A short guide to Venloish given names, with translations in Dutch, English, German and French


Slow news day, so I thought I’d try something different. Here is a list of (short form) given names from my city of birth, Venlo, and their translations into Dutch, English, German and French, where possible.

Dutch Venloish English / German / French
Jan (jAn) Sjeng (sjeN) John / Jan* / Jean
Bert (bErt) Baer (beIr) Bert / ? / Albert
Geert (xeIrt) Sjraar (sjrAr) ** ? / ? / Gérard
Sjaak (sjAk) Sjaak Jack / ? / Jacques
Ton (tQn) Twan (twAn) Tony*** / ? / Tony
? Hay (hɑI) ? / ? / ?
Marieke (mAri:k@ Merieke (m@ri:k@) Mary / ? / Marie
Theo (teIjQ) Thei (tei) Theo / Theo / Théo

Pronunciations between parentheses. I used the SAMPA alphabet for readability. Like IPA it’s a phonetic alphabet, but unlike IPA it only uses Latin symbols). I used the SAMPA English phonetic alphabet though, so the pronunciations listed here are the closest approximations—in my humble opinion. But note, for instance, that ‘a’ (as in Jan) and ‘aa’ (as in Sjaak) have completely different pronounciations in Dutch. (In Dutch long vowels are typically spelled with a double letter, and short vowels with a single letter. Exceptions abound.)

Other Limburgish dialects may use the same names as Venloish, or have wildly differing variants. The Dutch word for the short form of a given name is roepnaam by the way. I have no idea of its etymology, and it could mean either ‘handy version of a name for shouting’ or ‘name one is known by’.

Any additions and corrections are welcome.

*) Recent or regional.
**) If this were Dutch it woud mean “shush, crazy”.
***) From Italian Antonio.

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