Friday, May 18, 2012

How did Francisco turn into Paco?

There is a funny little thing going on with names here. It seems there is a bit of an obsession with making and using nicknames. In my whole life in Norway I have never had a nickname. Here, I have 4 different names, in addition to my real name. That’s 5 names made out of my 8 character long name. I am impressed!

It seems it’s very common. People just make up new names for people, nicknames, shorter versions. I’ll throw in some examples for you to see what I mean.

Begoña -> Bego
Desireé -> Desi
Montserrat -> Montse
Concepcion -> Concha / Cochita
Manuel -> Manu / Manolo / Lolo (¿?)
Daniel -> Dani

…well I guess you get the picture.

But what I find really interesting and fascinating are the other names. The ones that change completely and seem to have nothing to do with the original name. For instance the male name Francisco. Most Francisco’s will also be called Paco! It took me quite some time before I realized that Paco was not the “real” name, I didn’t know it actually came from Francisco and that was the real name. Same thing happens with Jose, most Jose’s will also be called Pepe! I didn’t know why this is, but I found it so fascinating I had to find out. 

So I started digging, and it seems that Jose comes from Padre Putativo, father of Jesus, Jose de Nazaret. Padre Putativo was abbreviated P.P., which made Jose become Pepe. ( How you pronounce PP in Spanish.) I knew there had to be some kind of explanation to this!  This is just the history though, I don’t think Pepe is used with a biblical hint these days..

I also found an explanation for the Francisco/Paco-situation. San Francisco de Asis (Francis of Assisi, in English) was called Pater Comunitas / Padre de la comunidad. Paco comes from PAter  COmunitas.

If these are the correct reasons, I have no idea, but at least I got an explanation to a phenomenon I found most strange. Thus far, I have only found these two “strange” name abbreviations. Maybe there are more? Feel free to share with me in the comment section if you know more about this!

12 comments:

  1. Wow, I am impressed with your research! You did such a great job tracking down that mystery :-) That is really interesting!

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    1. Hihi, I just didn't understand how someone called Paco was really named Francisco! Had to find out ;)

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  2. I love this - great detective work and I wish I'd done it! I live with a Pep - this is the Catalan version of Pepe. His full name is Josep - the Catalan version of Jose. It took me a long time to realise that Lola is the short form of Dolores. Kx

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    1. Funny that the same thing happens in Catalan!! Lola / Dolores was new to me!

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  3. Francisco is Paco, but is also Kiko, Fran, Chisco, Xisco, Francis or Pancho.
    My father is Manuel, so he can be Manu, Manute, Lolo, Lito, Manolito...
    In Argentina "concha" is a word to say (very colloquially) pussy haha. so imagine...Concha is a very common nickname and many women were named that way in the past so when they had to migrate to Argentina they had to change their name or use Concepción :)

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    1. Hi cora87rs, thanks for more examples. I am smiling reading all the nickname of your father, and I didn't know that Francisco had that many nicknames either, fun (and a bit confusing)!
      Uuuups, I see Concha is not a good nick in Argentina!!

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  4. You certainly did some impressive research on this one. I found the same thing in Timor Leste, the nicknames (at first glance/sound) had nothing to do with the persons actual name. But I didn't look into it the way you did :) In Fiji the nicknames are usually straight from the person's name or an anglo-sized version of the name...Older people are addressed in terms of their relationship to you or by the name of their eldest child - like father of... or mother of... in the local language :)

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    1. I didn't know that older people in Fiji are addressed in terms of their relationship to the people, I love that!

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  5. Haha, har merket litt det med kallenavn her i Frankrike også, riktig nok ikke i like stor grad. Jeg som heter Nora ble til Nono, noe jeg ikke helt så poenget med, siden det er like langt. Men kallenavn er koselig da, så klager ikke.

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  6. These etymologies are both phony, though commonly circulated. See my blog post at http://spanishlinguist.us/2013/03/pepe-and-paco-2-mysterious-spanish-nicknames/. I fell for them too -- a classic linguistic "urban legend".

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  7. You've fallen for a classic linguistic "urban legend" - these etymologies are phony but common. See my blog post at http://spanishlinguist.us/2013/03/pepe-and-paco-2-mysterious-spanish-nicknames/ .

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I still think I prefer the urband legend explanation though, it makes more sense, and it feels more like an explanation!!? :)

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