My longlist

I sort of already have a shortlist but I thought I would expand it out to the longlist form again to make sure I am not dismissing anything unfairly. My partner really doesn’t like to get too seriously involved with names at this stage. He is very worried about accidentally picking the ‘wrong’ name, claims we still have a year to pick a name (which in accordance with the law is technically almost true, but I am seriously not waiting that long), believes we were very lucky to have not picked the wrong name for our daughter considering we waited just 3 weeks after the birth… His philosophy is basically that the kid has a name and you have to discover what it is, rather than how I and I think most people see it where the parents pick a name and the child grows into it which objectively is what happens in most cases (he was initially convinced that one of his nephews had the wrong name until, lo and behold, he changed his mind because the boy became strongly associated with the name in his mind)… You see what I’m up against here :confused:

So this all could well be obliterated at a later date, but I like to have fun with names (obviously) and be prepared as best I can. We are an Icelandic-English family living in Iceland so need a name that works reasonably well for both languages and cultures.

[name_m]Alexander[/name_m] (cons: sort of already used in the family - same generation but not an actual blood relation, cousin of our children’s cousins, we see them at family events a few times a year, extremely popular name)

[name_u]Ari[/name_u] (cons: a bit short, might be unfamiliar to UK family, they might pronounce it slightly wrong (I’m thinking they might say it like [name_m]Harry[/name_m] without the H))

[name_m]Benedikt[/name_m] (cons: partner has a friend named this, not one of his closest friends but I suspect it may rule it out for him, I might feel a bit awkward about the feeling of naming ‘after’ this friend, even though that logically doesn’t make much sense)

[name_f]El[/name_f]ías (cons: people might stress it wrong, putting emphasis on the second syllable where it should be on the first, partner has an even more distant friend named this (I seriously don’t think this one should concern him but you never know), a bit similar to our daughter’s middle name)

[name_m]Emil[/name_m] (cons: maybe a bit short?)

[name_m]Felix[/name_m] (cons: slightly different pronunciation in the two languages, FELL-ix vs. [name_m]FEEL[/name_m]-ix, F names on both children might sound a bit like characters from a children’s book)

Ingimar (cons: quite unfamiliar to English people, not sure they’d be confident pronouncing it, not very international)

”var (cons: slightly different pronunciation, EE-var vs. EYE-vuh)

Jóhann (cons: commonly used short version Jói isn’t my favourite, it’s OK but I’m not crazy about it)

[name_m]Le[/name_m]ó (cons: slightly different pronunciation, LEH-oh vs. [name_u]LEE[/name_u]-oh, some friends of ours used this name for a stillborn son some years ago so maybe it would be disrespectful)

Matthías (cons: English people would likely pronounce it a bit wrong, put the stress on the middle syllable instead of the first or use the ma-THIGH-us pronunciation which I hate)

Óskar (cons: slightly different pronunciation, OH-skar vs. OSK-ar, first syllable difference between coat and cot)

Róbert (cons: slightly different pronunciation, [name_f]ROE[/name_f]-bairt vs. [name_m]ROB[/name_m]-uht)

Pros for all of them are that I like the names, obviously, and believe there’s at least a good chance of them working well in practical terms! Some of them don’t go great with the most preferred middle name, [name_m]Karl[/name_m], but we wouldn’t necessarily have to use that. It’s just very likely that we would.

Any thoughts very welcome! Sympathy and advice regarding my partner’s naming philosophy also welcome :wink: Haha, I have basically accepted it and do my best not to pressure him but it can still annoy me sometimes.

My favourite name on your list is [name_m]Emil[/name_m], but I’ll go through them all.

[name_m]Alexander[/name_m] - Its a good, strong name with plenty of history, and I don’t think sharing his name with a cousin of a cousin is anything like important enough to stop you from using it. I would say however, that its horrendously common here in the UK (maybe not so in Iceland), and seems very plain next to Freyja.

[name_u]Ari[/name_u] - If it weren’t for the pronunciation issue, this would be my top choice. I would pronounce it like [name_m]Harry[/name_m] without the H, and I’m not at all sure of else to pronounce it? [name_m]Even[/name_m] still, I think it would be easy enough to correct people, and they’d get used to it.

[name_m]Benedikt[/name_m] - I simply dislike this name. I think its too closely associated with [name_m]Benedict[/name_m] Cumberbatch, though obviously the spelling is different.

[name_u]Elias[/name_u] - Again, the pronunciation this would bother me, and it is very close to [name_f]Elisabet[/name_f].

