Your favourite names (in any language)

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-20, 16:36

Aurinĭa wrote:I didn't realise that number, Sr, or Jr was an actual part of the name; if I ever thought about it, I thought it was just something people added for convenience's sake, rather than an official part of the name.


Yeah, I didn't know that either. I would have guessed it was part of the given name if anything.

The funny thing is, this couple was having a son, and the Finnish mother was wondering what they would do with that boy's surname. Because they wanted to continue the tradition of male naming ( :roll: ), but in Finland the child must get the same last name that the parent has. So she was wondering if the son would be 'Smith V' or 'Smith IV', officially. :lol: I find this a bit hilarious because she never apparently noticed that her last name is not the same as her husband's (being just 'Smith'). Actually I wonder how that works, can you just technically take any last name for yourself at marriage? Or should she technically have taken 'Smith IV' if they got married in Finland? :lol: What a mess!

And future siblings must get the same last name as previous siblings, so if the boy had been 'Smith V' officially, would the next, say a daughter, also be 'Smith V'?

The whole thing is ridiculous, I don't think the Finnish officials should ever have incorporated the ordinal into the man's Finnish offical identity.
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby linguoboy » 2017-04-20, 17:03

I'm not totally sure what the current status is of these names here. Traditionally the numbers etc. were simply something added for the sake of convenience and had no official status. Furthermore, those in a direct line moved up following the death of a progenitor. For instance, my father was a "Jr", but he didn't name any of us after him, so when my grandfather died, he simply dropped the suffix. (Until this discussion, I'd actually forgotten he'd ever used it.)

Nowadays, it seems people often keep the designation. My college roommate, for instance, used "III" after his name even though his grandfather was no longer living. This makes me wonder if databases and other pseudo-official records are increasingly treating these suffixes as part of the name proper rather than an adjunct. I know that our current standard for bibliographical description, RDA, now considers them integral and allows their incorporation into established forms. (Previously, established forms would be distinguished by birth/death/flourished dates alone.)
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-04-20, 17:26

Varislintu wrote:The funny thing is, this couple was having a son, and the Finnish mother was wondering what they would do with that boy's surname. Because they wanted to continue the tradition of male naming ( :roll: ), but in Finland the child must get the same last name that the parent has. So she was wondering if the son would be 'Smith V' or 'Smith IV', officially. :lol:

Does the child have to get the same name as the father, or the same name as a parent? If the latter, they could give the son the mother's married name and just add a V unoffically.

I find this a bit hilarious because she never apparently noticed that her last name is not the same as her husband's (being just 'Smith'). Actually I wonder how that works, can you just technically take any last name for yourself at marriage? Or should she technically have taken 'Smith IV' if they got married in Finland? :lol: What a mess!

What are the rules in Finland for changing your name when you get married? Does the woman's name automatically get changed upon marriage, or does she have to apply for it specifically? If she doesn't want to, would that be frowned upon? Would a husband be allowed to change his name to his wife's? Could both change their name to a third name? How does it work for same-sex couples?

There are so many things I don't understand about this custom.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-20, 18:17

Aurinĭa wrote:
Varislintu wrote:The funny thing is, this couple was having a son, and the Finnish mother was wondering what they would do with that boy's surname. Because they wanted to continue the tradition of male naming ( :roll: ), but in Finland the child must get the same last name that the parent has. So she was wondering if the son would be 'Smith V' or 'Smith IV', officially. :lol:

Does the child have to get the same name as the father, or the same name as a parent? If the latter, they could give the son the mother's married name and just add a V unoffically.


Parent. Our son got my last name, for instance. :) (Although we're not married, but it's the same process for cohabitants.) And yeah, that would seem like the easiest solution to me, too. But I don't think the woman realised this at all, and I didn't want to actually comment in that discussion. :P

Aurinĭa wrote:What are the rules in Finland for changing your name when you get married? Does the woman's name automatically get changed upon marriage, or does she have to apply for it specifically? If she doesn't want to, would that be frowned upon? Would a husband be allowed to change his name to his wife's? Could both change their name to a third name? How does it work for same-sex couples?


No, oh god, thankfully über-patriarchal naming laws have been dropped here a few decades ago (but note, only a few decades ago! Like 1985 or something). A common name needs to be applied for before marriage, otherwise both retain their old names. Husbands are allowed to change to the woman's name as well. I don't think it's frowned upon if the woman keeps her old name, but I live in a liberal bubble. I'm sure some conservative families and mental dinosaurs can still whip up butthurt over such a case in their family, but I think it's starting to be really marginal. Both could change their name to a third name (I've heard of such a case), but I think only after the marriage through mundane name-changing processes.

