In the contemporary JEM we will discover an interesting phenomenon. Jewish artist naming characters intended as Jews by names deriving from Karl and Frank or Franklin. The meanings of the names naturally contain the answer to this phenomenon.
In the Scandinavian languages, Karl shares a root with the noun churl. There it meant “freeman.” In the Old English, it would mean more simply “man” though more specifically “husband.” Eventually it would mean “non-servile peasant.” The churl was understood as the lowest rank of freeman ostensibly epitomizing the opposite of nobility or royalty.
In the English language, the word churl itself would, by the 19th century, come to mean a loutish, rude or surly person and the word carries that sense today. One perhaps relevant myth appearing in the Poetic Edda, describes Odin, disguised as a figure named Rig, fathering the three classes of men, Earl, Karl and Thrall.
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