Researcher bemoans dearth of new names

The Local Norway
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Researcher bemoans dearth of new names

Norwegian name researcher Gulbrand Alhaug has called on parents to use their imagination when it comes to naming their children in order to increase variety and to combat the advance of internationalisation.


They might lack “imagination”, according to Norwegian name researcher Gulbrand Alhaug, whose own name is typical of a traditional Norwegian name.

Names here traditionally don’t translate well into English. Names like Odd, Baard (pronounced “bored”) and Ole have for example being a cause for consternation for their owners when travelling in English-speaking countries.

Over the years, parents tried hyphening or “doubling" names for grandeur or to please the grandparents — Odd-Roger, Bord-Alexander, Ole-Mortin. Alhaug has argued that Norwegian parents just have to try harder.

“Unfortunately, no new names are being created in Norway today,” the Tromsø University professor told The Local adding, "the new names appearing are mostly brought in from abroad."

"If you go to page 400 or so, you'll find the formula for creating a new name," he said.

His new book, "10,001 Names: Norwegian First-Name Lexicon", is the most comprehensive name book to be printed in Norway, according to publisher Cappelen.

In his book, Alhaug recommends that people follow the northern Norwegian tradition of blending names to create new ones rather than using the hyphen. He points to Rudwin, which combines Rudolph and Edwin.

Alhaug said Annalius, which was a tribute to the name Anna (only in the Lofoten Archipelago), lost its appeal as contact increased with the English-speaking world.

Some Norwegian names are even unluckier, Alhaug said. He recalled the stories of two men travelling to the USA whose last names were Aas and Sørass.

They were late for their plane, so their names were called out in the airport.

“They were surely not happy when Mr. Ass and Mr. Soreass were called out."



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