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Agent Fitzhugh: State your name.

Sergei Malatov: [says nothing]

McNulty No name, huh? Well, for now, we'll just call you "Boris".

Sergei: [sighs] "Boris"... Why always "Boris"?

When you have to name a non-anglophone character, you've got three choices (if you're a hack author, that is):

That last option is this trope. Many nations have their analogs of "John Smith" - ridiculously common names, whose "commonness" became near proverbial. Sometimes, these names become symbols or stereotypes, associated in popular consciousness with the respective countries.

Note that names that were once common in one country often fall out of favour with the passage of time while remaining 'stock', sometimes resulting in an author unintentionally giving a young character an anachronistically old-fashioned name.

Some of these names - such as "Mick" or "Guido" - become so closely associated with a particular country that they attain full on racial epithet status.

Of course, some names that catch on can eventually become 'de-foreignised' as the association with the home country fades. The name 'Kevin' is a great example of this; as recently as a century ago it was almost entirely unknown outside Ireland, yet at this point the man on the street is unlikely to even think of it as an Irish name.


A name should have at least three examples of being used to name a stock foreigner from the respective country (or at least one example that lampshades its use as a Stock Foreign Name). If you add a name, please add at least one work along with it.

Examples of Stock Foreign Name include:


African

Unisex

  • Probably The Unpronouncable
  • Names with a -tun sound, like Mutumbo or Tunde
  • Names with a click sound
  • May also be the same as Middle Eastern names, if they're Muslim, and sometimes if they're not.
  • An English first name with a distinctly non-English last name, probably due to famous Africans like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
  • Names starting with an M or an N, directly followed by another consonant.


American Indian

  • Most American Indian names, in English, can be generated here.
  • From Wikipedia's "Native American surnames" category:
    • Begay (from Navajo for "his/her son")
    • Deloria (Sioux, from French trapper Philippe des Lauriers)
    • Echohawk (after a Pawnee leader)
    • Harjo (from Muscogee Creek for "so brave as to seem crazy")


Arabian/Middle East

Masculine names

  • Abdullah (or Abdul)
    • Quest for Glory 1 and 2 have Abdullah Doo, the pudgy merchant from Shapeir. The same game also has a part where if you rob a certain house and are detected, the owner will shout the names of his sons, Kareem, Abdul and Jabbar, respectively.
  • Abu[1]
  • Ahmed
  • Ali
    • 24: In season 6, there were 10 generic Middle Eastern characters. Three of them were Abu, Ahmed and Omar. There were also Omars in Season 2 and 4.
    • Parodied in Runescape which features an entire town where every NPC is named Ali.
  • Muhammad/Mohammed
  • Mustafa
  • Omar
    • In Four Lions, Omar is the only member of the Jihadists who approaches competence.

Feminine names

  • Nadia
  • Jasmine is an odd example. It was originally a Persian name before spreading across the rest of the Middle-East, but is now also very popular in Europe, North and South America.


Australian

Masculine names

  • Bruce
  • Darren

Feminine names

  • Kylie
  • Sheila
    • Lampshaded by the Australians themselves
  • Jan
    • Works better for older Australian women, the name is now out of style

Last names

  • Mackenzie
  • Cook/Cooke
    • Captain James Cook was an Englishman who proposed the idea of making Australia a British colony.


Bosnian

Masculine Names

  • Adnan
  • Amar
  • Armin
  • Benjamin
  • Haris
  • Sulejman
  • Mehmed
  • Mustafa, mostly older people.
  • Zlatan

Feminine Names

  • Ajla
  • Alma
  • Amila
  • Lejla
  • Nejra
  • Selma

Family Names

  • Any name ending in the standard Slavic -ić, which is a possessive roughly meaning "descendant/member of," often equated with the English "-son." Mostly combined with a name and/or profession, such as:
    • Agić, Aga(a generic Ottoman term for lord or master)+ić
    • Imamović, Imam(muslim priest)+ić
    • Sometimes this is bought to (even more) tongue twisting levels, for example: Hadzihafizbegovič, which can verbosely be translated as "Descendant of the Muslim governor who memorized the Kur'an and did the pilgrimage to Mecca." Hilarious if you have an atheist friend with that name.
  • Surnames that don't fall under the above rule are usually just professions or titles without the possessive:
    • Kovač, Kovač=Smith. Probably the most generic Slavic surname there is.
    • Puškar, Gunsmith.
  • Even rarer are names that don't have anything to do with professions, titles, given names or possessives. Also they tend to be somewhat bizzare:
    • Hot
    • Uzbrdica, up-hill.
      • Leading to the hilarious and veritably real name "Nagib Uzbrdica" = "Steep Uphill."
    • Guzina, Big-ass.
    • Burina, Big Storm.


