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Adolf, Alexa, Greta: These are the names Germans don’t want to give their kids

History, technology and current political trends all seem to have an influence when German parents decide on names for their children, a new survey shows.

Adolf, Alexa, Greta: These are the names Germans don’t want to give their kids
File photo: dpa | Fabian Strauch

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Adolf is the least popular name for Germans to give their children. 

While Adolphus was a relatively popular name in the first part of the 20th century, its association primarily with Adolf Hitler has since made it taboo.

A survey brought out by YouGov on Thursday shows that 89 percent of Germans say it is “unlikely” they would call their child Adolf, although 8 percent still say it is “likely” they would do so.

READ ALSO: What it’s like to share a name with the world’s most notorious dictator

Alexa, the name of Amazon’s virtual assistant, is also rather unpopular, with 79 percent of respondents saying they would probably not pick this as a name for their child.

Kevin, a name strongly associated with the fashion of giving children American names during the communist era in East German, is also now unpopular. Some 80 percent say they wouldn’t give their child this name.

According to a survey done in 2011, men called Kevin also have less luck in finding love online, presumably because of the negative associations of the once popular name.

For girls, Greta seems to be unpopular, with three quarters of respondents saying they wouldn’t use it as a name for their child. YouGov says that “perhaps people have the polarizing climate activist Greta Thunberg in the backs of their minds.”

Asked what they believed has the most impact on how names are chosen, the respondents said that family and ethnic background have an overwhelmingly positive influence.

Politics and current trends on the other hand were seen to have a generally negative impact on the favourability of names.

The survey also found out that Germans are generally very happy with their given names, with 84 percent voicing satisfaction and just 13 percent expressing dissatisfaction.

The results come from a representative study of 2,058 people in Germany between February 12th and February 15th.

SEE ALSO: These are Germany’s most popular baby names for 2020

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LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

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