Why do we need a middle name

Middle name or not - that is the question

by Annemarie Lüning

Some have it, others don't: two (or more) first names. What are the pros and cons? We have collected decision-making aids for you - including suggestions for choosing a second name.

Middle name means here: not coupled with a hyphen, can be spoken to or remain silent; in the case of hyphen combinations (at least theoretically) both parts are merged into one name.

That speaks for a middle name:

1. A (beautiful) tradition

Middle names are neither newfangled frippery nor would-be noble. Take a look in your family tree a hundred years ago: lots of second and third names! Maybe there is even a middle name that has been passed down through the generations - and you like it?

2. A matter of honor

Many a middle name was and is given to honor certain people, godparents or grandparents for example. Free modification is of course allowed - the great-grandfather Karl becomes a (second name) Karlina.

3. The meaning is everything

Would you like to give your child a certain meaning that the chosen nickname unfortunately does not have? Whether Mathilda, "the fighter", or Matthias, "gift of the Lord" - the possibilities are diverse.

4. Finally an agreement

Sometimes parents have different favorites and simply push both of them to the child. Maybe even with the thought that they could choose later. Most of the time, however, the first name used remains and the other name "loses".

5. Freedom of choice for the child

“Our child should decide for themselves what it would like to be called”, this argument is generally heard more often for the middle name. Nice idea, but it has its pitfalls, see point 4 on "Agreement".

6. The matter of courage

A middle name can counterbalance the first name. Often one comes across the model “common first name, courageous second name” (“we didn't dare to do more”) - but also the opposite, “rare reputation and number-safe second name”. Where ... see point 4 again.

7. The special twist

The middle name can give the first one its very own touch. An Emma Hedvig looks very different from an Emma Sophie - and that again different from an Emma Jocelyn. Also useful when duplicating names at school!

8. Clearly male / female

Even if it is not stipulated by the legislator: With unisex names, gender-specific second names are already practical. So that your daughter Robin is not annoyed later by letters to Mr Robin ... how about Robin Margaretha?

9. The round overall sound

Some combinations of first and last names only look really round with a connecting link. With monosyllabic first and last names, for example. But be careful: the middle name is often omitted in everyday life. If you don't want that: better insert a hyphen (Jan-Georg).

10. A "Middle Initial"

In the USA the "Middle Initial" is standard - John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush ... (sometimes the mother's maiden name or similar is behind it, not allowed in our country). In an international career, it might be nice for your child to come up with something similar.

That speaks against a middle name:

1. Just ballast

Why give a name that is not used after all? This is how fans of short names (Leni instead of Helene) and second name haters argue even more. Isn't there sometimes a personal trauma (unloved middle name after the uncle) behind it ...?

2. Not fish, not meat

This cannot be dismissed out of hand: names can steal the show from one another. But when is this the case - with very similar, different, long names ... ?! -, probably lies in the subjective feeling. Those who, on the other hand, let their favorites work for themselves, are very convinced of their choice.

3. Careless waste

Quite a few parents were annoyed at the birth of their second child of the same sex: If only we hadn't "given away" the beautiful name as a second name to child number one, where we don't use it anyway.

4. Potential family quarrel

"If we give the little one the name of Grandpa Alois, Grandpa Bertold is offended ..." If you expect such reactions, you may immediately distance yourself from the idea of ​​giving a second name from the family. After all, it is not supposed to be a rat tail with a name like Königs.

5. Lack of inspiration

Just “because everyone is doing it now” (not true) shouldn't put a second name behind the first - a child will certainly be happy even “without”. It is better not to have a middle name than an uninspired one, which is then not suitable as a distinguishing criterion because so many people wear it.

And then they left us ... which does not mean that the arguments against middle names cannot be very weighty for you! Nevertheless, here are some tips for a middle name:

  • Not a must, but nice: Try out whether the selected combination (with the last name) can be spoken fluently.
  • It often sounds better if the shorter name is in front (Lena Marieke instead of Marieke Lena).
  • Or when the middle name is stressed on the second syllable (like the long-running Marie and Sophie).
  • First and second names shouldn't rhyme.
  • Avoid duplicating the underlying name (Jonte Johan - two forms of Johannes).

more on the subject

Advisor: Which Middle Name?

Middle name as a first name - no problem?

Finally proven: the trend towards the middle name

The most popular middle names

Satire: What Makes Extra First Names So Extraordinary?

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