papa_francisco_i_1596_645xA good friend of mine se va a casar el próximo mes (is getting married next month). I always call him “Paco Pepe”and, when I read his wedding invitation, me eché las manos a la cabeza. Something sounded strange. It said: “Franciso José and XXX invite you…”. Francisco José? Of course, I knew the origin of the name “Paco Pepe”, however, when I saw it in the letter… It was funny.

There are shortened names in all languages. In English we can find: Jack, Bess, Tony and much more. They are called “hypocorisms”. And we use them to talk colloquially to relatives and friends. Even our students on have their own shortened name and they like learning Spanish ones.

Let’s see the origins of some Spanish hypocorisms:

As you´ll have noticed, Paco comes from Francisco (Frank, Francis). But this common name is also shortened in other ways. You may find Fran, Quico, Curro… Maybe, the most famous Francisco is currently the Argentinean Pope, Francisco I (El Papa).

Pepe is even more used. It comes from José (Joseph, Joe), Jesus’ father’s name. The last President of Spanish Government was called José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Here you have more of them:

Male names:

  • Antonio = Toni, Toño.
  • Alejandro = Álex, Jandro.
  • Felipe = Pipe
  • Fernando = Nando.
  • Jesús = Chus, Chechu
  • Manuel = Lolo, Manolo

Female names:

  • Carmen = Menchu, Carmela
  • Francisca = Paquita, Paca
  • Magdalena = Mada, Malena.
  • María = Mari, Maruja
  • Mercedes = Merche, Merci, Meme
  • Rosario = Charo, Chayo.

Do you know more examples? Write a comment and tell us.