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German Language/German Naming Customs


Dear Cornelia,

A little while ago, I asked you about naming customs in Germany, and you were extremely helpful. Would you be kind enough to answer another question for me about naming customs in Germany?

My question is, when people have a two-part hyphenated name, like Karl-Heinz, how commonly do they have a second given name as well? For instance, would it be common (or even possible) for someone to be called Karl-Heinz Friedrich Wagner, or would they just be called Karl-Heinz Wagner?

Thank you very much for your time.

Best wishes,


Hello Bella,

it's definitely possible to have a hyphenated first name followed by a second first name. Whether it is common is hard to say - I looked around a bit but couldn't find any statistics on this. I did check out my student lists though and found one example: Jan-Luca Tobias X, a boy in year 5. So: It's definitely possible but who knows if it's common.

Best regards,

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Cornelia Neumann


I can answer questions regarding grammar and style, as well as many questions about German culture, history, and literature.


I am native speaker with a German degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and German. I lived and worked in the USA for seven years (taught high school and all college levels) and spent three years as a high school teacher of German and EFL at an international school in Mexico. In 2006 I returned to Germany, where I am currently working as a teacher in Hamburg.

M.A., M.Ed., ABD, etc. etc.

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