World: Qu'y a-t-il dans un nom?

"What do you wish to name your daughter?" asked the city hall clerk. "Gaullette," proudly replied the French father. "Impossible!" cried the fonctionnaire. "That is not a name but a profession of political faith. Pick another."

The uproar in Strasbourg exemplified a problem that has plagued French parents since 1803, when the Napoleon government decreed that all Gaul's children must be named after Catholic saints. In 1813, the law was liberalized to include names of other "persons known in ancient history," but it has stood unchanged since, and today, though Charles de Gaulle exhorts his countrymen to "marry our century," French offspring...

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