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Re: Dutch surnames (scatological warning!)

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 12:00
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets skrev:
> 2009/4/7 René Uittenbogaard <ruittenb@...> > >> 2009/4/6 Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets >> <>: >>> Note that my second last name (my husband's family >>> name) is also >> relatively >>> strange/funny. "Koevoets" simply means "cow foot" :) >>> . >> does it? I don't know about the etymology of the name, >> but I'd expect "cow foot" to be "koeienvoet". Perhaps >> it's related to "koevoet" = crowbar? >> >> > I doubt it. It's what the Koevoets themselves say their > name means (they even have a family weapon with a cow's > foot on it. It's not an original one of course, it was > made something like a century ago). That said, it might > be folk etymology. In any case, whether the name means > "cow foot" or "crowbar", you have to agree that it's a > weird family name (as far as I know, the Koevoets family > name originates from Breda. Would that explain the > etymology?). > > My husband always says that when completely translated > into French, his full name sounds quite noble (as long as > you don't know French :) ). Of course, in French he makes > it Jean Henry Marie Pied de la Vache-Grandsire (mine > would be Christophe Alain Grandsire-Pied de la Vache). I > personally prefer to keep to the original version :) .
This reminds me of the old French fashion of using the naming format _<first name> <father's surname> de <mother's surname>_. I guess this was a quasi-legitimate way of making a bourgeois name sound 'noble' by getting a _de_ into it. It is of course also reminicent of the Hispano- phone formats _<first> <father's surname> <mother's surname>_ and _<first> <father's surname> de <husband's surname>_. What I wonder is how common this format was in France, and how long it was in use. I'm quite sure the _terminus ante quem_ was 1789, but when did it begin? FWIW _kofot_ is only 'crowbar' in Swedish. The hoof of a cow is _klöv_, which is an ablaut derivation of _clave[^1]_. Christophe's surname sounds like the nickname of the patriarch of a fairy-tale robber band! (And of course St. Christopher was originally a robber!! :-) [^1]: _cleave_ from PIE *gleubh- has both a strong inflection _clove, cloven_ and a class I weak _cleft, cleft_, while _cleave_ from *gleibh- is only class II weak _cleaved, cleaved_ -- i.e. regular in modern English terminology. You learn something every day! BTW how would you translate _arrêter_ in my sig? /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*, c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)


Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>Dutch surnames
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <>