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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    2,071

    German Names in America!

    Every once in a while I stumble across Heidi or Gretchen or Wolfgang on people's list and they still surprise me.
    They seem to be quite liked in the US. Not by everyone and not every name but there seem to be more Heidi's born in the US than in Germany the last couple of decades.

    Of course we do have classics that, while old, are still being used here, Amalia, Frieda, Johann or Mathilda are some but interestingly our classics are ranked much lower in the USA than names like Heidi or Hans, that might be used as middle names here but rarely as firsts.

    Just to make it even more clear what I mean:
    Mathilda, Amalia, Frieda or Johann would compare to Rose, Katherine, Violet and William in terms of being classics.
    Heidi, Gretchen or Wolfgang would be America's Shirley, Brenda and Larry.

    (Oh and btw when German parents use American names they usually belong to famous people but those names don't have a very good reputation here).

    Why do you think America prefers those names? Which German names have you considered, do you like and why?

    If you're not American, please join in anyway
    Ophelia Rosalind Clara | Elliott Caspar Frederick

    Flora Eloise Cordelia + Theo Kasimir Edmund + Penelope Juliet Aurora

    Aurora + Arthur

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,249
    I know a toddler named Johanna... always makes me think of Johanna Spyri, author of the book Heidi.
    I also know a girl about 13 years of age named Gretchen... and there is that horrible Country music star.
    I knew 2 girls named Heidi growing up. One is about 27, the other is probably 21.
    I also know a Jocelyn, about age 35.

    I would categorize all these names as "innocent." I think to many Americans, these names seem to have a certain sweetness, purity, and sincerity. They sound to us Americans like a little Fraulein who lives up in the mountains or out on the meadows, and has little life experience but a heart of gold... these are 'good girl' names. They seem poplar among the blue collar crowd here, perhaps because they reflect the traits of docility, traditional femininity, and innocence that the parents would like their daughter to project.
    Why are these rather clunky names so popular here? I don't know. I personally can't stand Heidi or Gretchen or Jocelyn.
    Nor do I care for Ida, Kurtis, Otis, Pippin, Henry, Axel, Gunther, or Clarissa. All names which tend to be popular where I live.

    German names I like include Ada, Adelia, Albert, Amelia, Barrett, Belinda, Clotilde, Dieter, Ernest, Elke, Ferdinand, Gertrude, Heinrich, Hilda, Leonhard, Liesl, Loudon, Mathilda, Millie, Millicent, and Raymond. They strike me as much more genteel.
    Any one have any opinions on my view? How would my list of German favorites be viewed by an individual from Germany?
    PS My sister is in Freiburg im Breisgau right now, studying abroad!
    Last edited by mulme944; June 24th, 2014 at 04:52 PM.
    Mommy to Travis Nevin 05/12
    and Angus Loudon is due April 6th, 2015

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,709
    Edited for privacy.
    Last edited by charlieandperry1; July 28th, 2014 at 02:38 PM.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    694
    (Oh and btw when German parents use American names they usually belong to famous people but those names don't have a very good reputation here).
    ^^Like what? I want to know

    If I were to choose a German girls name (I pulled up a list I found) I would choose:

    Mallory (I love the tv show Family Ties)
    Carly
    Allison

    Which totally sound like a typical "American" name to me I am definitely not a fan of Gretel or Hazel and the whatnot.

    Are the names I listed popular over there or are they unpopular?

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,029
    Wolfgang, Heidi and Gretchen feel quite "hip" to me. I might be biased, as Wolfgang is one of my favorites. You usually see artsy types naming their kids Ingrid or Otto here in the US. They're not your every day names. Many parents probably choose something like Felix after searching endlessly for a unique name that their kid will love wearing. That's my best guess.
    Beatrix - Fleur - Minnow - Zelda - Fern - Winifred - Poet

    Wolfgang - Atlas - Huck - Abraham - Ernest - Ulysses - Fox - Alasdair

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