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I have a very good friend (of Mexican heritage*) named Oscar.

Once in a while you come across a "white" Oscar (and there are many "Oskars" in Germany, I think), but it seems most common among Spanish speakers. Considering the fact that a very negative word (asqueroso) sounds similar, why would that be?

There is a similar thing in English, it's true (the word "terrible" and the name "Terry"); is it just a case like that - nobody thinks of "asqueroso" when they hear the name Oscar?

  • but even his family calls him a coconut.
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6  
I don't think that "asqueroso" and "oscar" sound similar... –  Quimey Jun 13 at 23:42
    
Isn't "asqueroso" pronounced similar to "Oscar-oso"? –  B. Clay Shannon Jun 13 at 23:43
    
Yes, but "a" and "o" sound very different for me. –  Quimey Jun 13 at 23:44
    
Okay, I guess the "English" pronunciation of Oscar sounds like the Spanish pronunciation of the "asquer" part of "asqueroso" –  B. Clay Shannon Jun 13 at 23:46
3  
Not at all. Do "Oscar" and "asker" sound similar to you in English? –  rsanchez Jun 14 at 16:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Vowels in Spanish have a very distinct sound, maybe because there are only 5 of them.

So for two words to sound similar they should have more or less the same vowels, particularly the tonic one.

For example jade and jode, just one vowel of difference, but you cannot even make a play on words!

Same with Óscar/asco. The r can be played around but the o/a and a/o cannot. If you call him Oscaroso, I'm afraid you'll have to explain the joke.

Conclusion: a Spanish listener will never think of this!

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You're completely right! :) –  Eva Thyssen Jun 16 at 1:48

Óscar doesn't sound like 'asqueroso' at all.

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I have been pondering this question myself lately, and I have a theory to why Oscar is a common name in Spanish speaking countries. As a very young child I assumed my dad's name was somehow spanish because his name Oscar. It turned out that he is actually Swedish, and Oscar or Oskar is an even more common name in Sweden and common throughout all Germanic countries. Anyways, I looked into this, and this is what i came up with...

In the early 6th century Rome was invaded by Germanic tribes, one of the major tribes being the Goths (who some believe to originate from what is now Götaland of southern sweden), at some point the Goths became two seperate tribes Ostrogoths and Visigoths. The Ostrogoths staying to rule Italy and establishing the Ostrogothic Kingdom, and the Visigoths who went on to conquer Hispania (spain and portugal). The Visigoths remained the rulers, and because of this many Germanic names were used. I believe this is why the name Oscar is continued to be used to this day as a spanish name, but not really seeming like it.

(But really this is all just speculation, it could have just popped up as a name all on its own in Spain. I apologize for the uncertainty, but I cant find any sources directly stating the origin of the spanish name Oscar. If someone actually knows feel free to correct me.)

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