[name_m]Emil[/name_m] - [name_u]Love[/name_u] this, can see no issues. It doesn’t feel at all short next to Freyja.

[name_m]Felix[/name_m] - I love this name in general, but it depends how much the difference in pronunciation would bother you. It would be worth thinking about how you would pronounce it and how your partner would pronounce it.

Ingimar - Again, I love it. No idea if I’m pronouncing it right (Ing-gee-mar?), but I think its great.

[name_m]Ivar[/name_m] - Pretty much the same as [name_m]Felix[/name_m]. [name_u]Love[/name_u] the name, mismatch in pronunciation could be an issue.

[name_m]Johann[/name_m] - Not my favourite, but it works. I think most British people would guess the right pronunciation. I think its a good match for Freyja in that its familiar and yet distinctly Nordic.

[name_m]Leo[/name_m] - [name_m]How[/name_m] close are the friends? I think it would be worth speaking to them about how they’d feel about it first.

[name_m]Matthias[/name_m] - I would pronounce this [name_m]MATT[/name_m]-ee-as, is that the pronunciation you are looking for? I really like this name, and think you would get 50/50 with right and wrong pronunciation with Brits.

[name_m]Oskar[/name_m] - [name_f]Lovely[/name_f] name, but [name_m]Oscar[/name_m] is very common in the UK. I would also expect it to always be misspelled as [name_m]Oscar[/name_m] in the UK, but I guess you already get that with Freyja/[name_f]Freya[/name_f]? [name_m]How[/name_m] much does that bother you?

[name_m]Robert[/name_m] - Feels really British next to Freyja? Also, very very common in the UK.

From the U.S so not sure how much weight my opinion holds. :smiley:

I like [name_u]Ari[/name_u], [name_m]Emil[/name_m], an Jóhann best with [name_f]Freya[/name_f], and Jóhann best with [name_m]Karl[/name_m]. Though I’m not exactly sure how the pronunciation works.

[name_m]Alexander[/name_m] - It’s a fine name, it just seems so plain next to his sister.

[name_u]Ari[/name_u] - I love [name_u]Ari[/name_u], and [name_u]Ari[/name_u] and Freyja is such a beautiful sibset. However [name_u]Ari[/name_u] [name_m]Karl[/name_m] is not ideal and neither is the arry pronunciation.

[name_m]Benedikt[/name_m] - I like it, but the friend connection would be a little strange. (Also PP mentioned the actor, not sure how much of a factor that would be for you. I am even a movie watcher or someone who “knows” actors, but even I at least recognize the name.)

[name_f]El[/name_f]ías - [name_m]How[/name_m] is this pronounced? E-lee-as, el-lie-as? (Sorry if I’m completely butchering it.) I don’t think it really matters that is close to [name_f]Elisabet[/name_f], unless you call your daughter by both names frequently, even then it’s not the end of the world.

[name_m]Emil[/name_m] - I don’t think it’s too short, but [name_m]Emil[/name_m] [name_m]Karl[/name_m] doesn’t really work.

[name_m]Felix[/name_m] - I guess it would depend on whether the pronunciation differences between family members would work. I personally don’t like names beginning with the same letter.

Ingimar - Not really a fan, it’s not horrible, I just greatly prefer some of your other choices. I’m pronouncing it ing-guh-mar.

”var - This is very awkward for me to say, but that doesn’t effect you at all. I guess it just depends on whether the pronunciation difference bothers you. I keep saying the name and ”var and Freyja do actually sound cute together. Not my first choice though.

Jóhann - Without the accent I would instinctively pronounce this yo-HAHN, is this [name_f]YO[/name_f]-hahn???

[name_m]Le[/name_m]ó - I wouldn’t use the name.

Matthías - So math-THEE-us? If that’s the pronunciation I like it, but not with big sister’s name. Works with [name_m]Karl[/name_m] so that’s a plus.

Óskar - Again this would depend on how much this would bother you. I’m guessing OH-skar is the Icelandic pronunciation? I just think ‘Oh, Scar’, so it’s not my favorite, I do love how the name looks though. [name_m]Oskar[/name_m] [name_m]Karl[/name_m] is also not ideal.

Róbert - The pronunciation thing again. Initially I was going to say no, because the english rob-bert is just so blah to me, but I’m really starting to fall in love with the (Icelandic?) [name_f]ROE[/name_f]-bairt pronunciation. It also works with [name_m]Karl[/name_m]. So I adding this one to my favorites.

