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FRENCH LANGUAGE

REVEALED: These are France’s most popular baby names

Emma and Gabriel are no longer the most common baby names in France, with two new names emerging to claim the top spot.

REVEALED: These are France's most popular baby names
Photo: Martin BUREAU / AFP.

Jade was the most popular girls’ name in 2020, according to the top ten list published by French national research institute Insee on Thursday. A total of 3,814 Jades were born in France last year, just three more than were given the name Louise.

Emma had previously held the crown as the most popular girls’ name every year since 2016.

There was another upset among the boys, with Léo taking the crown in 2020, after Gabriel had been the most popular name since 2015. Gabriel remains the second most chosen boys’ name, with Raphaël, Arthur and Louis not far behind.

Exactly 4,496 Léos entered the world in France last year.

Image: Insee.

While the orders have changed, the names which feature on the top ten list are similar to last year’s stats. In fact, all of the same boys’ names feature in the top ten, while the only change among the girls was Mia replacing the almost identical Mila.

Regional variation

Behind these lists, there is a significant degree of regional variation. Jade and Louise were each the most popular girls’ name in five of France’s thirteen metropolitan regions. However, Lina was more popular in Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Corsicans preferred Ghjulia.

READ ALSO How France’s ‘most embarrassing’ baby name doesn’t actually exist

There was slightly less variation in boys’ names, with Léo coming out on top in eight regions. But Arthur was the most popular given name in Brittany, Raphaël in Normandy, Adam in Ile-de-France, and people in Corsica again stood out by opting for Andria above all other names.

The most popular names from recent years represent a big departure from traditional French names. Insee’s data allows us to consult the most popular names for every year since 1900.

Counting the last 100 years since 1920, Marie is by far the most popular girls’ name, even if it hasn’t topped an annual list since 1958. Among boys’ names, Jean has been the most common, claiming the top spot every year from 1920-1957.

Names like Marie and Emma have been incredibly consistent in their pomp, but there have been a number of anomalies down the years, like the time in the 1990s when the very un-French-sounding Kevin exploded all across France thanks to a couple of popular American actors.

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FRENCH LANGUAGE

The new French words added to the dictionary

The latest edition of France's Larousse dictionary set to be published this June, and it has announced it will add 150 new words.

The new French words added to the dictionary

Each year, France’s Larousse dictionary holds up a mirror to society, showing its evolution by making official the words and phrases that were most important in the year previous. This year, in preparation of its 2023 edition, the dictionary added 150 new words, which according to the publishing company, “testify to both the vitality and diversity of the French language.”

These are the words that have gotten people talking the most:

Covid long

After over two years of Covid-19, it is not surprising that a number of coronavirus-related words have entered the dictionary. “Covid long” refers to the condition of lingering Covid-19 symptoms, sometimes for weeks or months after infection. Other Covid-19 related words and phrases that are now included in the Larousse are: passe vaccinal (vaccine pass), passe sanitaire (sanitary pass), vaccinateur or vaccinatrice (vaccinator), vaccinodrome (vaccine center), and distanciel (at a distance).

Wokisme

The noun “wokisme,” which made headlines and sparked controversy this past year, is now defined by the Larousse as follows: “Woke-inspired ideology, centered on questions of equality, justice and the defense of minorities, sometimes perceived as an attack on republican universalism.”

Le séparatisme

Another word reflective of the political climate in France, “Séparatisme” has been added to the dictionary under the definition “the will of a minority, usually religious, to place its own laws above national legislation.” A lot of times, you will see this word in debates surrounding religion and immigration.

Grossophobie

Grossophobie” is defined as “a hostile, mocking and/or contemptuous, even discriminatory, attitude towards obese or overweight people.” In English, this word is “fatphobia.”

NFT

The rise of tech and all things crypto is not specific to the anglophone word. Now, the English acronym, NFT, has made its way into the French dictionary, defined in French as “Les jetons non fongibles” (Non-fungible tokens). 

l’Halloumi

Finally, the Larousse dictionary added plenty of words with non-French origins, like “Halloumi” which is a type of cheese made from mixed goat and sheep’s milk that is originally from Cyprus.

The Larousse 2023 will also include other new words from different foreign languages, like konjac (a Japanese plant), kakapo (a New Zealand parrot), tomte (a Swedish elf) and yodel (a singing technique from the German-speaking Alps).

These are just a few of the 64,000 words that will be included in the 2023 version of the dictionary.

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