General Question

sferik's avatar

What percentage of Armenian last names end in -ian or -yan?

Asked by sferik (6072 points ) January 3rd, 2009

Also, what percentage of Scottish and Irish last names start with “Mac-” or “Mc-”?

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6 Answers

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Both the suffix and prefix you reference relate back to designating “from” or “of”. As does “von” in German. Surnames are either place, occupation or parent-derived. (Johnson= son of John).

The answer to your question is, it has nothing to do with the ethnicity of the name.

sferik's avatar

I know why so many Armenians have ”-ian” and ”-yan” patronymic suffixes.

I was wondering how prevalent it was.

In my personal experience, all the Armenians I know have names that end in ”-ian” but I may have met people who I didn’t realize were Armenians who lacked the traditional suffix.

andrew's avatar

A high enough percentage to reasonably guess that “Jane Kardashian” will be of Armenian decent (though not necessarily to infer that she’ll make a sex tape).

Likewise with the scottish/irish names—while there are many Scottish names that don’t begin with Mac/Mc (like Wallace or Burns), it’s reasonable to assume that Jane MacLaine will be of scottish heritage.

Ditto for -dotter and Icelandic.

sferik's avatar

@andrew Thanks! Didn’t know about -dotter.

You may be interested in my related question about cultures that don’t follow the practice.

tigran's avatar

haha.. its sad though fortunate that some people find out about Armenians from the Kardashians
but to answer your question, most Armenians have names that end in -ian or -yan, and those who don’t either changed it while moving to another country or removed the -ian at the end to assimilate easier. I even know someone with -khan at the end.
One other thing that happens with alot of armenians from Russia, is that they change the -ian to -ovich. Furthermore, during soviet times, a russian passport would consist of First name, Last name, and Dad’s first name + ovich.

irocktheworld's avatar

im half armenian! and yes it’s true because my last name ends with -ian

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