A glimpse at Sweden’s most popular baby names

January 25, 2016 § Leave a comment


Even though I haven’t been writing, I’ve never turned off the Google alerts for this blog’s research. I love when it sends me overseas, to a world of names I’ve never thought much about from my corner of the planet. Sometimes one link turns into several links, until I can’t believe how many open tabs I’ve got reading about names. Today it sent me to Sweden, where Statistics Sweden has recently released their list of top baby names from children born last year, and, knowing little about Swedish names, of course I needed to know more.

Naturally, my instinct was to compare the list to English-language choices, and I found that even modern Swedes are opting for Anglicized variations of many Scandinavian names. The top three boys names are William (equivalent Ville is 71st), Lucas (2014’s number one), and Liam, fastest risers are Kian (which might actually be the result of Middle Eastern immigration, as Muhammad also makes the list) and Henry (not Henrik). The girls top ten features Ella, Lilly, and Olivia, which are just as popular in the English-speaking world. Elias, which Michael Buble and wife Luisana just picked for their second son, born January 22, is number seven on the boy’s list, and trendy Axel knocked traditional Alexander from the Top 10 (seeing them paired together, I really like the nickname potential of Axel to Alexander, and I’m not sure why it didn’t dawn on me before now!) Still, that’s not to say the list is dominated by non-Swedish names. On the contrary, while these names stood out as being commonplace here at home, many others stood out because they’re not.

Names like Sága, Ebba, Hedvig, Lo, My, and Tindra, or Algot, Folke, Sixten, Hjalmar, Melker, and Ture.

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About A Name: Romy

October 5, 2012 § 15 Comments

Romy Schneider

Aside from Rafael, there’s another R name I’ve been seeing a lot of lately – this one for the girls and much more notable in the English-speaking world. Romy has been bestowed on four celebrity babies so far in 2012, a spike in use after languishing in the wings for decades – always well-liked, but never exceptionally popular. Are Romy’s fortunes changing?

The name Romy is of Latin origin, a diminutive of Rosemary, which means “dew of the sea.” The lovely picture brings nature to mind, and retains a refined quality despite it’s nickname origins. Romy is also considered a cousin name to Roma, an Italian name which first found use in the late 19th Century, perhaps en vogue to the ancient city of Rome, named Roma by Evander in his daughter’s honour. Romy has been particularly popular in Germany in the second half of the 20th Century.

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Canada’s Olympic-Inspired Names

September 25, 2012 § 5 Comments

(c) August 4, 2012 – Jean Lavac / Postmedia Olympic Team: Rosannagh “Rosie” MacLennan smiles with her gold medal, won in women’s trampoline at London 2012.

I may have been in exile, but I have been reading the blogs when I could – I caught these posts over at Waltzing More Than Matilda this summer, and it inspired me to do one of my own. (I believe Anna created three posts, at least, to highlight Aussie success in London, and I won’t need that many, to be honest.)

Canada, of course, didn’t have the success that Australia or Britain did at the London 2012 Summer Games. That narrows the field of focus somewhat in creating a post of names to inspire Canadians as our athletes travel cross-country this week on the government’s official “Olympic Tour.” (And yes, for the record, though I live in a Commonwealth country, I did not fully learn the lyrics to “God Save the Queen” until these Games, considering how often it played for Britain’s gold.)

The first Canadian to inspire from this summer’s Olympic Games is Rosannagh MacLennan (often called Rosie, perhaps in part to mitigate the confusion over how to pronounce Rosannagh – is it row-ZAE-nah or row-ZAN-ah?) Toronto resident MacLennan was Canada’s only gold medalist in London. She claimed a record score in women’s trampoline to top the podium on August 4th, the one and only time that “O Canada” played from the winner’s podium this summer. An old-fashioned choice, it gains some modern cool points for the Celtic spelling, with the ‘silent G.’

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August Kopff’s 68 asteroids (Part Two)

February 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

I finally finished part two of August Kopff’s list of asteroids, each with it’s own unique, usually female, name. There were some interesting selections, loaded with various meanings, in Part One, and the next batch of names is no different. Though these lists look for the trends in the names of asteroids attributed to one German astronomer in particular and take a ton of energy, I’ve decided that it would leave me feeling like I left something unfinished if I didn’t finally complete the project (and I’ve still got two more parts to go).

Unique (or at the very least, mythological) names are no problem for Mr. Kopff. So on to part 2, a prolific period for Kopff, and plenty more gems:

613 Ginevra (October 11, 1906)
It’s not confirmed why Kopff chose Ginevra for his next discovery, with some speculating that he chose the name in honour of Guinevere, wife of King Arthur. Like his previous selection, Jenny, it’s Welsh (and Italian) for “fair and smooth.”

It’s a beautiful and exotic name, especially popular these days in Italy. Italian footballer Alberto Gilardino gave it to his daughter, born 2007. It’s also the name of Italian heiress and socialite Ginevra Elkann. It’s popularity could easily expand to English speaking countries, especially thanks to the Harry Potter series. Ron Weasley’s little sister Ginny, who eventually marries the boy wizard, is really Ginevra.

614 Pia (October 11, 1906)
This asteroid was probably named for the Pia Observatory in Trieste, northern Italy, the private observatory of the German astronomer and moon researcher Johan Nepomuk Krieger. His research was of great assistance to Kopff and his team in Germany.