Chinese

Feminine names

  • Mei-ling (or Meiling)

Family names


Colombian

Last names

  • Restrepo


Danish

Masculine names

  • Peter
  • Hans
  • Frederik
  • Lars
  • Soren
  • Niels
  • Jens

Feminine names

  • Anne/Anna/Hanne
  • Kirsten
  • Inge
  • Mette
  • Women from the Danish colonies (Greenland and the former Danish West Indies, now the U.S. Virgin Islands) will often have slightly old-fashioned, regal-sounding names like Juliane, Caroline, and Charlotte Amalie. In the case of the Virgin Islands, it's because ships often had the names of Danish queens or princesses, and slaves were frequently named after the ship they arrived in. As for Greenland, it's simply because Inuit women arriving in Denmark were likely to adopt the names of famous Danish women.

Surnames

  • Jensen
  • Hansen
  • Christensen
  • Rasmusen
    • Former prime ministers Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Poul Nyrup Rasmusen.
  • Anything ending in -sen


Dutch

Masculine names

  • Willem (or Wim)
  • Johan (or Jan)
  • Hans
  • Henk
  • Maarten
  • Tim

Feminine names

Last names


English

Masculine names

  • Arthur
  • Clive

 Frasier: Daphne, a Clive called for you.

Daphne: Clive? Did he sound British?

Frasier: No, he was one of those fiery Mexican Clives!

  • James
  • John
  • Nigel
  • Reginald
    • Also note a tendency for adults in England to not use pet names: James, not Jimmy; Stephen, not Steve. This contrasts with the American style.

Feminine names

  • Alice
  • Charlotte
  • Elizabeth
  • Emma/Emily
  • Margaret
  • Maria/Mary/Marie
  • Rose
  • Sophie

Last names

  • Jones
    • More stereotypically Welsh than English.
  • Smith
  • Wright
    • One of the most common names in England.
  • Two surnames, hyphenated
  • Ramsbottom
    • Stereotypically Northern English.


French

Masculine names

  • Antoine
  • Jacques
  • Jean
  • Philippe
  • Pierre
  • Michel

Feminine names

  • Astrid (Belgian)
    • Actually a Scandinavian name imported into the Belgian royal family starting with Queen Astrid (of Sweden), consort of Leopold III and mother of Albert II.
  • Eloise
  • Marie
  • Sophie
  • Didi (French-Canadian)

Last names

  • Dupont
  • Durand
  • Delacroix
  • de Something or du Something, generally


Finnish

Masculine names

  • Pekka

Feminine names

  • Marja-Liisa
  • Laura
    • Laura Vanamo, the Finnish singer who covered a Japanese song in Finnish.

Surnames

  • Lahti
    • Also the name of a city in Finland.


German

Masculine names

  • Adolf
  • Fritz (or Friedrich)
    • "Fritz" a standard slang term meaning "German" for quite some time, much like "Ivan" with Russians.
    • Wizards, the animated movie by Ralph Bakshi, has the memorable "They've killed Fritz!" scene.
    • Professor Friedrich Bhaer from Little Women. They do call him Fritz as a nickname, too.
  • Hans (or Johann)
    • Look through Grimm's Fairy Tales. If the hero of the story has a first name, it's probably Hans.
      • Keeping with the European tradition of the Iohannes-derived names John(Jack)/Johann(Hans)/Jean/Ivan/etc as a common and/or stock name for characters or everymen.
    • Hans Gruber, the criminal mastermind in Die Hard
    • Johann Krauss.
    • Johan Liebert
  • Heinrich
  • Hermann
    • A background villain in The Punisher named Hermann the German.
  • Kurt
  • Karl
  • Klaus
  • Ludwig
  • Wolfgang
  • Gunther

Feminine names

  • Helga
  • Hilda

Last names

  • Schmidt
    • Which occurs in several variants, e. g. Schmid, Schmitt, Schmitz, Smidt.
  • Müller
  • Schultz
    • Also Schulz, Schultze, Schulte, Schulze.
    • Hogan's Heroes (television): John Banner played Sergeant Schultz.
    • Müller und Schmidt are the two most common names in Germany, with Schultz "only" being the ninth most common.
  • von Something