I am also in the US (though I lived in Europe previously) and found myself naturally pronouncing the names as you prefer them. I think [name_f]Freya[/name_f] and [name_m]Leo[/name_m] would be the most darling combo, but don’t think it’s the best with [name_m]Karl[/name_m] as a middle & with the stillbirth connection (depending on how close you are to them) it is probably best to use caution.

I’m not sure if Iceland specifically has the rule that you can only choose from certain names/your name has to receive approval, but if you want something that is friendly to the English native’s family, I would definitely shy away from names that are typically pronounced in a different way to what their usual spelling is in English unless an accent mark easily indicates it’s difference. For instance, with “[name_m]Leo[/name_m]” if you want to avoid the [name_u]LEE[/name_u] sound, you would need the accent over the e to change the stress of it. Is this acceptable with Iceland’s naming practices?

From your list, I think [name_m]Matthias[/name_m] would sound best with [name_m]Karl[/name_m] and still goes quite well with [name_f]Freya[/name_f]. [name_m]How[/name_m] do you feel about the name [name_f]Aleksi[/name_f] (or an approved Icelandic name that is similar) as a compromise to the popular/“used” [name_m]Alexander[/name_m]?

I like:


Thank you so much! I loved reading all your thoughts, lots of good things to consider there.

Popularity - Freyja is actually very popular in both countries (albeit spelt [name_f]Freya[/name_f] in the UK) and it doesn’t really bother me. Once upon a time I thought it might, but actually we haven’t met another Freyja yet. I know of lots but there aren’t any in our family (apart from one cousin with Freyja as a middle name) or immediate circle or among her peers at playschool. The staff did tell me there is another English-Icelandic girl in the school a year older also called Freyja so I guess that goes to show how obvious a pick it is for us English-Icelandic families! I have definitely enjoyed the benefits of a popular name, though - everyone recognises it, everyone can pronounce it, most people like it. So in short, I’d pick another popular name without worry.

Spellings - I already see my daughter’s name mispelled a certain amount by English people (usually [name_f]Freya[/name_f] but sometimes [name_f]Freja[/name_f] - wasn’t expecting that one!) and I don’t really care. I hope she won’t care either as she gets old enough to notice, but we can be sure that everyone in Iceland will always spell it right so as long as she doesn’t emigrate it ought to be fine! I feel the same about seeing c used instead of k or other minor mispellings like skipped accents or [name_m]Johan[/name_m] or [name_m]Mattias[/name_m]. Not a huge deal as long as the people that matter in the child’s life make the effort.

Pronunciation - Yeah, I think alternate pronunciations might be a deal breaker. Logically I do know that bilingual children do not at all mind having a ‘bilingual name’ and hearing different two legitimate pronunciations in different language contexts. I have seen this for myself and I know it works from the child’s point of view. But as some of you said, it might bother me. I was raised a monolingual and it does seem wrong on some level to me for a name to not have one set ‘correct’ pronunciation and I really enjoy that Freyja is identical and natural in both languages. P.S. @islandmoon, [name_u]Ari[/name_u] starts like the word ‘are’, not a short a like in [name_m]Harry[/name_m]. You got Matthías exactly right which is super encouraging for me since you’re British and it’s probably our front-runner (partner actually said he liked it!!!). @jalila13 - [name_f]El[/name_f]ías is [name_f]EL[/name_f]-ee-as. [name_m]General[/name_m]: stress always falls on the first syllable for Icelandic, which can be counter-intuitive for English speakers on some words, although English usually stresses the first syllable also. Sometimes seems like it is impossible to train an English speaker to say [name_f]EL[/name_f]-ee-sah-bet rather than el-EE-sah-bet, for example. Simple stress mistakes don’t really annoy me though if the basic pronunciation is right.

[name_m]Karl[/name_m] - I basically agree with what everyone said about certain names not going with [name_m]Karl[/name_m], e.g. Óskar on phonetic grounds and [name_m]Le[/name_m]ó on the grounds that it very transparently means [name_m]Lion[/name_m] [name_m]Man[/name_m] which is stupid. But we could use another family name or even something completely unrelated. Our daughter doesn’t have a family name so maybe that would be fairer anyway. I would like to continue the tradition, but I wouldn’t sacrifice the best first name for it if it came to it.

[name_m]Le[/name_m]ó - Yeah I’m thinking it might be more trouble than it’s worth at the end of the day. I don’t particularly want to have a conversation about it but I really don’t want to upset them for no good reason either. It’s not like they’re our best friends but if I’m honest, I likely wouldn’t think of using it if the child had lived so that should probably be a clue to me that it’s not OK. It’s not a name I have my heart set on so probably better to drop it.

