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Genres & Age Categories => Historical Fiction => Topic started by: Lenzi on March 03, 2009, 11:10 AM

Title: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 03, 2009, 11:10 AM
I'm having a hard time choosing Icelandic names for my characters and wonder what others' reactions are to these. I'm also wondering how readers will assume the names are pronounced. Thanks for your help!
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Melody on March 03, 2009, 11:18 AM
I like the name Kol - Is it pronounced: coal or Cole? It just sounds masculine to me.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: elissacruz on March 03, 2009, 11:27 AM
I picked Eirik, which I assume is pronounced just like Eric.  It seems very Icelandic but still familiar to the masses.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: anlyledo on March 03, 2009, 11:30 AM
I picked Vali - which I pronounced in my head like "Volley"  not "Valley"...
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: sl_verant on March 03, 2009, 11:34 AM
Ingvar...
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: jules on March 03, 2009, 11:49 AM
I had an Icelandic professor once and his first name was Leif (Lief?).
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: andracill on March 03, 2009, 12:04 PM
I think I'd hear it as Ear-ick.  I like it.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Natalie on March 03, 2009, 12:31 PM
I voted for Kol, but like Eirik, too.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Raynbow on March 03, 2009, 12:57 PM
I voted for Eirik, but I actually only like it if it doesn't sound like Eric. I imagine it sounding like Ear-ic, With a hard E.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: olmue on March 03, 2009, 01:30 PM
Well, my pronunciation is totally German-skewed, but I'd say EYE-rik.

I also like Bjorn, though.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: rab on March 03, 2009, 03:32 PM
I like all of these except for Ani, which I think would sound feminine to a modern teen audience. At least an American audience.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 03, 2009, 03:49 PM
Well, my pronunciation is totally German-skewed, but I'd say EYE-rik.

I also like Bjorn, though.

I like Bjorn too, but wondered if people would be confused about how to pronounce it.

I like all of these except for Ani, which I think would sound feminine to a modern teen audience. At least an American audience.

I wondered if Ani (Anakin Skywalker) from the Star Wars movie would help make it sound more familiar for a boy, but I agree it does sound feminine.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Tori on March 03, 2009, 06:04 PM
Mmmmm, Ani does sound a bit feminine.  I'm partial to Bjorn, and I don't think it would be a problem to pronounce -- even if readers pronounced the "j" as "j" and not "y" it sounds strong -- if that's what you want...
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: elissacruz on March 03, 2009, 06:50 PM
Quote
I like Bjorn too, but wondered if people would be confused about how to pronounce it.

LOL.  Not that American teens can relate, but anyone who's purchased a Baby Bjorn will have NO trouble with the name! 
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 03, 2009, 08:25 PM
anyone who's purchased a Baby Bjorn will have NO trouble with the name! 

Ha--had to look that one up.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: KC Held on March 03, 2009, 08:36 PM
I voted for Kol and it sounds like "coal" in my head.  For what it's worth, the two Icelanders I've known were named Gudjon and Magnus.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: redheadedali on March 03, 2009, 11:00 PM
I like the name Kol - Is it pronounced: coal or Cole? It just sounds masculine to me.

Um, yeah, what she said.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Marcia on March 04, 2009, 04:11 AM
I voted for Bjorn, too. I think I like it because it has a familar yet foreign look, if that makes sense. From what I found online, the 'j' is pronounced like the 'y' in yellow.
Have fun--Iceland is fascinating!
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Meg Wiviott on March 04, 2009, 05:55 AM
Kol 100%
Easy to pronounce and different.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: JetGirl on March 04, 2009, 10:27 AM
I voted for Kol (coal) too.

Eirik (Eric) is my second choice.

I don't like Ani--the Star Wars reference may make it easier for teens to know it's a guy's name, but I wouldn't want the character profile I created to be possibly muddied by having the image of Hayden/Anakin in their head.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 04, 2009, 10:36 AM
I voted for Kol (coal) too.

Eirik (Eric) is my second choice.

I wouldn't want the character profile I created to be possibly muddied by having the image of Hayden/Anakin in their head.

True. It wasn't my favorite, but I wanted to see others' reactions to the possibilities. I think Ani's out.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Artemesia on March 04, 2009, 10:40 AM
There is a well known Icelandic singer named Bjork, I think if readers are familiar with her, they could probably guess how to pronounce Bjorn. As soon as I saw the title of your post the name Bjorn popped into my head, I think it must be a popular name in Iceland? Maybe too popular?

