Arnulfo Is a Real Name of Someone Who Speaks Spanish

November 8, 2007 at 3:12 pm 39 comments

Okay, so this is a two part story. From about sixth grade to senior year of high school, I had Spanish class every year. My friend Peter was there for most of it. At one point in what I believe was middle school (I probably should have consulted Peter’s encyclopedic memory here; feel free to correct my story in the comments) there was an exercise in our text books that featured a person named Arnulfo. We were floored by this, as most Spanish names have very obvious English equivalents (Maria>Mary) and we had no fucking idea what was going on with Arnulfo; it sounded ridiculous. I don’t believe it ever popped up in our study of the Spanish language ever again.

Fast forward to senior year of high school; we’re still taking Spanish. We have Doc, who is a great teacher because her methods are traditional and intensive. Doc loves Spain and has done extensive research there — searching for forgotten ballads and oral histories. We ask her, what does “Arnulfo” mean? “No educated speakers of Spanish would ever name a son that,” said Doc. “Maybe some poor Latin Americans would.” Doc could give a rat’s ass about Latin America. Fast forward again, to yesterday.

I’m a junior in college, and I don’t take Spanish anymore; I actually take Italian because I’m going to Rome. But my girlfriend just moved to a neighborhood where a lot of Salvadorans and Central Americans live. She’s not at all Latino, but people address her in Spanish as she walks down the street. (The fact that people talk to each other on the street at all blows me away!) Anyway, like a lot of lower-income neighborhoods, hers has a lot of bodegas, which are basically smaller corner stores that sell toilet paper, beer, etc. I like checking out these different stores on my way to the bus stop (there are least one or two per block) and as I was buying an apple juice, I noticed the above business card.

Doc: I can’t speak to Arnulfo’s education, but if 16 years of experience doesn’t mean anything, I don’t know what does. I would also like to add that I love the design of this card. It’s kind of kitschy, but really compelling. The stonework is a cool and effective way to focus the eye on the name and number in the center.


Entry filed under: bodegas, business cards, design, spanish.

Berger Explains Semiotics Photography Critique #2

39 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jthan  |  December 5, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Once you’ve come to accept that Doc is one of the best/craziest ladies ever, you come to accept that she will always have an Iberian bias. However, her research into old ballads and all that ended upcentering around the poor, illiterate Latin Americans– little old Uruguayan peasants singing the last memories of classic poetry.

    By the time AP Spanish Lit with her was over, I realized that Doc really does like Latin American literature– she’ll never stop talking once you bring up Cortázar, Borges, or Marti. What she really hates is Spanglish and Latin American culture in the States.

    I actually brought up the Arnulfo story to her last year and she stood by her previous statement that no literate, God-loving hispanohablante would name their child Arnulfo.

  • 2. Luis Longart  |  December 14, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    “ARNULFO” is a formal name in spanish, is not as common as Josè, Carlos, Juan, or Pedro, but it exist, ARNULFO was King of the Francs in 887; Also there was a Bishop: Arnulfo, Bishop of Soissons, France, 1081; this ARNULFO was consagrated SAINT by the Catholic Church, and it day is August 15th; there is another famous ARNULFO, Arnulfo Romero, Bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador (Central America), best known as “Monseñor Romero”, he was killed in 1980 by assassins, during the El Salvador Civil war. in the 80’s. In old times catholic families used to put names to babies according to the calendar and the name of the saint consagrated in the day of birthday of the bay, but now, this tradition is almost dissapeared. In old days boys born on August 15th were named “ARNULFO”.

  • 3. Julian Boira  |  June 5, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I am from Andalucia Spain and studied English in London. I agree that Arnulfo is not a very common name in Spain, in fact I only knew one Arnulfo as a child. If your Doc was truly an educated woman as she claims, she would know that Arnulfo is not a Spanish name. The name Arnulfo has Germanic origins meaning Eagle and Wolf. It seems as though your Doc may have a superiority complex. I would recommend she place her biased feelings aside and teach a class properly without passing along her personal prejeduces to her students. It’s people like her that make my country look bad. If people like her ruled Spain, we would be back to cavorting Pagans and having dung for dinner.


