I like [name]Gretchen[/name], but I’m glad to learn that it is a pet form of [name]Greta[/name]. I much prefer [name]Greta[/name], anyway.
I don’t tend to like “diminutives,” primarily names that end in -ette or -etta, which in some cases are to distinguish it only from the male form of a name, like [name]Henrietta[/name], but other times, is an elongation of a valid name, such as [name]Nanette[/name] or [name]Loretta[/name]. There is something to the fashion of them, however they really mean a smaller, younger, or immature version of a name, sort of how boys outgrow nicknames like [name]Joey[/name] and are [name]Joe[/name], these women’s names just don’t “grow up.” However, they can mean endearment as well, my Italian great-grandmother was [name]Antonia[/name] but was always called [name]Antonina[/name]. It’s just one extra letter, but it sounds so dear - in Russian languages, it is not the diminutive, it is feminized Antonin.
A lot of names in the US were not born here, so the etymology doesn’t necessarily come across - a good portion of Americans don’t see anything wrong with -son, [name]Allison[/name], [name]Madison[/name], etc., and I argue that in our patronymic system of names, if a woman can have -sen or -son (rather than -dottir, like in some Scandinavian systems) or Mc- for a last name, it’s somewhat more validated for a first name (nobody really buys that, but it’s true). Anyway, that’s obvious and people still ignore it at will.
We do -ette things as well, like luncheonette, kitchenette. We know this means it’s smaller than the full size. I think for reasons that [name]Claudette[/name] or [name]Lisette[/name] could be a name of a grown woman, [name]Gretchen[/name] is also a similar value. Nobody really puts that much energy into it when they like the way it sounds. It doesn’t exactly mean the same thing in the US that it does in Germany - names move and their reception is altered, and the meaning is obscured, ignored, unknown, etc. That’s just how we do it.
Anyway, I like to learn these things and appreciate knowing them, and I enjoyed learning the truth about the use of the name [name]Gretchen[/name]. It is useful information.