I really like the name Kol, though.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: ecm on March 04, 2009, 12:27 PM
Christy,

You know your post definitely piqued my interest! ;-) I'm most attracted to the names Vali and Elrik. The "v" of Vali makes me think of volcanoes and valiant--suitable for a strong and courageous character. And Elrik is unmistakably Nordic. It's also unique to most people's ears which is a plus, IMO.

So, that's my 2 cents... Thanks for sharing the process!

Cheers,
Edna
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: nandini on March 04, 2009, 12:45 PM
I like Eirik and Kol.

I hear them as I-ric and Coal. Is that completely off?
Iceland is a fascinating setting! Is it contemporary or historical?
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 04, 2009, 01:33 PM
It's set in the early 11th century--during Iceland's conversion to Christianity.

I've decided to name the guy mc Kol and the girl Anja. I realy like those, and you guys helped assure me that they are pleasing names. THANKS for your help!

I'm definitely going to use some of the other names for secondary characters as well.

 :irishbeer
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: ecb on March 04, 2009, 03:07 PM
I like Kol, too.

Although I had to scratch my head at this:
Quote
is it pronounced: coal or Cole?
Because to my ear, those two words sound exactly the same.

I recommend you *avoid* Kjartan and Egill (although I like Egill).  NOBODY in my Icelandic classes could *ever* get those right.  I was always partial to Hedin, Njall, and Einar.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 04, 2009, 03:47 PM
I like the name of the missionary, Thangbrand, who I get to have in my story. I picture Thangbrand's wife saying, "Come here, you sexy Thang."

Njal may be in my story, too.

As I re-read the sagas, I love coming across some really odd ones. (Like Odd.) "Sigtrygg Travel-quick," "Grim Ketilsson Hairy-cheeks," "Erp," "Bork," and "Eyvind the Plagiarist" to name just a few.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: ecb on March 04, 2009, 05:01 PM
Eyvind the Plagiarist! :dr  I just love how old Icelandic names expressed their cultural values.

Have you stumbled across the guy who had three sons, all name Thorvald or Thorfinn or something?  That one used to crack my professor up.  (The car I drove in college was named Skarp-Hedin.)
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: sarah_create on March 04, 2009, 08:10 PM
It's set in the early 11th century--during Iceland's conversion to Christianity.

You must visit the National Museum in Reykjavik. There is an interactive exhibit about names.
It was fascinating to see how the popular names changed over the centuries. It is extremely amazing how many names are popular now that were popular in 1050!
I should have taken better notes. I'm not even sure where that notebook is . . .

Are all the names you are considering used in that time period?
(I'm not sure about a few of them.)
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 04, 2009, 10:50 PM
Doh!

Sarah, could you do me a huge favor and move back to Iceland for a few months and be my assistant? They have real chocolate there. And bread. Pleeeeease?  :cookiemonster

I got all the names out of my book of sagas' index except for Anja, which I found when I was writing the short story--remember you helped me with the correct pronounciation? (I found that one appeared on several Scandinavian name websites.) Of course, the sagas span quite a bit of time, so it's very possible the names weren't popular in the 11th century. I may decide that doesn't matter to me. I may need to mention it in the author's note, not sure yet....

(Miss ya!)
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: sarah_create on March 07, 2009, 05:23 AM
Anja was the name that threw me off.
The sagas are a good resource of names. It doesn't matter if the name was common at the time. Most of the names are used today.
The translations are a little funny though. You might want to check. My kids went to school with kids whose names would translate to English words such as raven, sunny road, whale, god's writing, ugly (I'm serious about this one) and more. Many of the names are taken from nature of from the norse gods.

If you want me to look up the names, I do have a very good extensive dictionary. I also have an Old Norse dictionary. Of course you might be able to get the translations online.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: jules on March 07, 2009, 05:29 PM
Oh, sorry, I read your post too quickly the other day, thought you were looking for suggestions. Of the ones you listed, I like Bjorn.
Title: Re: Icelandic names for a YA male main character
Post by: Lenzi on March 08, 2009, 10:54 AM
Anja was the name that threw me off.

I am thinking it may have come to Scandinavia from Russia later.... But I LOVE Anja and have been thinking of my character as Anja for the last few days.... I wonder if it is anathema for me to use an anachronistic name....

Oh, sorry, I read your post too quickly the other day, thought you were looking for suggestions. Of the ones you listed, I like Bjorn.

That's fine--I was open to other names as well--thanks! I liked Bjorn, too. In fact, that's the name I used for the brother in my Cricket story. But I think I've fallen for Kol for my novel.  ;)