Aurinĭa wrote:There are so many things I don't understand about this custom.


Why, is it traditionally different in Belgium? :o
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-04-20, 18:56

Yes. It's just not done. At least among Dutch-speaking Belgians; I'm not entirely sure, but I think a woman changing her name upon marriage is (or used to be?) more common among French-speaking Belgians. As a child, I found it strange that married people in the English children's books I read (in translation) always had the same surname, like they'd specifically looked for someone with the same name to get married or something? :lol:
If you get married in Belgium and you do want to change your name, you have to go through the standard name-changing process.

Edit: Yserenhart pointed out I forgot to include books from the Netherlands, where women (and even same-sex couples) also change their name upon marriage.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-21, 18:49

Aurinĭa wrote:Yes. It's just not done. At least among Dutch-speaking Belgians; I'm not entirely sure, but I think a woman changing her name upon marriage is (or used to be?) more common among French-speaking Belgians. As a child, I found it strange that married people in the English children's books I read (in translation) always had the same surname, like they'd specifically looked for someone with the same name to get married or something? :lol:
If you get married in Belgium and you do want to change your name, you have to go through the standard name-changing process.

Edit: Yserenhart pointed out I forgot to include books from the Netherlands, where women (and even same-sex couples) also change their name upon marriage.


Nice to hear that it's been like that. :yep: I recently read in an article that even in Finland, it didn't use to be the rule for women to change their names when getting married. But then a law forcing them to was created in the beginning of the 1900s, and it wasn't repealed until 1985. By that time everybody of course only remembered that 'it's always been like that', meaning that women change their names.

Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but my opinion is that women should keep their old names at marriage, and that it makes the most sense that children get their mother's last name. But my son is still an oddity, getting my name, and I have gotten weird comments about it already. :roll:
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-04-21, 22:33

Varislintu wrote:Nice to hear that it's been like that. :yep: I recently read in an article that even in Finland, it didn't use to be the rule for women to change their names when getting married. But then a law forcing them to was created in the beginning of the 1900s, and it wasn't repealed until 1985. By that time everybody of course only remembered that 'it's always been like that', meaning that women change their names.

I seem to remember that that's the case in Sweden too, but I'm not sure I'm remembering correctly.
Do you know why that law was created in 1900?

Varislintu wrote:Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but my opinion is (...) that it makes the most sense that children get their mother's last name. But my son is still an oddity, getting my name, and I have gotten weird comments about it already. :roll:

Why do you think that?

Please read this only after you've explained your reasons.
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The law was changed here two years ago to allow parents to choose the mother's name, the father's name, the combination mother's name-father's name, or the combination father's name-mother's name. If the parents disagree, the law first specified the father's name would be given to the child, but that was taken to court on the grounds of being discrimination and the court agreed, so then the law was changed to prescribe the combination of both names in alphabetical order. Siblings have to have the same name. Most couples still go with tradition and just take the father's name, though.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-22, 7:57

Aurinĭa wrote:Do you know why that law was created in 1900?


No. It's on my list of things to investigate, but I haven't gotten to it yet. :yep:

Aurinĭa wrote:
Varislintu wrote:Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but my opinion is (...) that it makes the most sense that children get their mother's last name. But my son is still an oddity, getting my name, and I have gotten weird comments about it already. :roll:

Why do you think that?

Please read this only after you've explained your reasons.


Okay! I think it makes most sense to go with the mother's name because:

1. I think matrilinear societies make more sense in the first place. It's usually clear who gives birth to someone, while biological fatherhood can always fall under doubt. The patrilinear naming that came with patriarchal society and family structures in my view led to a huge insecurity about biological lineages, and the women were the ones who suffered for this as men and the society working for the patrilinear system felt the need to increasingly control them and the access to their reproductive systems. We're still trying to recover from the eons of this misery even in our culture. Of course, biological lineage is not that important anymore (not like it used to be), so one can argue that this is irrelevant already. But... how many children get their names from their mother again? We still live with this ghost, and the only way to dispel it is to normalise the opposite custom. Okay, this ended up being two separate reasons in one, kind of like two shades of the same issue.

2. The mother makes the baby, almost literally (the fetus of course is the most active instigator of the process -- the mother's body mostly tries to fight the whole process, interestingly). It grows literally from her body, her body's building blocks.

