Does it irk you when Americans massacre the pronunciation of your perfectly wholesome Serbian name? It irks me. It frustrates me even more when American Serbs conform to the butchering of their own names to make it easier for non-Serbs. When Dušan becomes Dousanne or when Ivica become something to the effect of Eveekah. Or when Željko turn himself into Zelko. Am I expected to maim my centuries-old last name and turn Ivković into Ivkovick just because some people are refusing to try to hear me and pronounce it right?
This phenomenon pisses me off not because I don’t want to accept the fact that we, like numerous other groups of non-Anglophone immigrants, should adjust to the language and customs of the culture that dominate the country we decided to move to. Not at all. If you wanted to remain 100 percent Serbian, linguistically and culturally, you should have stayed in the Fatherland. (Even there, it’s increasingly more difficult, but that’s a different subject.) What bothers me is the general unwillingness to make an effort and adjust correctly, at least when it comes to personal names. There is a way to adjust more correctly and although it may not be perfect, Serbian immigrants of older generations, mainly those who arrived prior to the Communist takeover of Serb lands, have done it with more sense.
Visit any old Serbian cemetery in the States, read any church founder rolls, google any early-generation Serbian immigrant of note and you will find names spelled in a way that allows for their pronunciation to sound more organically Serbian, more correct. An Ivković that arrived to America in 1903 will adjust the written ending of the last name to sound Serbian rather than keep it only visually similar, while changing the pronunciation. So, he or she would substitute –ić for –itch or –ich, because the symbol ć does not exist in Latin alphabet the English language uses. Substituting ć for a c corrupts the last name and changes it. You may think it’s the same name, but if it’s not pronounced the same, it’s not the same.
In linguistics, it’s called transliteration. By definition, transliteration is the conversion of a text, including names, from one alphabet or script to another. Now, I’m not a linguist, but one doesn’t have to be an expert to know that one’s name is first spoken and then written down in a language of one’s choice, using the alphabet of that language to transcribe the name. In Serbian, you write your name according to the rules of the Serbian language. And the rules exist, so, no, it’s not up to you to adapt them to your needs. You may corrupt them, and no one can stop you, but that makes you illiterate. The same goes for English; you adapt the spelling to the pronunciation according to the existing rules.
Imagine if the Chinese or Arab immigrants decided not to adapt the spelling of their names, as they are pronounced, to the English language upon immigrating. Latin alphabet is just one of many world scripts and within it there is a multitude of varieties. When spelling a name of a non-English origin in English, one must use only the signs that English speakers can read, whether one is a Serb, Arab, Chinese or Armenian.
Imagine if the spelling of Michael Jordan’s name was not adapted to the Serbian alphabets. In the Serbian Latin alphabet, MJ’s name is spelled Majkl Džordan, so the Serbs can understand who we are talking about. The transliteration is even more needed with names whose English spelling contains symbols that don’t exist in any of the Serbian alphabets, like q, y or w. And this goes for English-to-Serbian, French-to-Serbian or Bengali-to-Serbian transliteration.
The ongoing misdirection and neglect partly came about after the World War II, when the Latin alphabet was imposed on the majority of Serbs. The Cyrillic alphabet was the script that dominated the literate parts of Serbdom for centuries. The Latin alphabet came to dominate after the Communist takeover in 1945. Its use in Serbia rapidly intensified through educational and commerical inclinations after the October Fifth coup in 2000. So, before 1945, a Serb from Herzegovina or Montenegro would have to transliterate his name from the Cyrillic script into the English Latin script, turning Ивковић most likely into Ivkovitch and preserving the essence of the name and its pronunciation. In more recent decades, a Bosnian Serb refugee would merely erase the diacritical mark in ć and be left with a c, perfectly acceptable in the English alphabet, but incorrect and transformative of the name. So, Ivković becomes Ivkovic, pronunciation ending in k, not ć. This changes the name completely. Thus, if we all still used Cyrillics in the Fatherland, upon coming to America we would have to look for transliteration solutions. Being accustomed to the Latin alphabet, we fall prey to the visual similarities and simply omit the differences that actually make sounds distinctive from one another, thus changing our own name.
A lot of Serbs I’ve debated this issue with throw the I-refuse-to-change-my-name argument at me. Well, by refusing to transliterate, you are actually changing your name. If I spell my last name in way that allows Anglophones to end it in –ick, guess what? Yes, I just changed my last name. If I spell it ending in –ich or –itch, I just preserved its Serbian form.
At the time when Serbian cultural institutions are paralyzed, to say the least, it is a small wonder that the people, left to their own devices, are going with the flow and simply letting this part of their cultural identity die, since, yes, the name is a crucial part of one’s identity. Most of the recent immigrant generations are guilty of this. It takes time and money to change one’s name and most of us decide to leave it alone. It’s a weak excuse though. Of course guidance by experts is needed to overcome this problem, but with that obviously lacking, people themselves can pay more attention and respect to the general rules of phonetics and linguistics that apply globally. I’m not about to prescribe transliteration rules for every Serbian name. First, as I said, I have no necessary expertise, and second, it is more important at this point to raise the issue than to debate solutions.
Author: Vladan Ivkovich
October 18th 2014 the Serbian Club of NYC is flying in two DJ’s from Chicago to ROCK NYC off of it’s feet. This is all in a plan to bring the Serbian Club to what it once was and beyond. Everyone come down and see Goran V. And DJ Alessandro tear it up. It will be one wild party! Free entrance for all and the party will be held at the bar where they were long ago!
