In vain: what’s in a name?

It’s funny to think that if I had been born French, I would probably have been called Christophe, Philippe or Laurent. That’s the conclusion of a new report published in Le Monde.

A study into French first names since 1946 tracked the popularity of names in France since 1946. Back then, Jean was overwhelmingly the number one name for baby boys.

By 1967, when I was born, it was Laurent for Parisian boys, Christophe for boys from northern France and Philippe for southerners. Jean remained popular in Lorraine and Corsica.

What is also interesting is to see fashions come and go in names. With no disrespect to anyone called Kevin reading this, I would never have imagined the name would ever have taken off in France.

How wrong I would have been. By the late 1980s, Kévin had become one of the most popular boy’s names. Within two years, it had become the top name in every single region of France, except Corsica.

American culture is likely to be at the root of its rise – with Messrs Bacon, Costner and Spacey possibly behind the popularity of the name. It has fallen from favour now, however.

In case you’re interested, Lucas, Nathan and Enzo are currently the most popular names for baby boys in France.

This entry was published on Wed, 7 May 2014 at 07:49. It’s filed under Language and culture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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