Sunday, 13 October 2013


When I was at school, I had a German friend called Axel Nagel.  His name fascinated me; I always thought he sounded as though he was named after some spare part of an internal combustion engine or at least a piece of vehicular machinery.

I have often wondered since how Germans managed to have such hard, metallic names.  Neil means 'champion' and sounds a bit like 'nail'.  But it's still a pretty soft name.  Of course it also sounds a bit submissive.  Hook ought to sound metallic too.  But it doesn't quite come off. 

I thought of my friend Axel again in recent years when Germany elected a female Chancellor.  Angela Merkel, who (especially with the Germanic pronunciation of 'Angela') always sounds to me as though she ought to be a piece of scaffolding.  That's pretty metallic.

Why am I wittering on about German names?  I have recently been playing bridge with another German lady, whose name is Gerda and my musings about German names came back to me.  What name could be harder and more metallic than Gerda?!


  1. We have a Gerda in our congregation, who does so much work in the kitchens and cooking. But she is also abasive and upsets folk. I have learned to love around her. She is 76 so we won't change her, but she is willing to soften and knows as she said this morning, "I don't get to be the BITCH this time." She is working on that harsh impression. She went back to Germany this last summer for a few months and had a hard time with her relatives and says she will stay here now. It is sad for her. We work a lot at our church with displaced emigraters who are at a loss with how to cope in our weird multi-cultural society in Canada. We are at a loss also sometimes.

    1. There was an interesting debate on the radio the other morning about whether those of immigrant families consider themselves 'English' or 'British'. It seems that everyone thinks they're British, but one or two (born in England) also think themselves English. Me? I discover I don't feel uncomfortable with obvious immigrant family members calling themselves one or the other. I think I felt different 20 years ago.

      Glad to hear your congregation member is willing to be a softer Gerda.