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Mom! I've got a multilingual name!

by Expugnator

A name is something very personal. It is your 'label' to the world. But some names are quite common. You might know hundreds of people called 'John' or 'Mary', if you are an English speaker. And if you start studying a foreign language, you'll see many names which resemble English names a lot, like Jean and Marie in French, Juan and Maria in Spanish and so on. And this is not something that happened by chance.

This has to do with these names having named important biblical, Roman or Teutonic persons, and having been spread throughout the Western world and undergone changes in order to get adapted into the various languages in which they have been adopted. Our intention here is not to study names and their origins, but to show you how amazing it is when you start studying languages and you find small similarities that make life look richer.

Now let us stop this boring talk and let us go into what matters: famous Western names and their versions within most Western languages!

English John
Portuguese João
French Jean
Spanish Juan
Catalan Joan
Italian Giovanni
German Hans/Johann(es)

English Charles
Portuguese Carlos
Spanish Carlos
French Charles
Catalan Carles
Italian Carlo
German Karl

English Mary
Portuguese Maria
Spanish María
French Marie
Catalan Maria
Italian Maria
German Maria

English Ann
Portuguese Ana
Spanish Ana
French Anne
Catalan Ana
Italian Anna
German Ann

English Francis
Portuguese Francisco
Spanish Francisco
French François
Catalan Francesc
Italian Francesco
German Franz

Perhaps your name is in the list and you own a multilingual name!

More in this interesting topic in the UniLang Forum and the UniLang Wiki. If you know some more names and their multilingual versions, just tell us (bb@unilang.org) and they will be published in the next issue! If you know some more names and their multilingual versions, just tell us (bb@unilang.org) and they will be published in the next issue!

Below there are links to forum threads dealing with names:

- My name translated (William, Carlos, John-Peter and Constance),
- Nicknamese,
- Personal names.

And a few websites mentioned in the 'my name translated' thread:



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Originally published in Babel Babble