  • 4. arnullfo martinez  |  June 22, 2008 at 5:22 am

    When I read this I laughed my ass off

  • 5. arnulfo gonzales  |  September 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Hey losers i love my name. By the way thanks for the knowledge. I am actually mexican and all this time i though it was a hispanic name. lol. and also just wanted to say that i would recommend your teachers takes a couple more spanish classes. and by the way not only poor people hispanic people name their kids arnulfo. I dont considered myself poor although i dont considered myself rich, But i do know am not as ignorant as ur teacher.

    • 6. sonya rios  |  October 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm

      i like the name arnulfo although i never heard it before i met my husband arnulfo. I dont like how the blogger refers to the name as srtictly being from someone who is dumb or poor

  • 7. Christian  |  October 18, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Hey, my father’s name was Arnulfo and so it was my grandfather’s. I guess my father was aware that naming me like that would be a kind of revenge but i guess he loved me so much that he named me Christian, it’s true, my name is Christian, jaja.. any way be respectful of my father’s name or your wife will be named Arnulfa!!!!

    • 8. Julian Boira  |  May 15, 2009 at 10:43 pm

      I love the “Doc’s” Comment at the end. Very Funny that she changed the subject. I would love to meet her one day and see where her intellect lies. Born and raised in Spain, I would like to know where she get’s her biased context. “But if” I were her, I would ask for a refund on my so called “experience”.

  • 9. arnulfo galvez  |  May 18, 2009 at 3:55 am

    just one more

  • 10. Arnulfo Torres Jr.  |  July 16, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you all, especially Julian Boira and Luis Longart for their information. Since I was a child I’ve wanted to under where this name came from, why my grandfather named my father Arnulfo and if there was any meaning to it or if it referred to something. I use to joke around with my wife claiming my name meant KING 🙂

    Now I see it’s has a little Eagle , Wolf, King and Bishop Wow.

    Thank you all.

  • 11. anita  |  July 18, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    my dad’s name is Arnulfo… lol.

    i was actually telling my brother the other day that it’s a made up name and who know how my grandparents thought of it.

    but yes.. Arnulfo.

  • 12. Arnulfo Manjarrez  |  October 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    One more in Arkansas!!! Long live the king!!!!

  • 13. Matt  |  October 14, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I’m typesetting two sets of business cards right now for an Arnulfo Perez. One set has “Arnulfo”, the other set has “Arnold”.

    • 14. Arnold Trevino  |  February 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

      My great grandfather and my grandfather were named Arnulfo, my father and I were named Arnold.

  • 15. Eagle-wolf Olsen  |  November 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Arnulf is actually a common name in Norway.. “Arn” is eagle, and “ulf” is wolf. Eagle-wolf.

  • 16. Alan  |  November 6, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I just ran across this chain at random.

    Names used in Spanish-speaking countries come from many origins: Germanic (Arnulfo, Rodolfo, Dagoberto), Hebrew (Abrahán, Jesús), Slavic (Iván, Tatiana), Greek (Hipólito), etc.

    Some of the Germanic names were particularly popular in Mexico under the reign of the Emperor Maximilian. That’s also why so much of the Norteño music has overtones of the polka, including the accordeons, etc.

    The “Arnulfo” story reminded by of a scene from the Cantinflas movie “El Padrecito”. A poor rural couple comes into the church to have their baby baptized by the “Padrecito” (Cantinflas). He asks them what name they want to give the baby. The father replies: Napomuseno. And the Padrecito says: “¿Y no le da vergüenza?”

  • 17. ARNULFO Sastre  |  December 19, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Hey here I am….another one of us….from nashville tn…..first of all, your DOC is an ignorant sucker I don’t even get how people like that can call themselves teachers…ow yea I’ve found a few like her…….anyway…thank to luis longart that’s really interesting information….also special thanks to alan…..THANK YOU for enlightening this ignorants……lol….
    My fathers name is arnulfo, my name is arnulfo and my sons name would be arnulfo………lmfao…..I’m kiddin….I would never name my child with that name…..I would never do that to him…..but respect the name people…..can’t believe that a few of us didn’t even kno the meaning of your own name…..cum on!…….

  • 18. arnulfo Dominguez  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:36 am

    Wow surprised by its meaing never really knew but Arnulfo is a good ancient name with a beautiful history people should b proud of to name their children Arnulfo.