This name has survived well past it’s association with singer/actress Pia Zadora, a star in the 1980s who won two Golden Globes. It’s a sweet and simple feminine name meaning “pious” in Latin, and the phonetic similarity to popular choices like Mia and Leah keeps it relevant.

(more after the jump)

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Harry has his year, too!

January 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

(c) Apr. 27, 2011 – Chris Jackson/Getty Images: Prince Harry’s name was top of the charts in Britain this year. Can he take all the credit for this name’s popularity?

News out of Britain to close out 2011 seems to be that Harry has had his day, just like William – perhaps not at all surprising considering the way in which the British royal family was at the forefront of many a headline this year. While William claimed a perhaps surprising top spot in Canada and raised it’s profile Down Under, Harry is the nom du jour in Britain. Reports suggest that, while Olivia retained top spot for girls in the UK, Harry has overtaken Oliver as the most popular boys’ name in Britain.

Prince Harry notwithstanding, there’s been a few celebrity baby Harrys born in Britain (and Australia!) over the past few years: two-year-old Harry James Baldwin, son of morning TV host Holly Willoughby, and Harry James MacDonald, born to Aussie Rules Footballer James MacDonald. There’s six-month-old Harry James O’Hara, son of Danielle Lloyd – whose other son, Archie, was given an equally trendy old-fashioned boy’s name, Harry James Vince, son of Olympic badminton star Gail Emms, nearly two, five-year-old Harry Alexander Jack Beck, son of Coronation Street‘s Jane Danson. Former Atomic Kitten pop star Natasha Hamilton’s son, seven-year-old Harry Hatcher-Hamilton, is yet another.

All of that is nice, but there’s one British Harry that has proven far more universally endearing over the past decade, to have inspired such a bump in the proud, enamoured home country of his creator – and the affection seems to be spreading beyond British shores. JK Rowling’s boy wizard, Harry Potter, is this name’s sincerest idol today, embodying the spirit of goodness, bravery, and heroism that are divine qualities to wish for in a son. You don’t need to be naming your child after the character itself, but we’ve certainly seen a jump in baby Hermiones since Potter Mania broke out, too – a recent post at Appellation Mountain cited parents being inspired to use it after seeing it in the books, and embodied by Emma Watson on screen.

Harry Potter could actually, probably, claim the lion’s share of the credit for the name’s popularity today.

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Welcome Back, William

January 2, 2012 § 6 Comments

This year, William eclipsed Kate by a long shot in the realm of baby names.

Though it’s not like you went very far.

Canada Vital Statistics released the top names for 2011 last week, with Olivia retaining top spot for the girls – and Maya, Mia, and Mya perhaps surprisingly splitting second place. Other popular choices like Emma, Sophia, and Chloe/Khloe remained in the Top 10, with little change on the boys’ side, as well. Selections like Jacob (#2) and Ethan (the top boys name in Ontario, our most populous province) sit in the top 10 for boys. The most progressive province or territory when it comes to names? Easily the youngest northern territory, Nunavut, where Aqpakuluk (obviously an Inuit name, I have no clue what it means) and Phoenix are both near the top of the girls’ list.

News outlets in Australia have been noting an upswing in baby Williams (but not Kates – the name may have grown all it was going to, and the Duchess is known by Catherine now, anyway), and the same trend proved true here in Canada when the list was released. Kate didn’t make the list, but Catherine/Katherine, Katie, and Cate each did. William jumped from eighth place on the CVS list in 2010 to grab the top spot on the heels of the royal wedding and the couple’s highly publicized tour of Canada in July, while nickname-name Liam was counted separately and sits at #4 nationwide. Considering a fair number of the boys named William will go by Liam throughout their life, the name is likely to be as prominent and commonplace among boys as John was for our parents’ generation, Mike and Dave are for our own, and Jack has been for the past decade of babies!

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My Favourite Names of 2011

December 22, 2011 § 5 Comments

Trends are always changing. Names you love might fall out of favour, you might have loved a name so long it’s actually lost it’s meaning – or the importance of that meaning has been overshadowed by something else. No matter what we’d like to think about our ability to name beyond trends, as our own lives change we, too, are changing. When I was younger I loved the name Jacob. I wasn’t sure why – I just saw the name everywhere, I liked how it sounded. But from affections like these grew my interest in names, and now Jacob just wouldn’t cut it. Why? It means nothing to me, and it’s been everywhere for a while.

We might also hear a name as we go through our lives that we’ve never heard before, for one reason or another, and we fall in love with it. Maybe it’s connected to something else we love, however fleeting, and we embrace it.

The trendy names this year that I was especially digging (and please don’t leave without sharing your own faves!):

Arlo. Easy. I’ve loved this name a while. It’s one of my names. This year, it entered into unisex territory as the son of Toni Collette, born in April, and daughter of Johnny Knoxville, born in October.

Willow. When Pink and Carey Hart named their daughter Willow Sage in June, this long-appreciated name stepped even further into the spotlight. I’ve always loved the nature qualities of this name, and have always been into names like River, but I’m only lately having a true appreciation of Willow. It’s such a pretty name. I may never use it, but I like it a lot!

(More after the jump.) « Read the rest of this entry »

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