Traditional Scandinavian baby names provide link to the past
Some names are more than just a moniker; they're a connection to the past. Linka Wintersteen's name is like that. She remembers seeing a photo of her great-grandmother. "And she kind of has curly hair kind of like mine," says the 11-year-old from...
Some names are more than just a moniker; they're a connection to the past.
Linka Wintersteen's name is like that. She remembers seeing a photo of her great-grandmother.
"And she kind of has curly hair kind of like mine," says the 11-year-old from Moorhead.
That's not all she shares with Great-Grandmother Njus, whose father immigrated to the U.S. from Norway. She also got her great-grandmother's unique first name.
"A lot of people have complimented me on it," she says.
Annika Elise Sethre-Hofstad's name also reflects the Scandinavian roots of her family. And the 10-year-old from Moorhead is happy with the choice.
"I like having it because no one else has the same name as me," she says.
But Linka and Annika certainly don't have a monopoly on unique Nordic names. And thanks to the soon-to-be-released "Handbook of Scandinavian Names" by Nancy Coleman and Olav Veka, they're pretty easy to find and learn a little bit about.
Here are some selected names from the book to help the Scandinavians among us stay connected to their old world roots:
Bergljot (bær-glee-oat) - Somehow Norwegians get three syllables out of this. It's a compound of words meaning "protection" and "bright, shining."
Brynhild or Brynhilda (brewn-hild, bren-hill-da) - Norwegian. A compound of "coat of mail" and "battle."
Danica, Danika (daan-ee-ka) - Despite its roots, this one isn't common in Scandinavia, but is used some in North America. Racecar driver Danica Patrick and Danica McKellar, who played Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years," are examples of famous Danicas.
Embla (ehm-bla) - It's a Norwegian and Swedish name. Embla was the first woman to be created in Norse mythology.
Gitte (gid-deh) - Mainly Danish, it's a short form of Birgitte. It was popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
Gun or Gunn (guhnn, gewn) - From an Old Norse word meaning battle. Dainty? No. Powerful? Yes.
Jytte (yewd-deh) - Danish pet form of Judit. One of the most common girls' names in Denmark, especially in the 1930s and 1940s.
Saga (saa-ga) - A Swedish name traced back to a Norse goddess. It's been popular in recent decades.
Veslemøy (vehs-le-moey) - A Norwegian name that literally means "little girl."
Ask (æsk) - Comes from the Old Norse for "ash tree."
Bjarke (byaar-keh) - A Danish pet form of Bjare, It's known from old Danish legends.
Botolv (boo-tolv) - It is mostly a Norwegian name and comes from an Old Norse name that is a compound of "support, help" and "wolf."
Elo (ay-loo) - It's a Danish name that is likely a form of Elov, which is a compound of "always" or "lonely" and "heir."
Gunnvald (guhn-væl) - Comes from a compound of words meaning "battle" and ruler."
Jeppe (yehb-beh) - It's the Danish pet form of Jep, which comes from Jakob.
Odd (od) - Comes from an Old Norse word meaning "spear" or "point." It's sometimes spelled Aade.
Sakse, Saxe (saak-seh) - Comes from the Old Norse word sax, meaning large knife or sword.
Vagn (vown) - A Danish name that comes from the Old Norse word vagn meaning "wagon."
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