Greek

Masculine names

  • Kostas
  • Spiros (or Spiro)
  • Stavros
  • Stelios
  • Yianni/Yiannis

Feminine names

  • Eleni
  • Sophia
  • Georgina/Georgia
  • Nia

Last names

  • Papadopoulos
  • Anything ending in -poulos


Hungarian

Masculine names

Family names (note that in Hungarian these are properly first names)

  • Kovács


Indian

Masculine names

Feminine names

  • Priya

Last names

  • Gandhi
  • Khan
  • Kumar


Irish

Masculine names

  • Colin
  • Mick (or Micky)
  • Patrick (or Paddy)
  • Liam
  • Seán
  • Séamus

Feminine names

  • Aoife
  • Bridget/Brigid, up until recently though the success of the (British) Bridget Jones books have probably weakened the association with Ireland.
  • Colleen (lit. "girl")
  • Eileen
  • Eithne (pronounced "Enya"; Irish spelling is at least opaque as French)
    • The birth name of Irish singer Enya.
  • Erin
  • Fiona
  • Kathleen (as in Kathleen ni Houlihan, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Ireland)
  • Molly
  • Mary/Margaret
  • Rosie
  • Siobhan

Last names

  • Kennedy
  • Murphy (or O'Murphy, though this version is far rarer in reality.)
  • O'Brien (or O'Brian, which likewise is a fairly rare variation in real life.)
  • O'Donnell
  • O'Reilly
  • O'Shea
  • O'Anything, really. Even O'NotARealIrishName.


Italian

Masculine names

  • Alessandro
  • Antonio (or Toni)
    • Tony (Antonio) Esposito from The Most Happy Fella.
  • Giovanni
  • Giuseppe
  • Guido
    • Guido Anselmi in Eight and A Half, and Guido Contini in the adaptation Nine.
    • Guido Orefice in Life Is Beautiful.
    • Guido in Cars, who only speaks Italian.
    • Guido di Maggio in Max Shulman's novel Rally Round the Flag, Boys!.
  • Mario/Luigi

Feminine names

  • Angela
  • Carmilla
  • Nina

Last names

  • de Luca


Japanese

Masculine names

Feminine names

Family names

  • Suzuki
  • Tanaka
  • Watanabe
    • Possibly lampshaded in Live a Live, where every chapter has a character with that name.
  • Yamada
  • Yamaguchi
  • Yamauchi
  • Yamamoto
  • Yamaoto


Korean

Masculine names

  • Cho

Family names

  • Kim
    • Kim Il-sung or Kim Jong-il
  • Lee
  • Pak (or Park)
    • In fact 45% of all Koreans are named either Kim, Lee, or Park.


Norwegian

Masculine names

Feminine names

  • Anne
  • Inger
  • Kari
  • Marit
  • Ingrid

Last names

  • Hansen
  • Johansen
  • Olsen
  • Larsen
  • Andersen


Swedish

Masculine names

Feminine names

Last names

  • Johansson
  • Svensson
  • A common error among anglophones is to spell -son surnames with one "s" (e.g. Anderson), whereas Scandinavians spell them with a doubled "s" (Andersson). The first "s" is a genitive marker, the second the first letter of the word "son". And names that end with an "s" do not take an extra genitive "s", because triple consonants aren't used. Most people of Scandinavian descent in the United States anglicize their surnames by spelling them with one "s", so the error is forgivable.
    • This is only true for Swedish names. Danish and Norwegian names typically end in -sen, without the extra s. Many Danish/Norwegian-American surnames exchange the e for an o, for example the family band The Hansons (Danish-American)


Swiss

Masculine names

  • Johan

Feminine names

  • Heidi
    • Popularized by the novel Heidi.


Polish

Masculine names

  • Stan[islaus/islaw/isław]

Feminine names

  • Karolina

Last names


Puerto Rican

Masculine names

  • Jesús
  • José


Russian

Masculine names

  • Aleksandr, as well as its diminutive, Sasha/Sacha
  • Alexey is a commonly-known related name.
    • These two names come from Greek: Alexandros ("Protector of men") and Alexios (simply "Protector").
  • Boris
    • The quote on this page lampshades this. Ironically, in Russia itself Boris is perceived as a Jewish name.
    • Boris Badenov, the villainous spy from the nation of Pottsylvania, which is surely an Expy for the USSR.
    • Parodied in Final Crisis Aftermath: RUN, when the Human Flame mockingly calls a Kyrgyzstani mafioso "Boris" before killing him, but finds out upon stealing the mafioso's wallet that "Oh, your name actually is Boris."
  • Dmitri
  • Igor
  • Ivan
    • Ivan was a stereotypical name for Russians for such a long time, it's used as such even by Real Life Russians. This probably has something to do with 90% of Russian folk heroes being named Ivan (Ivan the Tsar's son, Ivan the peasant's son, Ivan the cow's son, etc.), not to mention five tsars.
    • Played with in Kukushka. Veikko inadvertently guesses Ivan's name correctly while asking for it, misinterprets the answer ("Get lost!") as his actual name, and, when finally corrected, replies along the lines of "You're all called Ivan."
    • Conn, Sonar! Crazy Ivan!
  • Vladimir (often shortened to Vlad, even though it's a different name)
  • Yuri

