Kids’ Names

When the girls have been reporting on kids’ names in their respective classes, this has been somewhat surprising. Less of a surprise that there are several “foreign-sounding” names, esp. at E’s school where the share of “children with a migrant background”is around 40%. But in general, the set of names has completely shifted from my generation.

Fontane writes about the hero of the eponymous book, Major von Stechlin (from the lake that is the namesake of Ingm’s school):

When you’re from Fiesack, your name should not be Raoul.

[Wer aus Friesack (small town North of Berlin) ist, darf nicht Raoul heißen.] Presumably, “Raoul” sounded very exotic. Von Stechlin’s first name is “Dubslav”, of course, and it is his fretting about this “exotic”, Pommeranian name, that prompts this statement.

It used to be that many non-Germans were astonished if not outraged that there was an officially-maintained list of acceptable first names and that any birth registration would have to conform to this list. The rationale was always protection of a child. I’m not entirely sure what has happened to that list, it certainly seems to have expanded.

Obviously, “fashionable” names also fluctuate.

It is a little peculiar how popular “Julian” must have been 20-25 years ago. There are so many young footballers these days named Julian. The German national team in their test match against England in March played two Julians (Weigl and Brandt), a third (Draxler) would have been on the team as well, had injury not kept him home in Paris.

 

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