This Czech surname MALAK was originally derived from the word MALY meaning small. This was both a nickname for a physically small man, and a pet name for a child, which was sometimes retained in adult life. The noun MALEC in Poland as well as Czechoslavakia, has the additional sense 'young man'. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MALIK, MALEC, MALECK, MALAT, MALY, MALICKI, MAHLE, MALKO and MALOV, to name but a few. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. A notable member of the name was Jacob Alexandrovich MALIK (1906-80) the Soviet politician, born in the Ukraine. He was said to have been one of Stalin's favourite 'juniors', and was ambassador to Japan from 1942 until 1945, and deputy foreign minister in 1946. In 1948 he became Soviet spokesman at UNO and was ambassador to Britain from 1953 until 1960. From 1960 he was again deputy foreign minister, serving a second term as ambassador to the United Nations (1968-76). The modern state of Czechoslovakia is going through a transitional phase as a result of the fall of the Iron Curtain. Its various regions encompassed the medieval provinces of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. The first two of these, where the language properly called Czech is spoken, were heavily subject to German cultural and linguistic influence from the Middle Ages onwards, being administratively a Crownland of Austria for much of the time until independence in 1918. This influence is reflected in the many Czech surnames derived from German, both from given names, and from vocabulary words. Occupational names are quite common in Czech as are nicknames, especially those referring to some physical feature. Many of the most common Czech surnames have the diminutive ending 'CEK', which is often found attached to these names.
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