Name Spotlight: Yohann

yohann

A name propelled into baby name fame in the 60s and 70s in France through musical and sporty factors.

ORIGIN AND PRONUNCIATION

Yohann is a form of Johann, which, according to Mike Campbell of Behind the Name, is the German form of Iohannes, Iohannes being derived from the Hebrew name Yochanan (יוֹחָנָן) meaning “Yahweh is gracious,” via its Greek form Ioannes (Ιωαννης), meaning all of this links to what we call in English, John¹.

In French, this name seems to be pronounced as yo-an (‘o‘ sounding a bit like ‘go‘ in Scottish English).

HOW POPULAR IS YOHANN?

Since I am talking about a name that started to become popular in France some decades ago, it would be fitting to start off this section with the statistics from that country.

The name first appeared in the INSEE data in 1964 with 5 boys being given this name in that year². It remained in the single digits for 2 more years until 1967 when it rose up to 21 births. This was most likely thanks to the album ‘Olympia 67,’ a live studio album by the famed singer and actress Dalida in which one of the songs in this album is called ‘La chanson de Yohann,’ which translates to as ‘The song of Yohann.’³

Using INSEE data, looking at the graph for the last 50 years up to 2013²:

yohann-fr

Notice the jump that occurred in 1974 and 1975. What’s interesting to know is that Yohan, Johann and, to a lesser extent, Johan saw similar jumps. It’s most likely that famed Dutch football player, the late Johan Cruyff, caused this to happen. At that time, the Netherlands were runners-up in the 1974 FIFA World Cup and, despite losing to West Germany in the end, Cruyff was named player of the tournament⁴, so it does seem fitting that this was a time when his career was at its peak.

Yohann entered the top 100 for the first time in 1976 and would remain that way until 1991. In its current year, which is 2013, it is at the bottom of the top 500² and, by the looks of it, should the data for 2014 and 2015 be released, Yohann would already be out by then.

Looking through Wikipedia entries, most of the Yohan(n)s listed there ended up doing sports for their careers, some became footballers like Cruyff.

Everywhere else, it’s rarely used. Take the United States for example, where it first entered the SSA list in 2003 with 7 births and peaked at 22 births in 2011. In 2015, 19 boys were given this name⁵. Another example is England & Wales where there are only a couple of Yohanns listed in the Birth Index⁶. Regarding the ONS data, Yohann only appeared 6 times since 1996, the most recent being 2015 with 3 births⁷.

What do you think of this name or this post in general? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below the sources.

Sources:
Behind the Name on Johann – http://www.behindthename.com/name/johann¹
Wikipedia articles on:

Journal des Femmes (Prénoms section), provides INSEE data – http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/prenoms/²
Social Security Administration – http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/index.html⁵
FreeBMD – http://www.freebmd.org.uk/⁶
Office for National Statistics – http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/baby-names–england-and-wales/index.html⁷

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