Pokémon, short for Pocket Monsters, was created in 1995 and is still one of the most successful video games in the whole world to date. The franchise includes not only games, but also anime series, movies, comic books and toys. More than 20 years later, the Pokémon world has now peaked in popularity following the release of the mobile game Pokémon Go.
Most young adults played the game when they were young, and are surely now reminded of those good old days whilst running around the streets catching Pokémon on the way to work. But what many might not know is that Pokémon names are different in some languages. That’s the case, for example, for French and German, which have translated or created new names for a great variety of Pokémon. On the contrary, Spanish sticks to using the English names.
In this post we will have a look at some of the most interesting Pokémon names in French and German, and explain the reasons behind them. Take a look and get ready to catch ‘em all!
The English name is a combination of the words “gold” + “duck”, whilst the German is using the German word for “duck”, “Ente”, and adding a suffix. The funniest one of the 3 is the French, which uses a combination of “aqua” + “quack”, which also sounds like the noise a duck would make.
This is a tapir whose ability is putting people to sleep and eating their dreams. The English name comes from the word “drowsy”, which means ‘to be half-asleep’. On the same note, the French name is based on the French translation for “soporific”, whilst the German uses a play on words with the words “Traum” (dream) and “traumatisch” (traumatic), which clearly shows that your dreams won’t be pleasant if this Pokémon is around.
This fire unicorn is one of the most beautiful Pokémon. Its English name comes either from “Rapid” (fast) and “Dash” (sprint) or “Ash”, like what remains after a fire. On the other hand, the French and German names use a more direct option taken from the verbs “galoppieren” and “galop”, used to describe a horse run.
The English and German name for this Pokémon comes from the English word for “bat”. This animal is closely associated with vampires, and with that in mind the French takes it another step further and names it after “Nosferatu”, an epic vampire film from the 20s inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The little cheerful bulb is one of the most typical grass Pokémon. In two languages the name implies that behind its smile, there is something enigmatic: the English combines “Odd” + “Raddish”, whilst the French comes from “Mystère” (mystery) + “Herbe” (herb). On the other hand, the German is based in “Myrte” (myrtle, a flowering plant) + “Pflanz” (plant).
This cute Pokémon has lovely names that clearly go together with its kind nature. The English comes from “Wiggly” (wobbly) + “Tuff”, for the tuft of hair on its head. Similarly, the German is inspired by the word “Knuddelig” (cuddly) and the French from “Gros” (big) + “Doudou” (cuddly toy). Definitely a Pokémon you would love to hug at night!
This Pokémon is the third evolution that follows “Abra” and “Kadraba”. It’s one of the most traditional Psycho type creatures and it’s name is closely related to magic. The English and French name follows the typical incantation used in stage magic tricks, which is believed to have an Aramaic origin. Surprisingly, in German, rather than keeping the “A…” rule, they chose to adapt another typical word for magic tricks “Simsalabim”
These are only a few of the many examples, since the list of all Pokémon names goes up to 722! Fans of this game can do further research on the different names and improve their vocabulary in a fun way.
At Lingoda we believe that having fun whilst learning a language is one of the key factors to success. That’s why we encourage our students to try alternative ways of learning, such as watching YouTube channels, listening to podcasts or to music in foreign languages. Also, our classes are organized according to different topics that include fashion, art, literature or politics – which will make your learning experience even more tailored to your personal needs!
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