People have sometimes asked me where I got the name “Dominus”, and even suggested that I might have made it up myself, but I did not, and there is no story. Here is my great-grandfather, Andor Dominus, sometime in the early 1950s:
Andor was Hungarian, born in Szeged, Hungary in 1886. There is something about that which has always puzzled me a little.
In Hungarian, the letter ‘s’ by itself is pronounced like English /sh/. To get the sound of English /s/ in Hungarian you must write ‘sz’, like in ‘Szeged’, which is pronounced /seged/. So in Hungarian, the name “Dominus”, if it were spelled that way, would be pronounced more like /Dominush/. To be pronounced with a hard ‘s’, as we do, it would need to be spelled “Dominusz”.
By 1909 Andor was living in Vienna. When he moved from Hungary to Austria, he must have changed either the spelling or the pronunciation of his name, presumably to help the Austrians get it right. So the puzzle: Was Andor's name originally pronounced /Dominush/ and spelled “Dominus”, or was it originally pronounced /Dominus/ and spelled “Dominusz”? I wondered about this for a long time.
But thanks to the Wonders of the Internet, I have the answer. Google search for “Dominusz” finds many people still in Hungary whose name has that spelling. Andor was presumably born “Dominusz Andor”, and changed to an Austrian spelling when he moved, keeping as close as possible to the original pronunciation.
(Note that in Polish, the sounds of ‘s’ and ‘sz’ are the reverse of the Hungarian sounds. This mismatch should not be too surprising. Polish and Hungarian are not related.)