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How do Icelanders name their children?

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January 29, 2008 10:09PM

The most common type of an Icelander's name consists of two or three names. The first (and if the child bears three names the second) name can be what ever name the parents choose for the child, as long as it is recognized as an Icelandic name by law. The third name is almost always the name of the father of the child (exceptions are the name of the mother or a family name) added with an ending: (name of father)-son (if the child is a boy), (name of father)-dóttir (if the child is a girl).

Example: A boy is born and his parents wish to name him after his grandfather, who's name was Gunnar. The father's name is Stefán. Therefor the boy will be named Gunnar Stefánsson, which would translate as Gunnar, son of Stefán.

If the child in question were a girl, and her parents wanted to name her after her grandmother, who's name was Guðrún, she would be named Guðrún Stefánsdóttir. Which, again, translates as Guðrún, daughter of Stefán.