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I know that Assunção is referring to Assunção de Maria, and etymologically hails from the Latin assūmptiō.

  1. But how does Mary's Assumption relate to these ordinary Portuguese "Fulano, Cicrano e Beltrano" surnamed Assunção?

  2. Are, or were, these Portuguese communicating that they were related to the Virgin Mary? But it's haughty to assume (pun intended) that you are a child of the Virgin Mary!

  3. Why did merely Lusophones surname themselves Assunção? Why didn't speakers of European languages that also loaned an etymon from Latin assūmptiō, surname themselves with that etymon? I have never heard of "assumption" as a surname for Anglophones living in 2022, "assomption" as a surname for Francophones living in 2022, "Assunzione" for Italophones in 2022, or "asunción" for Hispanophones in 2022.

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    Welcome to Portuguese SE. Note that I removed quotations extraneous to the questions. As for question 1, why do you think there's such a relation?
    – stafusa
    Aug 2, 2022 at 8:39

1 Answer 1

5

Why are so many Portuguese still surnamed Assunção, in 2022?

There aren't actually that many, this is a fairly rare surname. And the current year is not of much relevance, since changing one's surname is not at all common (except for marriage or adoption), so they tend to persist for quite some time.

As for the other questions, in reverse order:

  1. Why did merely Lusophones surname themselves Assunção? Why didn't speakers of European languages that also loaned an etymon from Latin assūmptiō, surname themselves with that etymon?

This makes a false assumption (pun not intended), since the corresponding surnames are found in Spanish (see here and here) and French (here), for instance. They are not common in these languages, but "Assunção" is not common in Portuguese either.

  1. Are, or were, these Portuguese communicating that they were related to the Virgin Mary? But it's haughty to assume (pun intended) that you are a child of the Virgin Mary!

"Assunção" isn't seen as Mary's surname, so it could hardly be used to indicate family relation. The name, often accompanied by the preposition "de", usually indicates devotion to Mary, not kinship.

Since "Assunção" is also a toponym, the surname might in some cases refer to a place, instead of Mary herself. But devotion is likely to be the most common origin.

  1. But how does Mary's Assumption relate to these ordinary Portuguese "Fulano, Cicrano e Beltrano" surnamed Assunção?

These are by no means "ordinary Portuguese", but actually just a way to refer to unspecified people. I don't see why there should be any relation.

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