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Svetlana Suktueva, About Names in Kalmykia

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Svetlana talks about names among Kalmyks: Names such as Badma, Tsagan(a), Saglr and Amulng are gender neutral. Jangar, Baatr, Chingis, Aldr and Zerg are male names. The Kalmyk language does not have a grammatical gender. Gender-neutral names such as Saglr today became Saglara. Many Kalmyks have Russian names, which is connected with the exile of the Kalmyk people to Siberia. The Kalmyks had to adapt to the new environment and gave Russian names to their children. Svetlana’s name was given to her in honour of a midwife who was present at her birth in Krasnoyarskiy krai. Svetlana’s brothers also have Russian names, although her nephews have Kalmyk names only. Recently, Dayana became a popular name among Kalmyk girls. The original meaning of this name is ‘a recluse’. The Buddhist practice of staying alone is called ‘daya’ or ‘dayand orkh’. In this sense, Dayana should be regarded a sacred name, and as such it is not appropriate to give this name to girls just because it is fashionable. Other sacred names are Zayana, Chingis and Aldar. European names are also known among Kalmyks, including Gerhard, Leonel or German.




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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin