Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Swedish baby names redux

Are you sick of me yet and my posting everyday?

As I am getting rounder and rounder, the problem has arisen, yet again, of choosing a baby name. Naming a baby is probably difficult for everyone, but when you have 2 languages in your home and 2 cultures, there are some added traps. Many of my favorite English names sound stupid in Swedish (I always imagined having boys with J names--- not anymore). So we are back writing long lists of boys and girls names we like and trying to figure out what we prefer best.

Surprisingly enough, names we had strong opinions on 3 years ago have changed. For example, I brought up my favorite, Kai – and didn’t get the same round of giggles I got last time round. So these things change.

For Little Swede we ended up with a list of boys and girls names that we took to the hospital and decided after the birth. This worked out well for us, but I realize that making such a big decision after 24 hours of labour could have gone against us. Not sure what we will do this time. 

Here are the top names in Sweden for 2011 – but I don’t know how I feel about them. I want a name that isn’t too youneek but also maybe not top ten. I prefer girls names that end with a consonant rather than an a, but they seem rare in Swedish. What do you like? Any suggestions? Maybe we should just go with Sven and Inga?


Liam (wasn’t this a top WT (White trash) name just a few years ago? J)
Emil (My favorite on this list, but I haven’t read the Astrid Lindgren book so unsure of cultural baggage)


See what I mean about that consonant thing? The first name with a consonant is Astrid at number 30 – which I like as well….

Decisions decisions….


  1. "I realize that making such a big decision after 24 hours of labour could have gone against us."

    Lucifer? :)

  2. I can't think of any cultural baggage Emil might have - the Astrid Lindgren character is a mischievous little boy who always gets into trouble, but he's very sweet and generous and has a good heart. It's a nice name and a great character!

  3. My husband and I talk about baby names randomly (no, we're not expecting) but we do plan to have kids some day! I've always loved J names, too, but completely agree with you that that is now out of the question.

  4. I know a Swedish-American baby boy in Sweden named Emil. And I like Astrid. We know some ladies/girls without A's at the end of their names: Alice, Celine, Ellinor, Emily, Madeleine, Jaqueline, Jeannette, Helene. They mostly sound kind of French.

    I am not 100% happy with what we ended up naming our baby. I love it in English but I don't really like how it's pronounced (differently) in Swedish, and somehow I didn't get that everybody would say it in Swedish. But duh, of course they do. Also I sort of thought it was more common than it seems to be since a lot of people haven't heard it before, even though it was around #50 in popularity the year the baby was born. It is a short name with an O at the end like so many boys' names now so hopefully it won't seem too foreign.

    Good luck! Try NameVoyager and cross reference it with the swedish baby name site

  5. There's Malin, Elin and Lisbeth, all at least vaguely familiar to americans.

  6. Haha! We faced the same problem when we had Ella. We wanted a name that sounded good (and preferably more or less "the same") in both Swedish and English (and also "på skånska" since my husband is from Skåne and his family lives there...). But in the end we had already talked about the name Ella long before we even started to think about chilrden so I think for us the hardest was to really go with this name since it had risen as a top 5 name for girls in Sweden the year before our daughter was born. And I did not want a name that was tooooo common since I grew up with one of the most popular names in the 70´s.... ;-) But in the end we still went with our choose. We thought that we could not choose a name (or not choose it) because of kids in Sweden, since we live here i the US. And also the name was never the most popular. I am glad we went with the name since it really makes a huge difference to have a name that people here are familiar with and know how to pronounce! ;-) Good luck to you!!!!!

  7. I don't see why you wouldn't use Emil - it's a great name, and like Karin said, the character is a sweet boy. I have friends who, while Swedish and in Sweden, circumvented the Swedish Y-sound by using a youneek (hehe, I like) spelling, and naming their daughter Mollie, just to have people not mispronounce it.

  8. Yeah, common problem I would say. :)
    After we knew that it won't be a girl (we had the perfect girls name from the very beginning) it took months to find a boys name and we fought like hell. I was afraid baby boy would be born without a name... It was really hard to find something that sounds nice in both german, english and swedish, doesn't mean anything strange in one of those languages and sounds the same in at least swedish and german. There are some really popular "old german style" names here right now, like Wilhelm or Carl, that I could never do to my child. And also my boyfriend's fondness for names like "Zeus" or "Atlas" didn't really help. Thank God we found something matching in the end. ;)

  9. @Youma - How do you know my son's name?

    @Karin & T-anna - Thanks, I do like the name Emil, I just sometimes find it interesting the Swedish fascination with mischiovous children - and I guess that is the image I have of Emil, very 'busig' - so guess what I will be reading this x-mas (not like that is a bad thing, but want to know just how 'busig' he is!) But I do have a fondness for names Astrid Lindgren has used --- Mio, Ronja, Emil etc....

    Greta - Zeus? That is pretty cool, but might stand out a bit! Glad you were able to find a compromise -- we know quite a few Wilhelms and Carls, in fact Little Swede's BVC group reminded me of an old age home gathering name wise.

    Saltistjejen - It isn't easy! But I love the name Ella and it works so well in both languages. It is amazing how popular names really are popular for a reason. We ended up with a popular name for Little Swede just because we loved it so. But apparently it was most popular the year before he was born, and then not so much his year. It is pretty rare in the US.

    antropologa - We made the same mistake, didn't even dawn on us about the two pronunciations until like 2 days later -- but I like them both and figure Little Swede can decide when he is older what he wants to be called. Right now we use both. The Swede's name sounds different in both languages too, so it isn't so odd.

    @Youma - I do like those names, and they are rather uncommon in the US. More to add to the list!

  10. Haha, yes, read the books. I wouldn't say Emil is intentionally misbehaving like, say, Pippi. He has the best of intentions and still end up in trouble. But, like his mother always says, "Emil's a sweet little boy."

  11. Isobel? I think there are a few of those in sweden.

    1. I love the name Isobel, but it is also part of my 'stripper name' - ie. the name of my first pet --- so have mixed feeling about using it. Do I name my child after my cat? :)

  12. I am English, the wife is Swedish. We just had a baby who we named Austin - that is causing some confusion with the neighbours etc! :)


  13. Oh, I do like Austin as a name, and I imagine it could work OK wish Swedish as well....