Category: French baby names
Names travel among cultures further and faster now than ever before.
The British like such French names as Sophie and Chloe, while in France there’s a craze for British names such as Emma and Tom. And then there are those names used throughout Europe that are gaining some attention in the US: Cosima, Leonie, Roman.
By Clarice Bourgeois
Can you name the current most popular baby names in France? Are you thinking Jean? Jules? Margot or, perhaps, Louise? You would be wrong. For the past few years, Nathan, Enzo, Noah, Matteo and Timéo have been topping the boys’ names’ charts, while many little girls were named Inès, Clara and Emma.
There are several reasons that might explain the current French open-mindedness when it comes to naming their children.
Séverine – This beautiful and feminine name has long been popular in France, though it would seem unusual and rare for a British or American baby. It was the name of the last Bond girl. Last year, it was off the US popularity charts, though in France it ranked at #74 in 2000.
When Americans think about chic European names, they tend to imagine the exotic, the elaborate, the intriguingly complicated and foreign.
Yet when Europeans think about chic names, they often these days mean the short and simple and sometimes even the Anglo-Saxon: Tom, Emma, Lou. Think of them as the baby name equivalents of a perfectly-cut bob or little black dress, elegant and always in style.
Short, simple names that are chic and popular in France, the Netherlands, and indeed throughout Europe include:
by Jeanette Soto
The name Jeanette was given to me by my young, hip parents during the infamous Chicago heat wave of 1987. The name had been out of fashion for over four decades and not coming back in style any time soon. The minute I learned how to spell it, I was frustrated by all the other people who couldn’t. One girl in grammar school insisted that it should be spelled with a ‘G’ because it sounded “too hard” to be spelled with a ‘J. Most often, people spell my name with one too many N’s or one to few T’s; misspellings include Jeannette, Janet, Jennet, Jenette, Jenet, Ginette and Ginet, but practically nobody gets it right.
Why did my parents give me a name that wasn’t just dated, but came with a slew of spellings? My mother’s excuse: Pregnancy amnesia, or brain fog caused by pregnancy hormones. It came over my mother at the time she was trying to remember the name she wanted to give me, so Colette Madeleine morphed into Jeanette Ashley.
What other names have Jeanette’s retro -ette ending and unusual style? Here, some choices: