Parents favour ‘short and old’ names

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Gone are the really traditional old names like Borghild or Torbjørn, but in their place are other names that are short and mostly lacking the three letters peculiar to Norway: æ, ø and å, which can potentially be problematic in the digital age.

“Emma” and “Jakob” topped the list of  the most popular names in 2019, according to state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway). For girls, they were followed by Nora/Norah, Sofie/Sophie, Ella and Olivia. Then came Ada, Sofia/Sophia, Sara/Sarah/Zara, Maja/Maia/Maya and Ingrid.

After Jakob/Jacob, the most popular names given to baby boys last year were Lucas/Lukas, variations of Filip/Philip, Oskar and Oliver. Then came Emil, Henrik, Willian, Noah/Noa, and Aksel/Axel.

Sports stars in Norway seemed to have at least some influence, with the names of all the brothers in the famed Ingebrigtsen family (Jakob, Filip and Henrik) landing in the top 10. Ada is also the name of Norway’s international football star Ada Hegerberg.

Otherwise researchers think Norwegian parents chose “short and old names with lots of vowel clarity,” according to Ivar Utne at the University of Bergen. “Many of them go for names that nearly died out but were in use for 100 to 120 years ago,” Utne told state broadcaster NRK. They’re also names that are relatively easy to spell and understand internationally, a clear advantage in a global society.

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