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Created by Administrator Account in 3/14/2010 1:27:20 PM


...I took your advice about contacting the Prof. in Krakow, in fact I went to see him at his office (after making an appointment of course). The attached file which I hope works is his written answer after 2 months, I would , and I presume he would not mind, is to put it on to your site for future reference, and hopefully other "Nieurzyla's" will see it and maybe contact me. Hoping that you find this interesting. Regards and thank you.... John Nieurzyla.

Krakow, November 6, 1997.

Dear Mr. Nieurzyla,

During your visit in the Polish Language Institute in Krakow, in September this year, we talked about the suspected origin of your surname Nieurzyla. As I wanted to consult some additional sources in order to look for the existence of different bases Nieurz- and Nieui- I promised you to write to you, after some time. Now, I can surely say that such a base as *nieurz- does not exist in Polish. In the book entitled: Slownik nazwisk wspoIczesnie w Polsce uzywanych (A dictionary of surnames borne at present in Poland), Vol.VI, Krakow 1993, published by professor Kazimierz Rymut, which I showed you, there are people who bear the same surname in different spelling, namely: Nieurzyla, Nieuzylla, Nieuzyla, Nieuzylla and Nieużyla. All these variants belong to one and the same proper Polish form Nieuzy*la. There are only 4 people in Poland who bear Nieurzyla as their surname. They live, at present, in the Bielsko-Biala province (3 people) and in that of Katowice (1 person). thus in the historical province Upper Silesia (=Gorny Slask). The surname in the form Nieużyla is borne in Poland by 347 people. Most of them (238 people) live also in the Upper Silesia, namely in the Katowice province. In the Lower Silesia (Dolny Slask), in the province of Opole reside till to-day 94 people named Nieu*zyla. The rest are spread all over Poland. This means that the surname Nieuzyla (the same refers also to other variants was borne mainly on the Silesian territory and that just there was the nest of this family. As, in the past, Silesia was ruled successively by Polish, Czech and German princes and kings the Slavic etymology of your surname might be of both Polish and Czech origin. The base of the surname might come from both old-Czech past participle neuz^il or neuz^ily and old-Polish nieużyly, modern Polish: nieuz(*yty, in both languages meaning the same:'a hedgehog'. The form ending in -a, thus Nieużyla instead of Nieu*zyly came into existence as a result of the so called "paradigmatic derivation". During this process the verbal (participial) form nieuzyly was introduced to the substantival paradigm, in this case to the feminine grammatical paradigm ending in -a - Nieuzyla. In Polish there are a lot of surnames of men which are declined according to the feminine grammatical form. We must for example le say: nie widzialem dzisiaj pana Nieużyly - (To-day, I haven't seen Mr. Nieuzyla) or Kupowalem te ksiatke z panem Nieużyla (I have, bought this book together with Mr. Nieuzla) and so on.

Another interesting consideration. If the surname Nieu*zyla (Nieurzyla) were of Czech origin it would first to be Polonicized, as the original Czech form would have to be spelled Neuz^il. As you remember I found such a surname in a book devoted to the Czech surnames. Therefore, we may say that the form Nieużyla is either a Polonicized form of a Czech Neuz^il or an original Polish form Nieużyla. To sum up it is to say that the form of the surname Nieurzyla, used by you, is an incorrect orthographic form of the proper Polish one: Nieużyla. Such incorrectness originated therefore that from the 17th century the sound spelled in Polish rz and ż was pronounced with us in the same way, namely as ż (in English marked phonetically as this sound you can find in the English word "measure." ) Till nowadays many people in Poland make mistakes in spelling, by writing rz instead of ż and vice versa. The newest example: At present, an American first name Jessica became very popular in Poland. It occurs that even in Polish Register Offices this name is registered against Polish rules of spelling, namely Drzesica, although the proper Polish counterpart of Americam Jessica should be spelled rather Diezika. In Polish linguistic circles, however, there is opinion that the names borrowed from those of foreign ones should be spelled according to their original foreign forms. Alas, there are with us also some linguistic purists who want that foreign names were adapted to Polish spelling rules. This is all I could tell you on the linguistic origin of your surname.

With best greetings




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