Dutch-Colonies-L ArchivesArchiver > Dutch-Colonies > 1999-10 > 0941320184
From: "C.H. Snabel" <>
Subject: Re: Concerning the use of diminutive names for grown people
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 22:49:44 +0100
> This query is not of the greatest import,
... but very hard to answer to.
The example Steve has come up with, is the closest to me personaly:
> If an American kid is called "Dickie," he will eventually insist on
> being called "Dick," or "Richard."
When I was a kid I was called 'Cockie' instead of 'Cor', because my
father was called 'Cor' too. When I left primary school I insisted on
being called 'Cor', because 'Cockie' sounded very childish.
That brings us to the shortened form of Cornelius. Hardly anyone is
called by her/his full name in Holland, if my father called me
"Cornelius", I knew I was in trouble, it is only used in a sarcastic or
maybe playful way. If I call up a friend of ours, called Kitty, I always
start the conversation with "Hello Catharina" and she knows it's me,
nobody else calls her by her full name. I once called her Catharina in
public and she just gave me a grim look.
But I suppose, that's not typical Dutch, like you said:
> none of this is unusual for us English-speaking people either.
The statement that "hardly anyone is called by her/his full name"
doesn't always follow, because nowadays a lot of children are only
called "Kim", "Tom" or "Mike" :-)
> In the Van Patten family history we have an example of
> a woman "Caatje" or "little Kate" being called that at the
> time of marriage and throughout her life. I gather that for
> her it was a term of endearment.
Maybe it was, but not only that, my aunts were called "aunt Jannie" (her
bapt. name was Jantje) and "aunt Koosje" (bapt. as Koosje)
Some diminutive names just indicate the female form of a name;
Gerrit is a male name, Gerritje is the female form. Like Loek (from
Lucas) and Loekie, or Klaas and Klaasje, or Jan and Jantje, Koos and
This is to make it a little difficult; Gerrit is "short" for Gerard or
Gerardus, Gerard is a common name, but nobody will say: "Hello Gerardus"
(that will sound sarcastic)
Some dimitutive names only exist as that.
Our daughter is called "Maartje", derived from Maria. (of course she is
called after her ggggggrmother). If we left out the "je" she would be
called "Maart", which means in Dutch "March" and everyone would be
laughing, because it is not an usual name in Holland. I know in America
April and June are common names, but in Holland it is not.
Some of those (female) dimitutive names can't be changed, because it
would turn into male names (like my aunt Jantje and Koosje) So some
names only exist in the diminutive form.
I'm not sure, I answered your query as "the more expert people", but I
hope this somewhat "personal" approach made things a little clearer.
|Re: Concerning the use of diminutive names for grown people by "C.H. Snabel" <>|