French surnames: list, history and interesting facts

In France, the appearance of surnames is fixed from the 12thcentury. To form them, they used birthplaces, professions, and nicknames. The aristocrats used the preposition de before the surname. According to the Royal Decree of 1539, the existence of nicknames became mandatory for all. The name of the newborn was now carefully recorded in the parish books. To change the personal name of the family by royal decree was forbidden. And what are the French names? The list, interesting facts and history are given below.French surnames list

Etymology of French surnames

Many French surnames (the list of them is very large, we will give only a couple of) came from the male names: Michel, Simon, Robert. In very rare cases from women: Blanche, Rose, Berthe.

Very common surnames from the name of the area where the person was born: Lenormand (Norman), Parisy (from the word Paris - Paris), Lyonnais (lyonetz)
By location of the house: Dupont (pont - bridge), Dubois (bois - forest), Fontaine (fountain). From the names of occupations: Peugeot (resin seller), Mitterand (grain weigher), Boucher (butcher). From the nicknames: Leroux (red), Bonnet (cap), Mauduit (ill-bred). As you can see, many beautiful French surnames, the list of which we have quoted above, mean not so beautiful concepts.

Forms of French names

Medieval French surnames, the list of whichis very extensive, had a female and a male gender. But modern nicknames are the only form for men and women. That's why the French names of girls and men are the same.

French surnames of girls

By parts of the French family, you canfind out where a person was born. Nicknames beginning with Le- (La-, Les-), as well as De-, Du-, Del-, Dela-, Des-, are characteristic for Normandy and Northern France. The suffix -ot indicates that the person is from Burgundy or Lorraine. Suffixes -eau, -uc, -ic indicate that a person was born in Western France.

It is interesting that from one surname couldForm two forms that reflects the difference in the language of the northern regions of France - langue d'oïl, from the Provencal language - langue d'oc. The northern name Bois, Chaussée, Roy corresponds to the southern Bosc, Caussade, Rey.

Not always a "toponymic" shell of the surnamesays where the person was born. Charles de Gaulle was very proud of the fact that his nickname is consonant with the ancient name of France - la Gaule. He had been convinced from childhood that he was going to do great things for France. But the name is Gaulle Flemish, and in Flemish it sounds Van de Walle, which means "living near the fortress wall."

beautiful french surnames list

Change of surname

According to the royal decree of 1539 the surname shouldwas inherited. The child was obliged to wear the family nickname of his father. The mother's name was assigned to the child only in the event that the father was not known.

The possibility of changing the name still exists. As a rule, its cause is the indecency of the nickname. In the Middle Ages the surname could have a completely different meaning. Today in France, parents decide for themselves, a paternal or motherly nickname will be worn by a child.

There is also a very curious case of a change of name inthe time of the French Revolution. In the dock of the revolutionary tribunal was a certain de Saint-Cyr, de Saint-Syr. Asked by the chairman about his name, he replied that he was de Saint-Cyr. "We have no more nobility," the chairman objected. The particle "de" was characteristic of aristocratic surnames. "Then I'm just Saint-Cyr," the defendant did not lose his head. "We do not have more saints," the chairman continued. "Then I'm just Sire," retorted the defendant. "There is no more king and royal titles," the chairman continued. The defendant was extremely witty. He said that he can not be judged if he does not have a surname. The court found him innocent and ordered him to choose a republican name.

French surnames list in Russian


Like all concepts in French, the surnameshave a fixed stress on the end of the word. In modern France, there are 250,000 names. The most common name is Martin. The most significant, carrying a social load, are 2 names - Dupont and Duchateau. Dupont (pont - bridge) - a widespread nickname, is a symbol of the average Frenchman. Duchateau (chateau - castle) - surname, symbolizing a rich Frenchman. A distinctive feature of French surnames is that when referring to a girl add mademoiselle, to a married woman or widow madame, and to a man - monsieur. Only this, and distinguishes between male and female French names, whose list we have already cited.

Transliteration of French names

To date, the correct transmissionforeign names and surnames require unification, as many translators illiterate transliterate them. As a result, the same character in different translations has several options for writing his name. French surnames are transliterated into Russian according to the rules of reading French. But the problem is that not all sounds of French are available in Russian. Therefore, such combinations of letters as -ain, -aim, -an, -am, -on, -un, -in, etc., that is, all nasal sounds, in Russian transliteration acquire the sound of "n": -en, - en, -an, -an, -on, -en, -en. Sounds [ǝ] and [œ] resembling the sound ё in the word "dead" are transmitted to Russian as "e" in the beginning or middle of the word. At the end of the word can be a double spelling: Villedieu - Vildieu, Montesquieu - Montesquieu.

In order not to offend the feelings of people, it is important to correctly pronounce the French surnames. The list in Russian would be a very good idea, but so far there is no single list.

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