@daloud - It’s not really the law for me to pick a ‘legal’ name because I’m a foreigner and we are partially exempt. If one parent is Icelandic, you must have one legal Icelandic name, which is our situation. But you can also use non-Icelandic names so ‘[name_m]Steven[/name_m]’ is not approved but we could name him [name_m]Steven[/name_m] [name_m]Karl[/name_m] if we wanted to. I just wouldn’t, because I wouldn’t want to use a name that Icelanders couldn’t say and spell easily or that would cause hassle for him in any way. It’s bad enough having a foreign name myself. When it comes down to it, I prioritise Icelandic because that’s where we live and where our children will grow up. Messing around with accents would be inadvisable I think because it would mess up the pronunciation in Icelandic. Léo would be one thing according to [name_m]French[/name_m] rules, but in Icelandic é is yeh so it would just really mangle it to the point of being unpronounceable. Overall it’s probably best to stick to a name that doesn’t have a different pronunciation in English…

I like [name_u]Ari[/name_u] the best from your list.

If you’re open to suggestions:


I have a basic idea of how the names are pronounced, but I didn’t want to list more in case I was wrong. The vowels wit the accent above are pronounce with the long vowel sound; “ö” sounds like “oo” in "boo;’’ “ð” makes the soft “th” sound as in "thesis’’ and “Þ” makes a hard “th” sound as in "the.’’ “Ei” is a long “I” sound and "and “ie” is a long "E’’ sound. The only one I’ve no idea on is ‘‘æ.’’ Any regular vowels are pronounced with a short sound? “ah,” “eh,” “ih,” “o” not sure, “uh”?

I think you must have got some bad information. Here is a little vowel guide for future reference if you are interested :wink:

a - as in past
á - as in mouse
e - as in bet
é - as in yet
i/y - as in bit
í/ý - as in meat
o - as in hot
ó - as in boat
ö - similar to as in bird
u - as in put
ú - as boot
ei/ey - as in they
au - as in [name_m]French[/name_m] œil
æ - as in ice
ie - not found in Icelandic (although íe does exist)

You also have ð and þ the wrong way round!

Thanks for the suggestions - my parents’ dog is [name_m]Otto[/name_m] so that’s off, although I like it (I named the dog!). I [name_u]LOVE[/name_u] [name_m]Viktor[/name_m], would definitely be on my list if it wasn’t the name of a friend’s son. Rúnar is a bit dull to me, like a middle aged kind of name. Rúrik is OK, not a big fan of how ‘rrrr’ it sounds, if you know what I mean. [name_m]Alfred[/name_m] is too foreign for my preferences, standard would be [name_f]Alfre[/name_f]ð, which I like well enough but I don’t think it’s for me ultimately. [name_u]Val[/name_u]íant and [name_m]Atlas[/name_m] are a bit out there for me, I’m a tame classics kind of woman at heart.

It sounds like you’ve got a lot of freedom to make the name it’s own while still having it be familiar based on spelling and pronunciation. I think that’s a really neat place to be as far as limiting extreme possibilities while still having fun with it. Since you tend toward Icelandic names, I’m eager to hear what you end up picking :slight_smile:

I did have a friend, [name_m]Helgi[/name_m] þormar, who explained the “rules” of naming to me and I’ve found myself very intrigued ever since. Are you required to pass along the father’s name as the last name still? I’m sure I could just google this, but since you’re a foreigner I think the rules are much different than what I could easily find.

Since reading your post, I have found myself like [name_m]Emil[/name_m] more and more, especially since the name [name_f]Emily[/name_f] is so popular for girls. It sounds very strong without being forced, and would be easy for an English speaker to remember and pick up.

Like I said, can’t wait to hear what you end up with for Freyja’s little brother :slight_smile:

@daloud - We’re not required to. The law currently is that you cannot make up a new surname. Some Icelanders have surnames and are then free to pass them on. Most Icelanders don’t have a surname to pass on, though. We could use my surname, since I have one, or we could use a patronymic or a matronymic.
We just went with a patronymic for our daughter so we’ll do the same again. It’s my partner’s name in the genitive case plus dóttir for a girl or son for a boy. So if he was named [name_m]Gunnar[/name_m] (he isn’t but it’s a G name) then Freyja is Gunnarsdóttir and this boy will be Gunnarsson.