What is the origin of the surname Piliafas?

By: | Post date: 2016-10-21 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

Interesting.

Pilafás is a real Greek surname. Googling, the most famous instance of a Pilafas is some businessman’s son cum DJ who’s married the actress Katerina Papoutsaki. Παναγιώτης Πιλαφάς βιογραφικό – iShow.gr

Whatevs.

Pilafas means, straightforwardly, “Pilaf guy”. and the -as suffix weighs towards “Pilaf maker”. Pilaf, rice in broth, is an exceedingly popular dish through a large swathe of Asia and Southeastern Europe.

Piliafas is also a real Greek surname. The most prominent exponent thereof on Google appears to be Christos “The Mad Greek” Piliafas, Mixed Martial Arts expert from Traverse City, MI.

In Greece, the most prominent exponent is Andreas Piliafas, who plays in the Corinthian Soccer League. There’s also some junior playing in Ioannina.

Suffixes of Greek surnames are usually regional patronymics, and they tell you where the bearer is from. But this is a professional suffix, and it doesn’t.

The second <i> in Piliafas, which makes it pronounced [piʎafas] (palatal l) bothers me. I’ve got a hypothesis, and I’m very unsure of it.

I’m finding Piliafas’s in Ioannina prefecture and Corinthia. I’ve also found an Albanian businessman (presumably ethnic Greek) in Athens, eChamber, with both a Greek and an Albanian name: Vasillaq Piliafa/Vasilakis Piliafas, son of Theologos.

Pilafi in Greek comes from Pilav in Turkish. In Albanian, it’s pilaf, pronounced [piʎaf]: [pilaf] would be spelled pillaf (like Vasillaq).

Ioannina prefecture is across the border from Albania. Corinthia was traditionally Arvanitika-speaking.

So I suspect that Piliafas is a variant of Pilafas. The variant looks like it applies to the Greek of Southern Albania, and the Greek spoken across the border from the Greek of Southern Albania; it also looks like it’s what Albanian would come up with. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s only Albanian; for all I know, pilâv [piʎav] is also a variant pronunciation in Turkish.

The Corinthia thing may be a coincidence; the Albanian spoken there would have been already cut off from Albania by the time they were introduced to Pilaf.

So: it’s Greek, there’s weak evidence for Epirus or other areas influenced by Albanian; and that’s all I’m getting from Google.

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