„PEOPLE WRITE LETTERS...” — ABOUT ETYMOLOGIES OF SURNAMES One of the problems the onomastic researcher encounters is surname polymotivationality. The noun mączka, for instance, which motivates the surname Mączka, has many meanings. If there is no contextual attestation for the surname, one can only define its origin hypothetically. Names are also motivated by dialect appellatives typical for a particular region. Such appellatives, when petrified in surnames, give away the place of their inhabitants’ origin. For instance, the dialect appellative czardybon, characteristic of the area of Opolian Silesia, motivates the surname Czardybon. A bearer of this surname, in fact, comes from Opolian Silesia. Some anthroponymic data also require the assistance of a researcher and onomast, for instance, in the creation of family trees: Antoni (alias Pierwszygrosz Formanowicz (1680 r.)) was designated with the byname Pierwszygrosz as well as the patronymic designation Formanowicz. The duality of such designations persisted until the early 19th century, but subsequent descendants used only one designation, Formanowicz. Lovers of genealogy assembled in genealogical societies ask for similar advice. Serving as an example is another group of surnames (those with -ski) associated with the topography of the terrain. One can derive them from a topographic name or from a place name, for instance, Podgajski (living near or alongside a grove, or from the place names Podgaj, Podgaje). Requiring more attention are two-component surnames of the type Kostry-Podsędkowięta, motivated by the place name Kostry-Podsędkowięta, as well as formations of foreign origin, for example, German Au, which the Polish language adopted on native soil without change. The search for the original meaning and function of a given surname in society demands of the researcher and onomast not only linguistic explanations but also extralinguistic.