u" stands for a short schwa sound. This meant something like "host" or "army" ("a mass of people"). It is actually a borrowing from a Germanic root that has developed today into folk in English and Volk in German (which makes the Franks' hearing it as a different Germanic word somewhat ironic). This word also developed differently in the different branches of Slavic: polk in East Slavic (e.g. Russian) and South Slavic (e.g. Slovene), and pluk in West Slavic (e.g. Czech).

    May 20, 2009

  • Most interesting. Pulk made it back into German, as you may know. I've encountered polk as the word for 'regiment' in Russian, and Polish has something similar.

    Thanks for explaining where the 'n' came from.

    May 20, 2009