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What's in a name- George?


Translating Names Can Be Tricky | George in German, English, Greek, Russain, Latin

So many forms of one name- one and the same name can change dramatically over the centuries in different languages, and one of your ancestors might have spelled and pronounced their name in different languages- in the 1700’s, they might use the High German version in formal settings, but the dialect version on the street, the Latin one at the university, and French with the posh crowd.


Take the Greek name George.


Originally, it was Γεώργιος Georgios, from geo-org-i-os: geo- meaning ‘earth’, and -org- meaning ‘work’ (-org- is related to our word ‘work’); it meant ‘farmer’.


Latin latinized it into Georgius,


High German turned it into Georg ('GEY-ork'),


but North German dialect changed into Jürgen or Jürg or Jörg or Jörgen (much the same in Scandinavia)


yet if you wanted to sound chic, you’d be Georges (French, pronounced 'Zhorzh')


The Dutch have the form Joris, but also Sjors ('shorss', which is how the the French pronunciation tends to come out in Dutch;


Occasionally, a German might give their son the Russian name Juri (Yuri)... which also means George. That’s not including Italy’s Giorgio or Spain’s Jorge.


So many Georges, and sometimes one and the same person.

 

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