3. Related to the previous, being a mother is an extremely physical experience in the first months, in a way that it is not for the father. The intensity and duration of this physical involvement depends on things like how does the breastfeeding work out, who stays how long with the baby, how laid back is the baby, and how involved the father wants to get. But in the typical setting, where the mother stays home in the beginning and brestfeeds, or pumps milk, etc, the degree to which your body as a mother is not yours but both yours and the baby's cannot be compared to the father's involvement in the beginning. And yet, it is so essential for the new little person. Taking into account this and reason 2 above, the father will never catch up. The sheer, crude biological investment is mainly the woman's, and it affects her biology the rest of her life. I think that's a very good reason to go for the mother's name.

I haven't mentioned this before here, but our baby fits pretty well into what is described as the high needs temperament. It has required me to invest physically even more than an average, easier baby requires. I haven't, for example, slept a longer stretch than two hours more than a handful of times in the last 8 months. This will affect my health long term. I'm wearing the baby in a manduca right now because he can't sleep without my physical presense. (This is actually a huge improvement -- until 6 months of age he didn't like the manduca and was not able to sleep in a sling either. :P ) I know this will sound like I'm bemoaning my fate (a no-no for mothers if ever there was one), but I'm aiming for an actual point :P : I'd love to have three more babies if I'd get to be the father! As it is now I'll need to seriously recuperate before deciding whether to have even one more and risk it being another high needs one. And if I'd get to be the father, I'd absolutely feel that those babies should get the hypothetical mother's last name, if the mother just wants to give it. I would not be able to match her sheer physical investment, and I'd be so ridiculously grateful to get to have children without having to make the investment myself. :) These are of course just my personal experiences, but I am only talking about my opinion here, too.

Aurinĭa wrote:I agree that everybody needs to make their own decisions, but I think it makes sense to give a child the father's name. After all, the mother carried the child, which is a connection the father (or non-carrying other mother) can't have, so giving his (her) name to the child name would be an extra connection between father and child.


I think that's admirable. :yep: This was the main reason that I considered giving up my wish for the baby to have my last name. I think it's a good and valid reason. It's like a gift. One thing that I realised when mulling these things over, was that nobody else will see it as a gift. They won't even notice, or think about it. The baby getting the father's name is just the father's unquestioned privilege in this society, he will just be getting his due, because of course babies are named after the father. This wasn't the reason we ended up choosing my name, but it did make me feel a bit sad. You can't give a privileged person a gift related to that privilege in society's eyes. On a personal level of course, the receiver may realise what the other one gave up in giving it. It's a bit like male authors of PhDs or novels, thanking in the acknowlegements theirs wives for running the household and kids and typing up their manuscripts and proofreading them so they themselves could focus on other things. Like, I'm sure on the personal level the wife feels warm inside being thanked, because she may know the husband actually knows what she sacrificed, but on a societal level it's more of the same structural sexism. :hmm:

Aurinĭa wrote:Other reasons to choose one name over the other could include: one name is nicer, easier to spell, rarer, sounds better in combination with the given name, etc.


Yeah, these would have weighed heavily in our case, but as it happens, we both have simple, easy, internationally similarly easy-to-pronounce names. :lol: I almost wish I was called Äyskäröinen or something, just so it had been easier to decide. :P
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby mōdgethanc » 2017-04-22, 23:00

Interesting. I've never thought about those reasons for matrilinear naming. I have to say it's a better case for it than the other way around, which is "children take the father's name because he is a man and men are the head of the family and superior to women, who are like children".

Another way to look at it, from a genetic perspective: the zygote always gets at least one X chromosome from the mother, but does not need a Y chromosome. There are genetic disorders that result in aneuploidies like X0, XXX, XXXX, and XYY, but it is impossible to have Y0. In the XX/XY sex determination system, female is the default until the ovum is fertilized with a Y to make it otherwise. The Y chromosome, incidentally, is extremely small.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-25, 15:35

mōdgethanc wrote:Interesting. I've never thought about those reasons for matrilinear naming. I have to say it's a better case for it than the other way around, which is "children take the father's name because he is a man and men are the head of the family and superior to women, who are like children".


Yeah. You put it very frankly, but... yeah. :) I was thinking about this topic some more over some pram walks and I came to the conclusion that I approach the last name as a kind of signature. The question becomes, who gets to "sign" the baby? (Once adults, they can of course choose their name freely, it shouldn't be an eternal choice made for them.) Approached from this angle, I can't help but arrive at the conclusion that the mother has a slightly stronger case of "authorship". But naturally that's not the only thing that weighs in the decision, and other people may approach the naming from a completely different angle, and give the signature-angle no weight at all.

mōdgethanc wrote:Another way to look at it, from a genetic perspective: the zygote always gets at least one X chromosome from the mother, but does not need a Y chromosome. There are genetic disorders that result in aneuploidies like X0, XXX, XXXX, and XYY, but it is impossible to have Y0. In the XX/XY sex determination system, female is the default until the ovum is fertilized with a Y to make it otherwise. The Y chromosome, incidentally, is extremely small.


