esmaspäev, oktoober 15, 2007

Jasmine ja Sass

We were strolling through Tartu one day when we happened upon a cat that had escaped its fenced-in yard and made it to another person's property. When we returned the cat we met his owner, Bruno, a Latvian man, perhaps in his 60s or 70s, who spoke fluent Estonian and was funny and good natured.

The only problem with our Bruno was that he insisted on calling me 'Jasmine'. At first I thought he was calling me 'Rasmus', which isn't a bad name considering someone just sent an e-mail to me addressed to 'Julian' -- whoever that is.

But no, when I listened carefully, I heard it again and again. 'Jasmine this' and 'Jasmine that'. Finally Epp stepped in on my behalf and politely told Bruno that my name was not 'Jasmine.' Fortunately, Bruno did not mistake me for a former NSync heartthrob. No, he turned to his wife and asked, 'But what was that princess' name?' 'Jasmine' came back her response. 'Jasmine,' he muttered to himself, and then we left it at that.

'Jasmine' is far closer to my name than what my wife's grandparents, Karl and Laine, call me. I am pretty sure that Karl knows my name is that of the saint. But to Laine I am 'Sass', which allegedly sounds close to my name, though I am not hearing it. 'Sass' is a nickname for Aleksander -- another one of Estonia's peculiar diminutives.

When forming nicknames in Estonia, usually they chop the front half of your name off and at 's' to the end. 'Peeter' becomes 'Pets', 'Toivo' becomes 'Toits', even 'Epp' can become 'Eps'. Then there are those more outrageous derivations. 'Andres' gets shortened to 'Ats', and, somehow, they make 'Sass' out of Aleksander.

This doesn't happen with all names though. Fellows named 'Hannes' are apparently stuck with 'just Hannes'. There will be no wild nicknames for them. But if Hannes Võrno is ever feeling sorry for himself, he can thank Taara that his name isn't Jasmine.

[The picture is 'Kaik Kerdub' by Annely Vassar (2001)]

14 kommentaari:

Kaur ütles ...

I think that Sass comes form russian abrivation for Alexander which is Sasha (I guess).

Sverik ütles ...

Minul tuli ükspäev pähe, et sinu eestindatud nimi võiks olla Juss. Justin -> Justinus -> Justus -> Juss. Samas, Juss on lühend Juhanist, mis on lühend Johannesest, mis on omakorda Giovanni üks vorme, see aga ei ole sugugi sama nimi mis Giustino. Teisest küljest aga, mis siis. Jass oleks võib-olla kõlaliselt sarnasem Justiniga, aga Juss kõlab... paremini.

Aleksander-Sass on osa vene hüüdnimede müsteeriumist, neist on võimatu aru saada. Vene keeles on see lühend Saša, mis eestipäraselt kõlabki Sassina.

margus ütles ...

J-Sinc, what's wrong with 'Jasmine'? You don't want to be named by a flower? xD

Jim Hass ütles ...

Wasn't there a character named "juss" in Feeeling Minnesota"?

Eppppp ütles ...

Alexander in Russian can be Sasha or Shura, but where the heck they got these abreviations?

Flasher T ütles ...

I think Sass is actually the Estonian mechanic: Aleksander -> Sander (which exists as a standalone name) -> Sass (which is canonical Estonian reduction).

But yes, next time you can say "Ma pole Sass, ma olen Juss". :)

Doris ütles ...

Well, I actually happen to be working with a guy called Jasmin. He has a sister called Jasmina... I kid you not.

and I'm sometimes called Dots, which in Estonian sounds like Tots, with the palatalised t in the end... which is just annoying. Imagine your nickname to be "babe" and that derived from your name... you can't even pretend that the people calling you that are chauvinistic morons...

Giustino ütles ...

People called Hannes should use the nickname 'Han', after the coolest character in Star Wars (after Chewbacca).

Flasher T ütles ...

Except in Estonian, it would be pronounced "Hunn".

Which is also quite cool, if you think about it.

margus ütles ...

Like: I'm Attila the Hun, I'm a badass.

Blogaddict ütles ...

Yeah, good luck trying to teach estonians that "dzh" sound. :-)

Why, have people call you simply "Kusti" or if you sometimes want to be more official or to give a highbrow hint that you have even been to a big city many times, say your name is "Kustas".

Jim Hass ütles ...

that painting reminds me of a famous bridge in Tartu. Any info on that topic?

Laura ütles ...

Is this why they called my uncle Konstantin "Koss" -- or sometimes Kostas?? I never quite got it --

margus ütles ...

that painting reminds me of a famous bridge in Tartu. Any info on that topic?

The resemblance is quite weak.

Do you mean famous because of the 'activity'?