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French Language/Compound given names


QUESTION: Dear Caro,

I have a question about compound given names in France (such as Jean-Pierre). If someone was called Jean-Pierre, would they always be adressed as Jean-Pierre, or would they ever just be adressed as Jean?

I know this isn't strictly a language question, but I wasn't sure who else I should ask -- I hope you don't mind!


ANSWER: Hi Minnie, or Bella?

I mentionned briefly this point in my previous answer.
In the case of compund names, people are addressed with the whole name. Jean-Pierre is Jean-Pierre. He may be called Jean but it is a kind of nick name.

I hope this helps



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Caro,

Thank you, I did read through your other question (which made me think it would be okay to ask this of you even though it is more cultural than language-based), but I am not Bella, and her question was not really relevant enough to what I was asking!

So, as I understand you, it is okay to call Jean-Pierre Jean as a nickname? And how commonly does that happen? Is it something only Jean-Pierre's family and close friends would do?


Hello Minnie,

Thank you for your reply. Sorry for my misunderstanding, I thought you were Bella, since you both asked me question on names the same day.

Yes you can call Jean-Pierre Jean if you are a relative or a friend, have an informal relationship. Sometimes, people who has a compound name simplify it. A friend of mine is named 'Jean-Robert' and he insists that we should call him "Jean", even in a professional environment. So I guess it depends on the person named with a compound name.

Sometimes the name is reduced : Jean-Baptiste become J.B., François-Xavier F.X, Jean-Pierre J.P.
A famous footballer Jean-Pierre Papin is nicknamed J.P.P.

I hope this helps



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