On the inflection of Polish female and male surnames and their description in the Grammatical Dictionary of Polish

Zbigniew Bronk

badacz niezależny, Gdańsk

Zygmunt Saloni


The problem of nouns referring to people of specific sex  is recently in fashion – it is discussed in many languages. In Polish the grammatical category of gender (based on sex) is very important (in contrast to English): each noun must be masculine, feminine, or neuter. However, the masculine and feminine genders are not always used according to the sex of the person. The use of the masculine nouns for women is particularly frequent, but female derivatives of them are also used, both traditional or newly created.

            Names for which the possibility of reference to people of both sexes is  equal are surnames. The surname is the common name of family members; in Poland, it has been passed on to the children by the father (or the mother), to the wife –  by the husband, now it is possible to take the surname also from the wife. In Polish, like in many other  languages, the form of a surname differs for male and female members of the family. Although intuitively the surname of a man and a woman (e.g. siblings, children of the same parents) is the same entity, dictionaries or lists record separately two names of the type Kowalski and Kowalska – as two lexemes, differently declined by case and number. We have adhered to this solution in the Grammatical Dictionary
of Polish (SGJP), which we have recently enriched with common Polish surnames. We have systematically introduced surnames that, according to the PESEL (the national identification number) database, have at least 50 representatives of one sex, as well as individual names less frequent but generally known (including surnames of people of other nationalities).  According to the general rules of the SGJP, their variation was indicated (a surname having one nominative form, e.g. Mickiewicz or Chopin, declines differently in masculine and feminine) together with variants, as well as the correspondence between male and female versions of a surname.


surname, sex, grammatical gender, declension, grammatical dictionary

Bojarska K., 2011, Wpływ androcentrycznych i inkluzywnych płciowo konstrukcji językowych na skojarzenia z płcią, „Studia Psychologiczne” 49(2), s. 53–68.   Google Scholar

Bronk Z., Odmiana nazwisk, on-line: http://nlp.actaforte.pl:8080/Nomina/Nazwiska . 2015   Google Scholar

Jadacka H., 2007, Kultura języka polskiego. Fleksja, słowotwórstwo, składnia, Warszawa.   Google Scholar

Łaziński M. (2006). O panach i paniach. Polskie rzeczowniki tytularne i ich asymetria rodzajowo-płciowa (Warszwa 2006)   Google Scholar

Markowski A. (red.) 2004, Wielki słownik poprawnej polszczyzny. PWN, Warszawa.   Google Scholar

Rada Języka Polskiego. Nazwiska kobiet – współpraca z MSWiA: http://www.rjp.pan.pl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114:nazwiska   Google Scholar

Rozporządzenie Ministra Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji z dnia 26 października 1998 r. w sprawie szczegółowych zasad sporządzania aktów stanu cywilnego, sposobu prowadzenia ksiąg stanu cywilnego, ich kontroli, przechowywania i zabezpieczenia oraz wzorów aktów stanu cywilnego, ich odpisów, zaświadczeń i protokołów. (Dz.U. 1998 nr 136 poz. 884.)   Google Scholar

Rymut K. (2005), Słownik nazwisk używanych w Polsce na początku XXI wieku. GenPol Tomasz Nitsch, 2005. CD   Google Scholar

SGJP (2005): Saloni Z., Woliński M., Wołosz R., Gruszczyński W., Skowrońska D., Słownik gramatyczny języka polskiego. Wydanie III online. Warszawa 2015 (http://sgjp.pl)   Google Scholar

Ustawa z dnia 25 lutego 1964 r. - Kodeks rodzinny i opiekuńczy (Dz.U. 1964 Nr 9 poz. 59, z późn. zm.)   Google Scholar


Cited by

Bronk, Z., & Saloni, Z. (2019). On the inflection of Polish female and male surnames and their description in the Grammatical Dictionary of Polish. Prace Językoznawcze, 21(3), 25–37. https://doi.org/10.31648/pj.4427

Zbigniew Bronk 
badacz niezależny, Gdańsk
Zygmunt Saloni 


Copyright (c) 2019 Prace Językoznawcze

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Access to the electronic edition of the journal is open (open access). It does not require any fees, logging in or providing personal data. Every person, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, nationality, faith or political opinion, may read articles published in "Prace Językoznawcze", download versions of texts in PDF file format, identical to the printed version, and submit for publication texts of their authorship, concerning linguistic issues and meeting editorial substantive and editorial requirements and academic ethical standards binding in science.

Authors of texts may place PDF files with their texts or the entire issue of a journal on scientific Internet portals, indicating the source of the text. The number of PDF files to be used is unlimited. It is forbidden to use the texts commercially or to derive material benefits from them. The Editorial Board has the right to publish the received texts in printed and electronic editions and to disseminate their entirety as well as abstracts and keywords on the website of the journal, the publishing platform of the University of Warmia and Mazury, in printed editions and in Internet scientific databases.