“My son, here is somebody, I have a nephew, that was his name–he was born at Bremen.”
–The American Sign Language
“I saw him at the dance.”
–The Evening World (New York)
For more than a half century, a group of American sign language specialists has been hard at work investigating the meaning of the name Jochen (pronounced JC-sin). As in other languages, Jochen can be either Germanic (meaning “foolish”), Jewish (meaning “son of God”), or Roman pagan. The meaning comes from Jochen, as a common surname within Germanic families, the Jochens. Jochen, however, was the name of Joches in the Old High German language dialect of Northern Europe–the Jochen in those parts being a word for an elf. These are the Germanic and Jewish Jochens; the Latin and pagan Jochen are not actually related. Joches, however, is still the ancestor of the Germanic languages which have come to refer to the Roman pagan pantheon.
Jochen, in other words, is a name whose true meaning is a very difficult and complicated one–and has only recently been fully elucidated. Jochen has been used since the second century C.E. by members of the Darmstadt group, a group from the northern Germany which settled in northern France in the 2nd- and 3rd-century C.E. It seems that those members, who adopted “Jochens” as their given name, did not always consider them to be the same people, although they may at times have associated them with the Darmstadt group in common. It is now clear, however, that the name “Jochen” was given to the Jochens because of their relationship to Darmstadt, the pagan city of Darmstadt.
At some point between the 2nd and 3rd century CE, some Germanic speakers were able to use the Greek name for Darmstadt-Germany, “Gelis,” to identify them as Germanic speakers, even though some spoke neither German nor Slavic. The name Jochen appears in the Germanic texts of the 1-2nd century–it is sometimes spelled “Jochen” or “Jochel” to distinguish this group from the other Jochens. Because this group was identified as being of Germanic descent
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