Sunday, 15 June 2014

Brazilian "Nicknames"

The reader Saneguy has asked the question, why do most of the Brazilian players have short names, like Oscar (real name Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior) or Hulk, (real name Givanildo Vieira De Sousa) etc. with the most famous one from the past of course being Pele, whose real name we all know is Edson Arantes do Nascimento.  (Although he hates the name Pele)

We can actually trace this behaviour back to ancient Rome, people had 3 names consisting of Preanomen (first name) and a Nomen (tribe name) and then a Cognomen (family name) and then because there weren't that many names they added nicknames to differentiate.

So far example, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, was Publius of the clan Cornelius of the family Scipio who was victorious in Africa hence the Africanus.

In Brazil  which was a Portuguese colony, most people have 4 names,  first name, then some form of holy name like of a saint and then a name connected to the mother and a name connected to the father, which is usually too much of a mouthful hence the nickname. 
Usually they are taken from the first name, such as Fred, is short for Frederico, Jo is short for joao and so on.

Sometimes, they have nothing to do with the name at all such as the ex-captain Dunga, whose name referred to the Portuguese term for the dwarf dopey, from snow white, a name given to him by his uncle because he was short as a child, and the name stuck even after he grew taller.
Hulk, has his name thanks to his physical resemblance to the said comic book hero. If he was green he would be a dead ringer for him.

Another popular instance is the adding of the ending "inho" which means little, so Ronaldinho was little Ronaldo and Juninho was little junior. It can go even further, at one point there was Ronaldinho and then Ronaldinho Gaucho, who was from the area of Gaucho, which was added to his name to differentiate between the players

Saneguy, I thank you for the question and I hope this answers you, Keep the questions coming in

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