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George Tipped for the Royal Comeback

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on October 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM
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 George Tipped for the Royal Comeback

George and its French variant Georges are being tipped for an awesome comeback after the christening of Britain's new royal baby.

Georges was the first name of Danton, one of the leaders of the 1789 revolution, France's World War I leader Clemenceau and the 1962-68 President Pompidou.


But the name has fallen out of favour over the last century, to the point that it ranked only 877th in the list of names given to baby boys in 2012, according to France's official data organisation INSEE.

All that is set to change in the wake of the huge interest the July birth of Prince George, the first son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, generated on the other side of the English Channel, where acres of glossy newsprint and hundreds of broadcast hours were given over to breathless coverage of the birth.

"The interest and attention in France was absolutely incredible, so I have absolutely no doubt that we will see Georges shooting up the list," said Stephanie Rapoport, the author of "L'Officiel des Prenoms", an annual guide to the most popular baby names in France.

Rapoport uses trends drawn from official registry data to predict the names parents will choose in the year ahead.

"George is one of the names where I actually had to adjust what the data was saying," she told AFP. "Before Kate and William decided to name their baby George, I'd have said we would be looking at fewer than 30 babies being called Georges in 2014. It really had fallen completely out of use.

"But now I'm confident we will see it rising into the top 400, maybe even the top 200. There is so much interest in anything to do with Kate and William, there is inevitably going to be a big boost to the popularity of the name they have chosen."

Nathan and Emma still top in France

The 2014 edition of L'Officiel, published on Wednesday, predicts that Nathan, which has been the most popular boy's name for the last three years, and Emma, top of the girl's list for nine consecutive years, will retain their crowns.

The popularity of Emma is such that one baby girl in every 72 born in France next year will be given the name, Rapoport calculates.

As well as the growing influence of fashions from the English-speaking world, the popularity of Nathan reflects the current fashion for Old Testament names with Gabriel (4th), Adam (13th) and Noah (16th) all featuring in the top 20.

"Nathan was virtually unknown in France 20 years ago, but it has always been popular in the US," said Rapoport. "That is an influence but it is also linked to people wanting more original names, which is why you have the retro trend with girls names like Rose and Lily coming up strongly now."

Leo (3rd), Louis (7th) and Jules (11th) refect the retro trend amongst boys while Lola and Chloe were respectively second and third most popular for girls.

Mohammed, which was the second most common name in England and Wales in 2012 if all its variants are counted, does not make the top 20 in France, despite the country's Muslim community being twice as large as Britain's.

Rapoport believes that can be explained by the two countries' different approach to migration, with France putting a greater emphasis on integration into a 'French' way of life, leading to many families with an Arab heritage opting for bicultural names such as Ines, Adam or Nadia.

Source: AFP


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