Kulturowe przyczyny zmian w polskim imiennictwie osobowym (w ujęciu diachronicznym)
Cultural Reasons of Changes in Polish Personal Names (Diachronic Approach)
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Changes in the fund of given names used in Poland, in their symbolism and motives of choice, are the consequence of changes in the area of spiritual culture (the symbolic one). They are connected with the great changes that occurred from the Middle Ages in the sphere of beliefs, declared values, and prevailing habits in the whole of Europe. The greatest change in the Polish fund of personal names, that concerned the exchange of the repertoire and symbolism of native given names to Christian ones, was associated with the radical conversion of traditional Slavic spiritual culture, under the influence of Christian culture, which spread to Poland in the Middle Ages (10th–15th century) from western Europe. Changes on a lesser scale, during the time of Reformation, were associated with the negative attitude of Protestants towards the cult of saints, contrary to Catholics who supported it. From the end of the 18th century, when Poland lost its independence, there have been noticeable patriotic attempts to partially restore the native, old, Polish given names. From the Middle Ages to modern times, names in use were strongly influenced and enriched by the names of literary protagonists and famous persons from European literary culture. In modern times, the reason for such a departure from religious motivations to secular ones of various kinds, when choosing a baptismal name, may be sought in the progressive secularization of the society in Europe, initiated by some intellectual and social trends of the Age of Enlightenment. In the repertoire of forenames recently given in Poland, their variable popularity is an observed phenomenon. Periodically, new, foreign given names will appear (in connection with the opening to the world) as well as different nicknames. With regards to motivation, aesthetic predilections prevail. Given names of Christian origin still hold a relatively strong position, firmly rooted in the Polish culture. The appearance of surnames, at first common ones, and legally binding from the 19th century onwards, has led to the lack of sole reliance on a given name in the identification and representation of a person. This is a very important change, caused by the development of civilization. Since then, in official relations, this function is performed by the name and the surname.
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