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User comments for Janine (Meaning / History Only)
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I personally doubt that this name originated as an English form of Jeannine. I believe it originated as a French variant spelling of Jeanine (itself a variant of Jeannine) and then eventually made its away across the pond. The fact that this name has been commonly used in France points to this: it has been in use since at least the early 1900s, with the height of its popularity in 1933: in that year, a total of 2664 baby girls were given the name. [noted -ed]
Also, I doubt that it could have been the other way around, i.e. the French adopting Janine as an English form of Jean(n)nine. The French have historically been fiercely proud and protective of their language. They still are to this very day, which e.g. shows in the fact that almost all foreign TV series and films are dubbed into French, rather than subtitled into French. Because of protective measures like this, the average French person is very oriented on their native language and has a relatively poor grasp of English (or any other foreign language, for that matter).
In this situation, it is hard and unlikely for foreign languages to have much exposure in the country, let alone have much of an affect on the French language. This extends to [the "import" of] foreign given names as well, which is what Janine would be (if we assume for a moment that it actually originated in any English-speaking country). You can imagine that this situation was even harder in the pre-Internet age, and even more so before World War II (since globalisation slowly but surely began to take off after World War II). The name Janine was at its most popular in France in the 1930s (i.e. before the second World War), so how could the average French person of that time have possibly been exposed to what is said to be an English name?! There wasn't even an internationally known English bearer of the name at the time.
So, all in all, I personally believe that the name Janine originated in France, instead of in English-speaking countries like the United Kingdom and the United States. Not least because in French, there isn't much of a difference in pronunciation between Jeanine and Janine.
Known French bearers of this name include:
- the photographer Janine Niépce (1921-2007):
- the actress Janine Darcey (1917-1993):
- the actress Janine Sutto (born in 1921 in Paris):
- the psychoanalyst Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel (1928-2006):
- the essayist and translator Janine Altounian (born in 1934 in Paris):
- the novelist Janine Boissard (born in 1932 in Paris):
- the novelist Janine Teisson (born in 1948 in Toulon):
The name Janine comes for the Hebrew meaning of "A Gift From God".
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