The Words Son Or Dottir Create Some Weird Icelandic Names

I think in most countries - modern, third-world or otherwise, there's no big secret in receiving a name. In many countries, the son or daughter would use the name or the father or mother as a name. But only Iceland has staunchly continued its age-old tradition of using the Scandinavian pattern of naming children. The process is responsible for some weird Icelandic names.

Get ready for an exercise in Icelandic phonetics and confusion. Not necessarily in that order.  This is going to be a bit confusing, but try to follow me here. Brace yourself for some weird icelandic names along the way. Let's say I'm married and have a son or daughter. I will - by law and tradition - add the word "son" or "dottir" (daughter) to my first name.

So if my name is Thor, my son's last name will be Jon Thorsson (Thor's Son...get it?) and my daughter Anna will be Anna Jonsdottir  (dottir..."daughter"). Talk about weird icelandic names! Are you still following me? I told you this would be confusing! I haven't quite figured out where the name "Jon" comes from. Those crazy Icelandics. Five million names floating around and every male has the name Jon stuck in their family tree somewhere.

Yes, this is confusing! In Iceland, referring to a family by their "surnames" is a lesson futility because everyone seems to go by their first name! Apparently women will not take the husband's surname when they marry as it will only screw up the lineage of the family.

Continuing on about weird Icelandic names, believe it or not, the most popular male name in Iceland and Scandinavia was "Thor". However, since the inception of Christianity several centuries ago, the top name on the list is now "Jon". I imagine being in a crowded bar and hearing someone yell "Hey Jon!" is pretty funny. Especially if 25 individuals turn around in unison and respond, "What is it?" Meanwhile, the most popular female name - at least since about 1100 AD - has been Guðrún. Yet another great name that ranks right up there with a few from the Ukraine and Russia that I cannot for the life of me imagine screaming these weird Icelandic names at the top of my lungs while I'm having sex.

But I digress. You can insert virtually any name to create some weird icelandic names. Let's give it a try. Let's say your name is Andrew Johnson. And you have a son named Tom. So your son's name will Tom Andrewson! And your daughter Jasmin will be Jasmin Andrewsdottir! AAaak! Weird icelandic names to be sure! What are these people thinking! And there are laws in Iceland that make this kind of thing mandatory! The only saving grace is that you won't find people named Andrew or Jasmin in Iceland. In terms of weird icelandic names, apparently names like Andrew or Jasmin aren't weird enough!

Well, if the names of sons and daughters weren't weird enough for you, wait until we talk about some Icelandic baby names. What's strange is that according to Scandinavian tradition, Icelandics shouldn't have any unique Icelandic baby names. Based on the fact that most families name their kids after their parents or grand parents. However, that apparently is changing. Last names incorporate the father's first name, so there is some flexibility for a baby's first name.

I have found that many baby names are also names of objects or names from some obscure mythical past. For example "Reifer", Dögun, and Árdís. But the more popular baby names are again, just variations of their parents: Gunnar, Sigrún, Bjarni and Sigríður being some of the most popular.

Well, to each is own! I'm sure more common names like Edward and Mary Jane seem just as strange to them!

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