Feminine names

Last names

  • Ivanov
  • Popov
    • A brand of vodka.
  • Smirnov
    • Another brand of vodka.
    • The principal characters of Anton Chekhov's play "The Bear" are named Smirnov and Popova.
    • According to 2006 research by Balanovskaya, Smirnov is indeed the most common Russian surname. Ivanov is the second common, Popov is the 4th.
  • Any name ending in -vich or -ov (see Russian Naming Convention).
    • Note, that -vich is actually the ending of (masculine) patronymics, not last names.


Scottish

Masculine names

Feminine names

  • Morag
  • Flora
  • Margaret (or Meg)

Last names


Spanish/Mexican/Latin American

 (need help to distinguish them!)

Masculine names

  • Carlos
  • Diego
  • José (or Pepe)
    • José Carioca, whose Brazilian comic book series is swimming with characters named José, mostly his relatives.
      • Let's not forget its Brazilian diminutive, Zé.
  • Juan
  • Manuel
  • Miguel
  • Pablo
  • Pedro
  • Tito

Feminine names

Last names

  • Chavez
  • Cruz
  • Fernandez
  • Garcia
  • Hernandez
  • Gomez
  • Gutierrez
  • Lopez
  • Martinez
  • Mendes/Mendez
  • Perez
    • If you pair it with Juan you get the equivalent of John Smith
  • Quiñonez
  • Sanchez
  • Gonzalez


Turkish

Masculine names

  • Hassan
  • Murat

Feminine names

  • Ayshe


U.S. General

Masculine names

  • Bill
  • Bob
  • Jimmy
  • John

Feminine names

  • Ashley
  • Taylor
  • Madison
  • Chris.(less commonly Christine or Christina.) The Stock Name for American girls, or any Western girl, in Japan. Although it's been transferred to Korea, China and Taiwan by adaptations of anime and manga into dramas.

Surnames

  • Johnson
  • Davis
  • Scott


U.S. African-Americans

Masculine names

  • Andre
  • Darius
  • Darnell
  • Darryl
  • Demetrius
  • DeAnything
  • Leroy (or Leeroy)
  • Malcolm
  • Malik
  • Marcus
  • Patrice
  • Ray-Ray
  • Reginald
  • Rufus
  • Rayshawn, DeShawn
  • Tyrone (or Ty)
  • Terrell
  • Terrance
  • LeSomething

Feminine names

  • Aaliyah
  • Aisha, Monique and Neice (and combination with just about any word)
  • Alexus (or Mercedes)
  • Deja
  • Ebony, Raven and other color-signifying names
  • Imani
  • Jazmine
  • Nia
  • Shanice (as well as Shaniqua, Shanay, Shanaynay, and anything with the prefix sha-)
  • LaSomething
  • Anything ending in -isha (Keisha, Kenisha, Tanesha, etc.)
  • Mae (older black women)
  • Peaches
  • Phyllis or Phillis, in period works.

Unisex

  • Pookie (usually used to describe a stereotypical family member, for example "Call your ghetto cousin Pookie to beat her up")
  • Ray-Ray (similar to Pookie in usage)
  • Normal names with creative spellings or pronunciations, for example the Urban Legend about Le-a pronounced "Le-dash-a".

Last names

  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Washington
  • Freeman


U.S. Amish

Masculine names

 At 4:30 in the morning I'm milkin' cows

Jebediah feeds the chickens and Jacob plows... fool

And I've been milkin' and plowin' so long that

Even Ezekiel thinks that my mind is gone!

  • Jeremiah
  • Jacob
    • Used by Amish in the Tim Allen comedy For Richer or Poorer, "The Outsiders" episode of MacGyver, "Murder, Plain and Simple" episode of Murder, She Wrote, A Murder in Fulham County, a theater production "Jacob's Choice" and Harvest of Fire. In the musical Plain and Fancy, Jacob Yoder is not a unique name.
  • Samuel
    • Used by Amish in Witness, For Richer or Poorer, and Harvest of Fire. Also one of the top five Amish masculine names according to John A. Hostetler (the others are John, Amos, Daniel and David).

