What I was wondering: are there still Joke’s born in Belgium? Every time I pass by a colleague named Joke, I wonder. Let me explain: Joke is quite regular Dutch first name for a girl. You pronounce it [yo-ke], like blending ‘yoghurt’ and ‘kebab’ together and put the accent on the ‘yo’. ‘Joke’ is just a diminutive form of Jo, kind of like Jenny, Abby and Debby. No-one who grew up speaking Dutch would bat an eye to hear about someone named Joke, but everyone else on this planet probably would.

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Suzan Baert