Yeah, true. I think this line of reasoning also uses the so called signature-approach.
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-04-26, 7:03

I've mentioned this before, but Indians have all kinds of naming systems, and it's not necessarily true that a child will have the same surname as their parents even if they were a newborn boy or something. This is true to varying degrees outside India as well (for example, I have first cousins who don't even understand more than a few words of Malayalam, but they're brothers and both share a different surname from either of their parents).

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Prowler » 2017-04-27, 21:20

It's kinda funny how certain names sound better in some languages than other. Not to mention in some countries they're quite common but in others rare. Per example, Steve/Steven/Stephen sounds alright in English to me, but here it'd be... Estevão? I've never met anyone named that and I think it sounds quite bad. The name Aaron also seems simple yet functional in English but Aarão(dunno anyone named that either) would sound like a pain.

Also, I wonder if the name Joseph with its dozens/hundreds of different spellings and pronunciations isn't the name with the most different ways to spell/pronounce it. Every time you meet someone whose first name is a variant of "Joseph" you oughta ask them beforehand how to pronounce it. It seems everyone only knows how to pronounce it the English or the Spanish way, overlooking the fact in Polish, Russian(I think) , German and Dutch, the letter "J" is not pronounced like in English.

The most common female names in European language countries/societies have to be Mary and Ann. So many women under 40 are named Ana here and every woman aged 40-50 and above seems to be named Maria... well not every single one but a large amount of them, yes... my mother does not escape the rule. People even joke about how "Maria" is such a typical mother name.

I don't have a problem with the names Maria or Anne but if I ever had a daughter I'd not name her that. And no I'd not give her a super uncommon name no one else bears, either.

It's also fascinating to me how certain names seem more common in certain social classes than others. When I meet a girl/woman named Vanessa or Cátia or a guy named Fábio or Márcio they usually don't belong to the upper middle class, unlike people named Martim, Bernardo, Afonso, Leonor, Inês, Beatriz etc.

btw, a biblical name that seems very uncommon here is Isaac. Yes we have Josés, Marias and Davids, but Isaacs? Never met one.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby iamblu » 2017-04-28, 2:52

Prowler wrote:It's kinda funny how certain names sound better in some languages than other. Not to mention in some countries they're quite common but in others rare. Per example, Steve/Steven/Stephen sounds alright in English to me, but here it'd be... Estevão? I've never met anyone named that and I think it sounds quite bad.
I've met only one Estêvão, but at least in Brazil it's much more common Estéfano/Stéfano, and Stéphanie to women.

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Luís » 2017-04-28, 8:47

Prowler wrote:btw, a biblical name that seems very uncommon here is Isaac. Yes we have Josés, Marias and Davids, but Isaacs? Never met one.


I can only think of Isaac Alfaiate (the actor)
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby linguoboy » 2017-04-28, 16:49

The popularity of Isaac in the USA is relatively recent. It used to be very Jewish and had to shed that stigma (through Jews adopting other names in the early 20th century, at least for everyday use) before it could come into vogue.

That whole treadmill is fascinating to me, btw. Upwardly-mobile Jews in this country had a tradition of shedding their Hebrew names and Germanic or Slavic surnames in favour of more English-sounding alternatives. This was common among immigrant groups in general, but what happened with the Jews specifically is that once an alternative became popular among them, it acquired the same stigma as a more traditionally Jewish name and quickly went out of style.

So, for instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, men named Israel often adopted Isidor (originally a Greek name meaning "gift of Isis") or Irving (originally a Scottish surname, a variant of Irvine). Irving Berlin, for instance, was born Israel Baline. But two decades after he adopted that name, "Irving" had become so common among American Jews that those seeking to assimilate began looking for something new.

Nowadays very Hebrew names like Isaac, Noah, and Zachary are experiencing a revival in the USA and are more common among non-Jews than Jews. Plus the "New Ethnicity" of the 60s has led to a revival of ethnic markers among the middle-class, so assimilated American Jews now give their children unapologetically Israeli Hebrew names like Rivka and Itai. I wonder, though, what affect the resurgence in overt anti-Semitism will have on this trend.
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Johanna » 2017-04-30, 22:23

To me, different naming customs is pretty much another aspect of vocabulary and its usage, especially since there are many names that don't have equivalents between languages, or have different forms both native and borrowed.