Feminine names

  • Rebecca
  • Sarah
    • Used by Amish in Aaron's Way, Jodi Picoult's "Plain Truth", "Murder, Plain and Simple" episode of Murder, She Wrote, A Stoning in Fulham County, and Harvest of Fire.
  • Mary, Katie and Annie round out the top five Amish feminine names according to John A. Hostetler.

Surnames

  • Lapp
    • Used by Amish in Witness, For Richer or Poorer, "Murder, Plain and Simple" episode of Murder, She Wrote, Harvest of Fire and The Shunning. Also one of the top five Amish surnames according to John A. Hostetler (the four others are Stoltzfus, King, Fisher and Beiler).
  • Yoder
    • Used by Amish in For Richer or Poorer and the musical Plain and Fancy.
  • Zook
    • Plain and Fancy: "Also families like Yoder, only more. We got twenty-four families Zook."


U.S. Latter-Day Saints

Masculine names

  • Spencer
  • John
  • Heber
  • Brigham
  • Moses
  • Nephi
  • Moroni
  • Alma, not to be confused with the feminine name in Spanish

Feminine names

  • Molly
  • Emma

Surnames

  • Browning
  • Hatch
  • Romney
  • Call
  • Young


U.S. Wealthy

Masculine

  • Chase/Chace
  • Chad
  • John
  • "Stuffy" sounding names

Feminine

  • Traditionally male names such as Spencer or Dylan
  • Ashley
  • Brittany (not "Britney")

Surnames

  • Any last name ending in -ton(for example Buffington)
  • Roman numerals at the end: John Buffington, III
    • William Henry Gates III, better known as Bill Gates. Note that Gates was from the wealthy family right from the start.
  • Bonus points if their middle name is their mother's maiden name.


U.S. Southern States

Masculine names

  • Bubba
  • Billy-Bob, Billy-Joe, Joe-Bob and other dual names
    • Carmageddon had a racer called Billy Joe Jim Bob who was a stereotypical hillbilly.
    • The Dreadheads from G.I. Joe all have codenames along these lines, even though their actual names are upper-class old money affairs; Joe-Bob, for example, is really named Winston.
  • Cletus
  • Jeb
  • Jed
  • Jethro
  • Jimbo
  • Zeke
  • Peyton
  • A verb with an er at the end- (Tucker, Parker, Hunter, Carter, Cooper). Justifiable in that they might have been the mother's maiden name.

Feminine names

  • Jenny (at least in Texas)
  • Mary-Lou, Peggy-Sue and other dual names (see above)
  • Taylor
  • Austin


Vietnamese

Masculine names

  • Thanh, Sơn, Tuấn, Minh, Dũng...

Feminine names

  • Thảo, Ngọc, Mỹ, Trâm, Thư...

Unisex names

  • An, Thi, Dương, Giang, Huỳnh...

Family names

  • They're technically first names, as Vietnamese follow the common Asian tradition of putting the family name first.
  • Nguyễn (most widespread)
  • Trần (second)
  • Phạm
  • Note that in Vietnam it's customary to address a stranger by his or her given name, not a family name. Võ Nguyên Giáp (or Ziap, for those unfamiliar with Vietnamese spelling), a famous North Vietnam general (the guy still lives, BTW), is thus correctly addressed as "General Ziap", not "General Võ".
  • Most Vietnamese names have secondary meaning just as Japanese names and Chinese names do (Trung: Loyal, Vân: Cloud...).


Welsh

Masculine Names

  • Dai
  • Owain
  • Rhys
  • Dave

Feminine names

  • Gwen (and various derivatives thereof)
  • Angharad
  • Seren
  • Delyth
  • Haf (more commonly used as a middle name)

Last names

  • Davis/Davies
  • Jones
    • Lampshaded in The Very World of Milton Jones: In the midst of (Welsh) choir practice, the teacher bellows, "JONES!" to which everyone answers, "Which one?". Milton tries asking, "Which one?" again in Fiji later, but it doesn't work 'cos there's only him.
    • If you listen carefully to the roll call in Zulu, you can hear several calls of "Jones [service number]". This was common practice in Welsh regiments due to the sheer number of Joneses.
  • Evans
  • Lloyd
  • Llewellyn
  • Williams
  • Thomas

Notes

  1. Note: Abu is actually not an actually name, but means "Father of-", e.g. Abu Yahya, meaning "Father of John"
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