A Handbook of Scandinavian Names by Nancy L. ColemanA Handbook of Scandinavian Names by Nancy L. Coleman

A Handbook of Scandinavian Names

byNancy L. Coleman, Olav Veka

Paperback | December 9, 2010

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Are you looking for
•    A Scandinavian name for your baby?
•    The names of Norse gods and heroes?
•    The history and meaning of Scandinavian first names?
•    Variations and alternate spellings for common Scandinavian names?
•    Naming traditions and customs in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark?

A Handbook of Scandinavian Names includes a dictionary of more than fifteen hundred given names from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, plus some from Iceland and Finland. Each entry provides a guide to pronunciation and the origin and meaning of the name. Many entries also include variations and usage in the Scandinavian countries and famous bearers of the name.
    Adding engaging context to the dictionary section is an extensive comparative guide to naming practices. The authors discuss immigration to North America from Scandinavia and the ways given names and surnames were adapted in the New World. Also included in the book is a history of Scandinavian names, information on “Name Days,” and discussion of significant names from mythology and history, including naming traditions in royal families.

Winner, Reference Book of the Year, Midwest Book Awards

Finalist, USA Best Books Award for Parenting/Family Reference


Nancy L. Coleman taught English, German, and Norwegian at a high school in Hamar, Norway, and is editor and translator of the English-Norwegian/Norwegian-English dictionary Password. Olav Veka is president of the Norwegian Name Association (Norsk namnelag) and the author of many reference works and textbooks on Norwegian language, lite...
Title:A Handbook of Scandinavian NamesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:December 9, 2010Publisher:University of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299248348

ISBN - 13:9780299248345

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Table of Contents


Pronunciation Guide




Abbreviations and Symbols

Girls' Names

Boys' Names

A Guide to Scandinavian Naming

Scandinavian Immigration to the USA






        Summary of Immigration from the Scandinavian Countries

    The Impact at Home

    Scandinavian Ancestry in the US Today

        Map 1: Distribution of Americans with Danish Ancestry, 2000 US Census

        Map 2: Distribution of Americans with Norwegian Ancestry, 2000 US Census

        Map 3: Distribution of Americans with Swedish Ancestry, 2000 US Census

Naming Traditions in Scandinavia

        A Note on the Scandinavian Alphabets

    Given Names, Patronymics and Surnames

    Surnames in Iceland

        A Surname to use Abroad

        Icelandic Surnames in the USA

    Surnames in Denmark

        Danish Surnames in the USA

    Surnames in Norway

        Norwegian Surnames in the USA

        Examples of Americanized Forms

    Surnames in Sweden

        Swedish Surnames in the USA

    Summary of Surname Types

        How Common are Scandinavian Surnames in the US?

Namesakes in the Scandinavian Tradition

    Adapting Names in Scandinavian America

        Some Theories and Studies

            Some Strategies

        Scandinavian Names in the USA

            Scandinavian Girls' Names in US Naming Tradition

            Scandinavian Boys' Names in US Naming Tradition

Scandinavian Given Names in an Historical Perspective

    Names in the Viking Age (750-1050)

        Viking Age Women's Names (contemporary spellings)

        Viking Age Men's Names (contemporary spellings)

    The Influence of Christianity

    Borrowed Names

        1. German Names

        2. French and English Names

    The Scandinavian Names Renaissance

        Most frequently used Men's Names in the 1920s

        Most frequently used women's names in the 1920s

    Given Names Today

Name Laws




What's In a Name—Danish, Norwegian or Swedish?

Map of Typical Names in Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Top Names in Scandinavia Today

    Popular Boys' Names in Scandinavia

    Popular Girls' Names in Scandinavia

Names from Norse Mythology

    Girls' Names

    Boys' Names

Name Days

Naming Traditions in the Royal Families


        Advice on Using Danish Royal Names

        Danish Regents from Gorm the Old to Margrethe II

        Recommended Danish Royal Names (with adjusted spelling)


        Advice on Using Norwegian Royal Names

        Norwegian Regents from Harald Fairhair to Harald V

        Recommended Norwegian Royal Names (with adjusted spelling)


        Advice on Using Swedish Royal Names

        Swedish Regents from Erik Segersall to Carl XVI Gustaf (list somewhat simplified)

        Recommended Swedish Royal Names (with adjusted spelling)

A Scandinavian Name for Your Baby

    Recommended Girl's Names

        Table 1: Girls' Names Easily Pronounced in English

        Table 2: Girls' Names With an Acceptable English Pronunciation

    Recommended Boys' Names

        Table 3: Boys' Names Easily Pronounced in English

        Table 4: Boys' Names With Acceptable English Pronunciation




Editorial Reviews

“Invitingly readable! Setting these names in context, this dictionary also provides a concise, stimulating primer on Scandinavian mythology, history, and immigration, as well as highlighting subtle but highly significant differences among Scandinavian countries.”—Kathleen Stokker, author of Norsk, Nordmenn og Norge