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  1. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,598
    Iceland is one of my favorite nations on earth, but unfortunately I think your fears are all spot-on. Leif is nearly always pronounced 'leaf.' In school we even learnt as kids about LEAF Erikson. The runic characters are going to be nightmarish as you can expect.

    Ingimar might even strike people as a bit feminine, since the only point of reference will be Ingrid.

    I love Haraldur but do worry about that ending sound, durrrrr. As you know it's often made as a 'duh!' type sound to indicate stupidity.

    The name Bjorn is reasonably familiar to English speakers, as is the word fjord. I think the J names might be just fine. In fact I do like Bjartur Karl- I don't think it repeats too many sounds.

    The easiest intercultural names won't sound distinctively Icelandic, unfortunately. Jonas, Johannes, Kristjan, Oskar, etc won't have any pronunciation problems.

    I do like the distinctively Icelandic Arnor-- no pronunciation problems there, and a nice etymology.
    Blade, MD

    XY: Antoine Raphael
    XX: Cassia Viviane Noor

    Aurea * Emmanuelle * Endellion * Fleur * Jacinda * Lysandra * Melisande * Myrrine * Rosamond * Seraphine * Sylvana * Thea * Verity / Blaise * Cyprian * Evander * Jules * Laurence * Lionel * Malcolm * Marius * Quentin * Rainier

    كنوز الصحراء الشرقية Hayat _ Qamar _ Sahar _ Maysan _ Farah / Altair _ Fahd _ Faraj _ Khalil _ Tariq

  2. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Reykjavík
    Posts
    918
    Wow, Arnór is a really tricky one I think! I'm going to avoid the rn sound because it's totally alien to anglophones (there's a sort of d/t sound in between the r and the n), and I think people would say the last syllable like or, but it should be as in dough plus an r. It's a minefield! Also there's already a little Arnar in the family and it's too close. Icelandic Karl in itself is super tricky for the same reason, despite easy appearances (it's sort of like Kartl, it's similar to the sound in Eyjafjallajökull that in my experience nobody who didn't speak Icelandic could get). I try to steer well clear of rn and rl! Karl gets a pass because it will only be a middle name and it's a tradition, plus I don't really care if people say that in the English way.

    I'm not much for the J names in Icelandic (the ones that begin with J, I mean), I prefer the J sound to the Y and they don't have it. Apart from Jóhann but I know bf doesn't like that one. Kristján (which is also harder than it looks, á is ow) is out because of the obvious Christ reference. Óskar is totally on my list of international options that I don't mind people pronouncing differently (which they will, because it's not the same as Oskar)

    Do you not think Ingimar might remind people of Ingmar Bergman? It's a good point about Ingrid being better known, though. Thank you very much for your input, I agree totally that it's basically impossible to have my cake and eat it. I have to pick 'travels well' or 'distinctly Icelandic, séríslensk' and there's not much overlap
    Baby #1 due May/June 2015
    Emil - Ingimar - Kjartan - Matthías - Óskar - Róbert

    Elísabet - Elva - Rósa - Sólveig - Svala - Ylfa

  3. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Reykjavík
    Posts
    918
    Just out of interest Blade, I found a good pronunciation of Arnar, is this really how you would have pronounced Arn in Arnór?
    http://www.forvo.com/word/arnar/#is
    Arnór is on but it's not as clear:
    http://www.forvo.com/search/arn%C3%B3r/
    Baby #1 due May/June 2015
    Emil - Ingimar - Kjartan - Matthías - Óskar - Róbert

    Elísabet - Elva - Rósa - Sólveig - Svala - Ylfa

  4. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,598
    All of the 'international' names are going to be Christian in origin, hence their pan-European appeal. If you're just trying to avoid overtly Christian names, then you'll be fine-- but if you want something with no historical ties to Christianity, you'll be stuck.

    I think all of us in multicultural / multinational relationships just have to accept that the two families might not pronounce the children's names exactly the same, and that's fine-- as long as they're both capable of a reasonable approximation.

    The American accent gives the same vowel to 'or' and 'dough,' so that's easy for me. I can't listen to audio files at work but I know the sounds you're describing. You're right, it's probably too much to ask your English family to approximate it every time. Arnor is out anyway but it wouldn't really be so bad to hear AR-nor instead of Arrrrdtnoor, right?

    Do you like the simpler Ari, "eagle?" Or, avoiding the perilous -rn, runic THs, and -dur:

    Einar (pan-Scandi)
    Gunnar (popular for a reason!)
    Halldór (I like Halldor Laxness)
    Hallmar
    Magnús
    Njáll (love this one-- cognate of the familiar Niall, still looks distinctively Icelandic)
    Ragnar
    Týr
    Valdimar

    And you still have the international Pedur, Pall, Tomas and the like.
    Blade, MD

    XY: Antoine Raphael
    XX: Cassia Viviane Noor

    Aurea * Emmanuelle * Endellion * Fleur * Jacinda * Lysandra * Melisande * Myrrine * Rosamond * Seraphine * Sylvana * Thea * Verity / Blaise * Cyprian * Evander * Jules * Laurence * Lionel * Malcolm * Marius * Quentin * Rainier

    كنوز الصحراء الشرقية Hayat _ Qamar _ Sahar _ Maysan _ Farah / Altair _ Fahd _ Faraj _ Khalil _ Tariq

  5. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    15,700
    These are my top choices from your list. I think they would be the easiest to cross over cultures.

    1 Sævar - this is my favourite. You would probably get "say" instead of "sigh" for the first syllable but once you correct people, I don't think it would be a terrible problem. Some names are worth a bit of trouble.

    2 Leifur - English speakers would have two problems with this name: (1) is it Layf or Leaf? and (2) we don't usually pronounce f's as v's.

    3 Kjartan - most people are familiar the name Bjorn (I had a crush on tennis player Bjorn Borg when I was younger) so I don't think the "Kj" would pose too many problems. As far as Kjartan Karl is concerned...if you had TWO middle names you could break them up. Is one mn the standard in Iceland? Would two mn's pose any problems in your country?

    4 Ingimar - Because I am familiar with director Ingmar Bergman and skiier Ingemar Stenmark, it was the Icelandic spelling with the "i" that threw me off a bit. Luckily, I made a quick recovery! This name would probably pose the least problems as far as pronunciation is concerned.
    All the best,
    Mischa.

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