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Icelandic names for a YA male main character

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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!
#1 - March 03, 2009, 11:10 AM

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I like the name Kol - Is it pronounced: coal or Cole? It just sounds masculine to me.
#2 - March 03, 2009, 11:18 AM
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I picked Eirik, which I assume is pronounced just like Eric.  It seems very Icelandic but still familiar to the masses.  Good luck!
#3 - March 03, 2009, 11:27 AM

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I picked Vali - which I pronounced in my head like "Volley"  not "Valley"...
#4 - March 03, 2009, 11:30 AM

Ingvar...
#5 - March 03, 2009, 11:34 AM
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I had an Icelandic professor once and his first name was Leif (Lief?).
#6 - March 03, 2009, 11:49 AM

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I think I'd hear it as Ear-ick.  I like it.
#7 - March 03, 2009, 12:04 PM
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I voted for Kol, but like Eirik, too.
#8 - March 03, 2009, 12:31 PM
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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.
#9 - March 03, 2009, 12:57 PM

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Well, my pronunciation is totally German-skewed, but I'd say EYE-rik.

I also like Bjorn, though.
#10 - March 03, 2009, 01:30 PM

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I like all of these except for Ani, which I think would sound feminine to a modern teen audience. At least an American audience.
#11 - March 03, 2009, 03:32 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.
#12 - March 03, 2009, 03:49 PM

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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...
#13 - March 03, 2009, 06:04 PM
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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! 
#14 - March 03, 2009, 06:50 PM

anyone who's purchased a Baby Bjorn will have NO trouble with the name! 

Ha--had to look that one up.
#15 - March 03, 2009, 08:25 PM

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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.
#16 - March 03, 2009, 08:36 PM

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I like the name Kol - Is it pronounced: coal or Cole? It just sounds masculine to me.

Um, yeah, what she said.
#17 - March 03, 2009, 11:00 PM

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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!
#18 - March 04, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Kol 100%
Easy to pronounce and different.
#19 - March 04, 2009, 05:55 AM

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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.
#20 - March 04, 2009, 10:27 AM
Reading: ...

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.
#21 - March 04, 2009, 10:36 AM

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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.
#22 - March 04, 2009, 10:40 AM
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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
#23 - March 04, 2009, 12:27 PM
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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?
#24 - March 04, 2009, 12:45 PM
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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
#25 - March 04, 2009, 01:33 PM

ecb

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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.
#26 - March 04, 2009, 03:07 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.
#27 - March 04, 2009, 03:47 PM

ecb

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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.)
#28 - March 04, 2009, 05:01 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.)
#29 - March 04, 2009, 08:10 PM
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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!)
#30 - March 04, 2009, 10:50 PM

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