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Archuleta the oikonym

Luistxo Fernandez 2008/05/23 07:14

David Archuleta lost his American Idol 2008 final, but nevertheless he is truly a TV and music sensation in the USA. And hey, Archuleta, that's a Basque name! And from Eibar, to be sure. Yes, Basque surnames tend to be oikonyms, that is, house-names. As of today there is no entry for oikonymy in the English Wikipedia, but it can be considered a branch of Onomastics, the study of proper names, just as Toponimy is the study of placenames. So Archuleta is an oikonym, and the very single house behind it is here, a farmhouse from my hometown: Aritxulueta (its current Basque name and spelling).

The oldest registered form of the name is Areschuloeta, from a document of 1498. Around 1600, there were Aritxulueta family branches in Sevilla and the Americas already. It seems some of those branches engaged in the military expansion of the Spanish empire, some under the name Arizulueta.

As for the US, one captain of the Spanish armies, Ascencio de Arechuleta (born in Eibar in 1572), took part in Juan de Oñate's expedition in 1598. It seems he (or his siblings) settled here, because the name has been well established in the current US southwest since then, among hispanics and mixed native populations. In the 17th century, the surname already lost the 1st 'e' in the name.

Info extracted for message exchanges in a local mailing list in Basque.

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Luistxo works in CodeSyntax, tweets as @Luistxo and tries to manage the automated newssite Niagarank. This Cemetery is part of a distributed multilingual blog (?!). These are the Basque and Spanish versions:

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