26 October 2005

Name dropping

Be careful what you name your child, especially if you ever travel outside your country... The following Norwegian names (and stories) are true:

My second year in England one of the other Norwegian students introduced himself as "Bent. Both ways". And he was... As was the couple Odd and Even - such a shame they broke up!

Three friends travelling together in the US were Baard, Are and Arnt. You guessed it - pronounced 'bored', 'are' and "aren't" - and noone believed them...

Njaal was also travelling. Now, his name is supposed to go something like Nyawl (with a 'ya'-sound like in yacht, and to rhyme with haul). When he travelled in South America, people really tried to pronounce his name. It would end up like 'Nord' or 'Neil' or something, but at least they gave it their best effort. When he introduced himself travelling the States, people simply said - "that's alright, we'll just call you Bob"!

So, if anyone wondered why our kids have solid Greek names (albeit also common in Norway and England), now you know!


riannan said...

A lot of words mean different things in other languages, and names are no different. I remember that the Chevy Nova sold very badly in South America, because, of course, No va means no go.

Merujo said...

During my years in Moscow, I came across all sorts of silliness with names. First, my name, Melissa, is the name of a grass that Russians use to brew a tea to ease intestinal problems. Many people misheard the Russian pronunciation of my name as "Militsia" - police.

I had a Greek-American friend in Moscow. Her last name is Panos. Normal Greek surname. But, in Russian, it means "diarrhea." This was unfortunate and caused her a lot of distress. Another friend's name unfortunately sounded like "Whale Coffin" to a Russian's ear. I guess I got off easy with the stomach tea name. :-)