Aleksander Malinowski's F.A.Q.

Olek or Alex?

Aleksander spelled by KS instead of X is a Polish version of Alexander. I came originally from Poland where I grew up and did my undergraduate study. I moved to USA for the first time only in 1992. Ukraine is a neighboring country to the east of Poland. I am not sure how Alexander is spelled there but in the medieval Polish there was another form of Aleksander that was spelled Oleksander. For some reason only Aleksander survived in modern Polish while both Alek (but not Aleks) and Olek are popular for abbreviations like Alex in English. In American English Alex seems to be a different name than Alexander these days, though.

My parents always called me Olek. Now I still use Olek and there is no rule whether I use Alex among English speaking and Olek among Polish speaking. Some people even made up Oleks, Olex, or even Olexander which amazes me each time I see it but I never corrected them and I really don't mind and smile to myself when I read it spelled that way.

I generally try to be consistent and if someone calls me Alex I don't correct him or her into Olek except when it is in communication in Polish. I don't correct Olek into Alex either. I guess I could also use Spanish Alessandro. For me it is the very same name each time.

The only spelling (or misspelling) that ticks me off is Alexsander by XS. Such form of my name does not exist in any language, I think. It is sometimes created from my sloppy handwritten K that looks like X and it might be my fault as other people expect to see X in that place instead of K as it makes more sense to them.

After writing that lengthy lecture that I hope that was not too boring, I think that this email could be posted on my Web site for other curious friends and colleagues around the world.

Screen Name OlekMali?

Used ID olekmali was created by the system administrator at the Gdansk Technical University. I guess the idea was to combine my nick name Olek (see Olek vs. Alex) and the beginning of my family name. At that time in early 90s in Poland it made sense to me. However, now I can see how evil plot of that sys admin it was. After creating and using many accounts for several years olekmali was coined. Nowadays I use olekmali at something in almost every user profile at every institution or service with the Web access. My first or the last name alone is very long, so I did overhear that some of my students call me Dr. OlekMali behind by back, ad that's fine with me too.

Occasionally some people would rather see olekmail than olekmali as it makes more sense to them to read it as an abbreviation of Olek's email. Anyway, the evil is already done.
(O, thank you Mr. Martin, my sys admin from my first Alma Mater!)

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