Ma Shuang (马爽) only goes by her Chinese name now, but it wasn’t always that way. In the past, she introduced herself with an English name but stopped using it once she moved to Germany.
“When I was in London, because they were not able to say Queralt, they called me Q,” says Queralt Rodriguez Salinas. In Berlin, Queralt has to repeat her name three to four times before people get it.
“When you say somewhere is multicultural, you say it’s a country of 72 nations. In Iran, they say this about Berlin”
Marjan grew up with her grandmother until the age of six and even before she was born, her grandmother was already calling her by a different name. Her parents chose Marjan in the end, but the name her grandmother gave her stayed in the family in more than one way.
Andra with her deliberately grey hair exclaims, “I’m a village girl actually!” Andra was born in Jakarta but grew up in Bandung, Indonesia. From her demeanour, you can tell that 27-year-old Andra is a vivacious person. Her eyes disappear into squints when she smiles, and she laughs straight from her belly.
28-year-old Stefanie Kofnyt goes by Stefie, but her family is not allowed to use this nickname. According to her parents, she was born a Stefanie and nothing else. Growing up, the graduate student chose to be known as Stefie to distinguish herself from other Stefanies, which is a fairly common name in Germany.
Stephanie, strictly Stephanie and never shortened to Steffi, is a product of East and West Germany; much like how Berlin is too.
“I have German order,” Dat begins, an expression that seems to exemplify German language exactness. He’s a young entrepreneur and data scientist working in Kreuzberg, Berlin.
In a sunny apartment off Sonnenallee in Neukölln, Jöran Mandik has a theory that when you look at a person, you can see their name on them.
Lüderitzstraße, Nachtigalplatz and Petersallee in Wedding’s African Quarter might soon lose their names to an initiative started by the district’s administrators. They want to rename the three places, which are…