  • 19. Irsa G  |  January 29, 2010 at 12:35 am

    My fathers name (well middle name at least) is Arnulfo, it’s a Spanish name for Arnold. My family is from Guatemala, both parents born and raised there, and they even have name my brother Arnulfo too, (his middle as well…)
    Doc is an idiot, that is all i have to say.

  • 20. Arnulfo Bataller  |  March 21, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I am from the Philippines. I was really wondering why a Google search for my first name’s meaning didn’t yield any English equivalent while most christian names have. Somehow, the closest English equivalent is Arnold which means “Eagle and Ruler” which I adapted as a nickname and recognized by family members, friends, colleagues and bosses at work. However, a former workmate said that he likes the sound of Arnulfo because it sounds strong, exudes masculinity and power. One of our managers said, there is no point in calling me “Arnold”.

    My name was probably taken from a Christian “Almanac”, a calendar that suggests names for new borns. I was born August 24. It’s good to know the different origins of the name.

    Eagle+Ruler, Eagle+Wolf, name a of a King, a Bishop and a common Viking’s name! That’s Great!

  • 21. Arnulfo Campiot  |  March 24, 2010 at 5:50 am

    omg…thats my name…and obviously Im not rpoud of my name at all..
    a lot of times people keep mispronouncing it…It sucks when I have to tell it over and over again till they get it..I hated my sister for naming me it…huh..oh well at least i got a name..

  • 22. Angel A. Mass  |  March 31, 2010 at 6:48 am

    My name is Angel Arnulfo 🙂

  • 23. Arnulfo martinez  |  April 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    i am not the same one as the one on the top but i read this and laugh my butt off hahahahahahahahahahahaha:) Arnulfo is a bad ass name……………

  • 24. Arnulfo Sanchez  |  July 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    hey im arnulfo and that guy that said the mispronouncing thing well its true and it suck but my grandfathers name was arnulfo and he was a highly respected man in his hometown so i would take in fact that my name is awesome. still pretty funny story lol 2 thumbs up lmao

  • 25. Arnulfo Penaloza  |  September 28, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I thank my parents for giving me such a unique and blessed name. My name truly defines me “Eagle-Wolf”! From the Native American Fetishes tradition…”Eagle” is the Protective & Hunting animal of the Sky. Eagle brings the gift of extraordinary vision, being able to see the “big picture” from his vantage point in the skies while also having the ability to focus on the tiniest of details in locating his prey. Eagle brings connection to the Divine. — “Wolf” is the Protective & Hunting animal of the East. She is a “teacher and a pathfinder” who teaches us loyalty and individuality. After my 50th birthday, I realized that the meaning of my true-self has always been in my God-given name.

  • 26. arnulfo  |  November 1, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Wonder if the original author of this blog ever got back to Doc to enlighten her. My “iliterate, uneducated Grandpa from Mexico named his first born Arnulfo(my father). I also heard Grandpa speak English, Spanish, Italian and Polish. Needless to say I found her statements an insult. My father, Arnulfo, was one of the most intelligent people I ever met. I also researched the name and learned of the “Wolf/Eagle” meaning but thought it came from France. I will take German or Norwegian over french any day. I forgot to mention that my father named me after him. I did not know there were so many of us around. We should have a reunion because of the uniqueness of our name.

  • 27. g landois  |  December 24, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I had an Uncle Arnulfo. He lived in Muzquiz Coahuila Mexico and owned a cheese factory as well as cattle and land. That side of my family is directly from France. Any person who is familiar with Latin American as well as Spanish history would understand the cross cultural relationships between all of Europe and the colonization of Latin America. Doc seems to be quite ignorant of the Latin disaspora. Arnulfo is not as common today as it once was but is still in use and it is not a name of low economic status. I feel sorry for people like “Doc,” – plain foolish.

  • 28. New Comics and Post #200 « Josh Kramer Blog  |  January 4, 2011 at 12:51 am

    […] 4. Arnulfo Is a Real Name of Someone Who Speaks Spanish — Probably my favorite post on the blog. This is a funny story with the best business card ever as an artifact to it. I was probably too hard on Doc, who I haven’t even seen since high school and I remember as being and excellent teacher, but I love that the comments section is still active and fiery. Total: 1,199 views Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Splitting, a Dream ComicNew Comics Anthologies For Sale!Lady Killers: The Baby-Faced Beast!North! […]

  • 29. Julian Boira  |  January 4, 2011 at 1:49 am

    The “Doc” is using an example from her “experience”. However, my advice to this lady would be to explore the world a bit more and gain a lot more knowledge and experience. It seems as though she is not very well traveled and therefore bases her biased comment out of some psychological issue she may be trying to deal with. I would love to invite her to Spain to attend one of my dinner parties so that we may have a few laughs at her expense. It amazes me that a person of her age (let alone a “Professor”) would lack the intelligence to see the world in a logical manner.

