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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 331

Weber, Weaver; Bucher, Booker; Vogelgesang, Birdsong; Sonntag, Sunday, and so on. It is not unusual for some members of a family to translate the patronymic while others leave it unchanged. Thus in Pennsylvania (and no doubt elsewhere) there are Carpenters and Zimmermans of the same blood. A Frenchman named LeRoi settled in the Mohawk Valley in the early eighteenth century; today his descendants are variously named Leroy, Larraway and King. Partial translations are also encountered, e. g., Studebaker from Studebecker, and Reindollar from Rheinthaler, and radical shortenings, e. g., Swiler from Lebenschweiler, Kirk from Kirkeslager, and Castle (somewhat fantastically) from Katzenellenbogen. The same processes show themselves in the changes undergone by the names of the newer immigrants. The Hollanders in Michigan often have to submit to translations of their surnames. Thus Hoogsteen becomes Highstone, Veldhuis becomes Fieldhouse, Huisman becomes Houseman, Prins becomes Prince, Kuiper becomes Cooper, Dykhuis becomes Dykehouse, Konig becomes King, Werkman becomes Workman, Nieuwhuis becomes Newhouse, and Christiaanse becomes Christians. Similarly the Greek Triantafyllopoulos (signifying rose) is often turned into the English Rose, Giannopoulos becomes Johnson, and Demetriades becomes Jameson. So, too, Constantinopoulos is shortened to Constant or Constantine, Athanasios to Nathan or Athan, Pappadakis, Pappadopoulos or Pappademetriou to Pappas. Transliteration also enters into the matter, as in the change from Mylonas to Miller, from Demopoulos to DeMoss, and from Christides to Christie. 22 And so, by one route or another, the Polish Wiikiewicz becomes Wilson, the Scandinavian Knutson becomes Newton, the Bohemian Bohumil becomes Godfrey, and the Bohemian Kovár and the Russian Kuznetzov become Smith. Some curious examples are occasionally encountered, particularly among the Italians of the big cities. The late James E. March, Republican leader of the Third Assembly District in New York, was originally Antonio Maggio. Paul Kelly, leader of the Longshoremen’s Union, was Paolo Vaccarelli. One Alessandro Smiraglia has become Sandy Smash, Francesco Napoli is