|Looking for a name they don’t have? Not to worry – I’ve been told there is also a bottle with the Polish equivalent of “dude.”|
Poland is, of course, part of Coca-Cola’s worldwide personalized marketing campaign. They’re printing the 100 most popular names in the country on bottles. A strategy that I suspect will work well for them.
Polish names while originally difficult for me, have become commonplace and pronounceable (although I’m sure I’m still easily identified as a foreigner). I can even recognize the suffixes that indicate a nickname. See the name of the far left, Piotrek? I’ve never seen this name before, but I know the -ek indicates that the name is diminutive, and I’m well familiar with the name Piotr (Peter in English).
Polish names have come up in conversation a couple of times. I don’t remember how we got on the topic, but over a cup of tea with our friends from downstairs, it came up that we had more freedom or more choices in the US in choosing names for our children than they do in Poland. This thought surprised me and when I mentioned it to Caroline as we peddled around the lake one morning, she said that yes, there was a book or list of approved names, and that it had presented quite a problem for friends of theirs. I think the couple was from Kenya and were understandably upset with the prospect of not being allowed to give their child the name they had planned. I don’t remember how this was resolved, but is has to be a problem for many having children in Poland.
New Poland Express (NPE) reported last week that a change is planned for name requirements/restrictions in Poland. While they are becoming more lenient, it still seems unbelievably controlling to me. What do you make of this from NPE?
The laws, which are being prepared by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, will still prevent a child from being given more than two first names, a shortened form of a name or a name which may be considered amusing or rude. In order to ensure this, couples will still need to seek approval from the ministry before the name is allowed.
We had no desire to give our children any of their many nicknames for their legal name, but we have a friend whose birth certificate says Billy, not William. That would not be permitted here. A LOT of names being given in other parts of the world would not be allowed here.
Wikipedia tells me that fashion and celebrities influence baby names in Poland, but they also say that many name have been in use since the Middle Ages. I’ve wondered about this. I know of several young women named Dorata. In English this would be Dorothy, and if I heard of a woman named Dorothy, I would guess that she’s older than I. In my lifetime, I’ve met one woman my age with that name, but I can think of a many more my mother’s age. There’s a life cycle to names in the states. Many names that were popular when I went to school weren’t used at all in our daughters’ generation. I don’t know that that’s the case here.
That’s enough of my rambling on Polish first names; we’ll save surnames for another day. As far as American first names, the Freakonimics guys say a child’s first name can tell you a lot about their parents.