To all the guys staring at Daniela’s gorgeous picture, you better have an extremely heavy dumbell in your hand or else get lost. When I first reached out to Daniela it was no surprise she was responding to me from the gym. Getting her swole on (arguably swell, but I’ll use Daniela’s terminology in this case), I was clearly bothering her and she agreed to reach out when she was done. Four hours later she reached out and I couldn’t believe that she was in the gym that long, apparently this is standard body building procedure, but hey, “no pain, no gain”, right Daniela?.
SLM: Daniela, tell us a bit about yourself and bodybuilding, how did you get into it?
DK: I started working out when I was 18 years old and immediately fell in love with the changes I saw in my body, after that I decided I wanted to become a personal trainer and learn how my body works with different nutrition. Once I figured myself out I decided I wanted to help others and share my knowledge. After many success stories I was approached by someone who had asked me if I had ever thought about competing in the NPC (National Physique Committee). My first bikini show in the NPC was November 2nd 2013 where I placed second in my class! Once I placed second that automatically qualified me for nationals! After taking a short break from dieting and later continuing, I decided to go for nationals in June of 2014. Unfortunately, I did not do as well as I expected, due to being “too muscular” for my division. Yes, I said too muscular, and yes there is such a things as being too muscular for your division. After nationals I had to make a choice. Do I stay in the bikini division or do I cross over to the figure division? The difference between the two is that bikini is more of a softer look and figure is more of a harder more muscular look. So I decided since I already have the muscle that I would step up my game and cross over to compete with the big girls. As of right now I am in my “bulking” phase and I am growing each day stronger and better! Watch out for me in 2015! It’s gonna be insane with the package I’m gonna bring!
Dear friends and Tesla enthusiasts:
January is the time to remember Tesla!
We at Tesla Science Foundation, with many pivotal activities in 2014 behind us, are gearing up for the 3rd Tesla Memorial Conference that will take place at the historic the New Yorker Hotel in New York City
Please save January 10th 2015 for Tesla!
This year’s conference “Let’s Create the Tesla Curriculum” signifies the original platform for Tesla Science Foundation, whose main goal is to incorporate the legacy of Nikola Tesla into the official school curriculum in the United States and around the world. This year we are preparing a first class line-up of expert presenters and we will update you with the final list of participants by mid-October. In the meantime we welcome your suggestions, leads and ideas – and please put this important event on your calendar!
3rd Tesla Memorial Conference program will be as follows:
9am – 6 pm Tesla Conference: “Let’s create a Tesla Curriculum”
9am – 11 pm Tesla exhibit: Past. Present. Future.
7 pm – 8 pm Tesla Bust Unveiling at the New Yorker Hotel
8pm – 11 pm Tesla Spirit Awards 2015 Gala Benefit
Tesla Spirit Awards Gala Benefit program will recognize a number of prominent speakers, dignitaries, artists and distinguished scientific individuals who contributed to promoting Tesla and will receive Tesla Spirit Award in 8 categories.
Tesla Bust Unveiling will be a special highlight of the evening. The New Yorker Hotel is the “mecca” for Tesla followers around the world and this will permanently mark the hotel as the one of the historical destinations where Tesla lived and worked for the last 10 years of his life.
We hope you will be joining us in January and we want to remind you of our TS Foundation goals and plans as we are planning our 2015 agenda. We ask for your kind support.
Tax deductible donation checks should be addressed and mailed to: Tesla Science Foundation, 957 West King Road, Malvern, PA 19355.
Thank you very much for your interest. We look forward to your attendance and support.
|Nikola Lonchar||Marina Schwabic|
|Tesla Science Foundation||Tesla Science Foundation|
|Phone: (484) 955-0545||Phone: (857) 417 8719|
%20%20%20%20″ alt=”” />The Tesla Science Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the life, legacy, and scientific innovations of Nikola Tesla. Today, our Foundation is the most active Tesla related organization in United States having successfully hosted numerous lectures, seminars, forums, to include our annual Energy Independence Conference. Through its dedicated efforts, TSF has attracted large numbers of scientists, engineers, artists, students and other Tesla enthusiasts worldwide. Visionary and scientist, Nikola Tesla was voted one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th Century and is included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register.
*Taken from the Tesla Foundation Event Page
Marking the 160th anniversary of birth of the great American scientist of Serbian descent. Belgrade – New York City – Chicago – Bled
Michael Idvorsky PUPIN 1854-1935
“THE SERB WHO CONNECTED THE WORLD”
New York City, N. Y.
Thursday, October 9, 2014 / 10 a.m-12 p.m. /
Laying of wreaths and bouquets
MEMORIAL SERVICE at the Michael Idvorsky Pupin Memorial
Woodlawn Cemetery / Bronx /
Sunday, October 12, 2014 / 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. /
Holy Liturgy with a Memorial Service for Michael Idvorsky Pupin
Cathedral of St. Sava (Serbian Orthodox Church)
Sunday, October 12, 2014 / 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. /
Ceremony dedicated to Michael Idvorsky Pupin
Columbia University in the City of New York
Department of Physics
538 West 120th Street, 704 Pupin Hall MC 5255, New York, NY 10027
Government of the Republic of Serbia – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Administration for the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region
Consulate General of the Republic of Serbia – New York
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America
SRBA TV – New York
Support: TELEKOM AD Belgrade – Serbia
*taken from the facebook page of Sv. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in NYC