The English-Slovene language contact: borrowing of personal names


  • Eva Sicherl University of Ljubljana



, pragmatic borrowing, personal names, English, Slovene


The article aims to shed some light on the growing tendency of Slovene native speakers towards borrowing English personal names when naming new-born children. Some historical overview of the borrowing of English personal names into Slovene is given, starting with lists compiled from 1931 onwards, established from the data supplied by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS). The phenomenon of borrowing personal names is discussed from the point of view of pragmatic borrowing as advocated by G. Andersen (2014), taking into account the traditional distinction between necessary loans on the one hand and luxury loans on the other. The article illustrates how in the case of personal names, ‘exoticisms’ (e.g. Alex, Liam, Kevin, Kim, Ian, Vanessa, Adrian, Ella, Emma, Patrick, Nick, Alan, Lucas, listed among the most popular 200 first names in the 2001–2013 period) compete with name forms that have been adapted and nativised long ago (e.g. Patrik), or are currently being introduced for the first time into Slovene. In these recent borrowings, the foreign forms undergo some adaptation, but at the same time, unlike other anglicisms, show the tendency to resist complete adaptation, particularly in terms of spelling and pronunciation. Such pragmatically borrowed items carry significant sociolinguistic signals about the borrowers’ attitudes, and these are briefly commented on.


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31. 12. 2015

How to Cite

Sicherl, E. (2015). The English-Slovene language contact: borrowing of personal names. Linguistica, 55(1), 273-289.