Take my name for example: Johanna. There are plenty of forms around, both female and male, that I would call perfectly normal Swedish names. Just off the top of my mind there are...

Johanna
Jonna
Hanna
Anna
Ann

Johannes
Johan
John (/jɔnː/)
Jon (/juːn/)
Jan
Hannes
Hans

OK, I know that they're technically not the same, the ones beginning with J- are based on Johannes, meaning "God is gracious" or something like it, while the others simply mean "grace", but even this far removed from Hebew we still see them as related. Also, if your average Swede had to guess, only Anna and Ann would end up in a different category.

In any case, someone named Jan or Hans is almost without exception somewhere between 50 and 70 years old now, while a Johan could be any age, but if you had to guess he'd be born somewhere between 1965 and 1995. It wouldn't be too weird to give your newborn the name Hannes today, but you'd be slightly late on the ball I guess.

Still, I wouldn't expect a John from the US to be of any generation really, nor a William or Robert, those seem to transcend all that. Although, in the case of the latter two, those of my generation are most likely not nicknamed Bill or Bob :P
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Prowler » 2017-05-01, 0:20

Johanna wrote:To me, different naming customs is pretty much another aspect of vocabulary and its usage, especially since there are many names that don't have equivalents between languages, or have different forms both native and borrowed.

Take my name for example: Johanna. There are plenty of forms around, both female and male, that I would call perfectly normal Swedish names. Just off the top of my mind there are...

Johanna
Jonna
Hanna
Anna
Ann

Johannes
Johan
John (/jɔnː/)
Jon (/juːn/)
Jan
Hannes
Hans

OK, I know that they're technically not the same, the ones beginning with J- are based on Johannes, meaning "God is gracious" or something like it, while the others simply mean "grace", but even this far removed from Hebew we still see them as related. Also, if your average Swede had to guess, only Anna and Ann would end up in a different category.

In any case, someone named Jan or Hans is almost without exception somewhere between 50 and 70 years old now, while a Johan could be any age, but if you had to guess he'd be born somewhere between 1965 and 1995. It wouldn't be too weird to give your newborn the name Hannes today, but you'd be slightly late on the ball I guess.

Still, I wouldn't expect a John from the US to be of any generation really, nor a William or Robert, those seem to transcend all that. Although, in the case of the latter two, those of my generation are most likely not nicknamed Bill or Bob :P

Ah "old people names". A Swedish guy told me once that "Sven", a very stereotypical Swedish name, is an "old man's name". Just like here "Manuel" and "António" are names I associate with men aged 50 and above. Well there's some "Antónios" still but guys named "Manuel"? Don't know any below 50. Just like "Maria" is more common with middle aged women as well. Nowadays the trendy first name for girls seems to be "Ana". You look at HS class with 15 girls and 13 boys and 5 of the girls have "Ana" as their first name :silly:

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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Johanna » 2017-05-01, 0:37

Prowler wrote:Ah "old people names". A Swedish guy told me once that "Sven", a very stereotypical Swedish name, is an "old man's name".

Actually, Sven is becoming trendy again, but it's still in the early stages of the cycle.

Around here, names seem to become popular every 90 years, give or take a decade or two, with a few very specific exceptions, like Johan. So, the experience most new parents today have of people called Sven are a grandfather or great-grandfather who is either still living or has been dead for a decade or two. Which means that you associate the name with a cute old man whom you like(d) and whose name is perfect for your little boy, not that annoying teacher you had in high school who never failed to show his contempt towards anyone with less life experience.

Edit: If I were to give birth to a child tomorrow, I could use any of my grandparents' names really, and they were born in 1929, 1929, 1931 and 1938. Great-grandparents... most of them; one is Anna and that's too boring, Karl is both boring and already taken by a first cousin of mine.

Svea and Hugo? Oh yes, they've been popular for a while now. Herbert and Hulda are not too bad, it's the right generation but not very common either. Eugenia is a complete hit-or-miss, it may end up trendy soon, or something bullies latch onto.
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.

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Aurinĭa
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-05-01, 0:46

Johanna wrote:Actually, Sven is becoming trendy again, but it's still in the early stages of the cycle.

I wonder if Frozen has anything to do with that. :P I wouldn't be surprised if it at least helped.

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Johanna
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Re: Your favourite names (in any language)

Postby Johanna » 2017-05-01, 0:50

Aurinĭa wrote:
Johanna wrote:Actually, Sven is becoming trendy again, but it's still in the early stages of the cycle.

I wonder if Frozen has anything to do with that. :P I wouldn't be surprised if it at least helped.

Nope, that trend started a few years before that. If any I think it may have put somewhat of a halt to it...
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.


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