    Her comment regarding her “16 years of experience” where she is somehow trying to explain herself (in a non-eloquent manner) leads me to suspect that she probably contradicts herself on other non-related subjects. It’s amusing how biased remarks followed by your years of experience can make it seem as though your IQ level is not very impressive.

    On behalf of Spain, I would advise this “Doc” to please restrain herself from making uneducated remarks on our behalf.

  • 30. Arnulfo. Nicolas  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I Love My Name.. Arnulfo.. It’s Awesome Cause It’s So Unique That I’ve Never Meet Anyone Else with my Name. So When My Friends Here Arnulfo.. The Only Person they Think About is Me.. So It’s Great..
    I love to Tease White People and Double My “R’s” and Give them a Hard time with my Name.. It’s Pretty Funny to see People try to Pronunce it for the First Time.. Ha Ha..

  • 31. amr  |  March 1, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Arnulfo is German. My great great grandma looked like a Caucasian woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was from Santa Barbara, Chihuahua, Mexico. She named one of her sons Arnulfo.

    • 32. Jr  |  September 11, 2011 at 5:33 am

      Wow I am surprise I though I was the only Arnulfo in the world thanks for everything I use to be emberaced of my name lol all throw skool no lie

  • 33. lyse  |  September 17, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Well I am looking for one Arnulfo Carrillo and I find a listing for TWENTY FIVE of them in California. Not TWENTY FIVE Arnulfo’s but 25 Arnulfo CARRILLOS. I no longer think this is an unusual name. Much to my disappointment. 😦

  • 34. Thorsteinn Helgi  |  November 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I was just watching a Mexican film where the name Arnulfo was used by one of the persons and I just had to Google it as it so obviously is the same name as the names Arnolfur or Örnólfur in Icelandic. As Spain was once ruled by the Vizi-Goths the use of the name by Spanish speaking people must have its origin from that period. It’s a rather noble or prestigious name, meaning Eagle (Arn) and wolf (ulfo). In modern Icelandic the words are Örn or Arn and ulf(ur). Notice that there is no w like in wolf so this is closer to Icelandic or Skandinavian languages (Danish, Swedish, Norvegian: ulv) than to German (Wolf) or English (wolf).
    In this context it may be added that the Visi-Goths came to Spain in the after being pushed from the northern shores of the Black-Sea in by the Huns (375). At the Black-sea they lived next to the Heruls that were related to the Visi-Goths and moved with them (spoke related language). Part of the Heruls moved north to Denmark around 450 at a similar time as the iron-age was introduced to Skandinavia. There is a theory that the remains of the Heruls ended up in Iceland after 870.

  • 35. Tomas  |  February 20, 2012 at 2:03 am

    What do most people use as nicknames?

    • 36. Arnold Trevino  |  February 16, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Arnold, Arnie, Arn, Nulfo

  • 37. Arnulfa Rodriguez Gutierrez  |  May 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    This indeed was good to read. Arnulfa Rodriguez Gutierrez

  • 38. Andreas  |  July 8, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    It’s fascinating that there are now way more Arnulfos in the world than the original Arnulfs. There are today only about 1000 men named Arnulf or Ørnulf in viking Norway, but tens of thousands of Arnulfos in Latin America and the USA. (And in even more viking Iceland, there are only 40 men called Örnólfur.)

  • 39. Arnulfo Martinez  |  September 29, 2015 at 3:04 am

    Great read! I’ve always been proud of my name, and when I introduce myself, I always do with confidence. Cool name but now my friends just call me Arnie.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Shit Just Got Real

Josh Kramer is a blogger, cartoonist, journalist, etc. I'm the Editor of The Cartoon Picayune. I live in Washington, DC and I just graduated from the Center for Cartoon Studies. See work by me and my classmates.

Latest Tweets

Older Posts

%d bloggers like this: