Name Facts from Finland

Some factoids about Finnish baby names, gathered from a pair of articles published late last year:

  • The pool of names in Finland has more than doubled since the 1980s. In the ’80s, about 50,000 names were in use; currently, about 120,000 names are in use.
  • Gender-neutral names that became gender-specific over time include Rauha (“peace”), Sulo (“grace”), and Lenny.
  • Gender-specific names that switched from one gender to the other over time include Tuisku (“flurry”) and Lumi (“snow”).
  • Speaking of Lumi, more than 450 baby girls have been named Lumikki (“snow white”) since the 1800s.
  • “[N]ames with the letter ‘r’ in them are out of fashion because a Finnish ‘r’ is hard to pronounce internationally. With the exception of the boy’s name Väinö, names with umlauts are also dwindling in popularity.” Quote from Minna Saarelma-Paukkala, Director of the University of Helsinki’s Almanac Office, which owns the rights to all of Finland’s name day lists.
    • The Almanac Office’s Name Day Search form covers not only various cultures, but also pets: dogs, cats, and horses!
  • Recently rejected baby names include Alcapone, Ammu (“shoot”), Enikko, Fafnir, Fosforos, Marj-Linn, Monck, Paulii, Poon, Topelius, Tuhka (“ash”), Weicca, and Wolf.
  • A law that went into effect earlier this year allows Finnish parents to give their children a maximum of four first names. (Previously the max was three.)

Sources: Diversity of children’s names expanding in Finland, Finland loosens name law, but most still prefer classics

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