More Greenlandic names


We looked at popular baby names in Greenland yesterday, but we aren’t stopping there! Because the source I used for that post also listed many of the Greenland’s less-popular names. (The list included any first name that was being used by at least five people country-wide as of 2011.)

Here’s a sampling of the Greenlandic names on that list. I focused on ones with particularly intriguing definitions…

Female names:

  • Akitsinnguaq, meaning “little incomparable one,” based on the word akitsivoq, “surpasses her peers” (in either beauty or lovability).
  • Atangana, meaning “the one who remained (when all the siblings had died).”
  • Aviaaja, meaning “cousin,” “second cousin,” or “half-cousin.”
  • Inaluk, meaning “gut casing.”
  • Maannguaq, meaning “little thin-skinned one,” based on the word maarpoq, “to whine, to wail.”
  • Maliina, meaning “the one to follow.”
  • Manumina, meaning “small piece of fur under the chin.”
  • Naduk, short for inequnartoq, meaning “sweet,” “cute.” Alternatively, based on the name Arnatuk, “seeks a mother” (i.e., “a soul being born into different shapes and animals before crawling into the womb of a woman to be born again and re-claim his name”).
  • Navarana, meaning “the one that alternates between different parties.” Mythology name.
  • Qivioq refers to down on a bird’s skin or wooly hair/fleece on an animal’s skin.
  • Qupanuk, meaning “snow bunting.”
  • Sikkersoq, meaning “bud,” “sprout,” “blossom.” The word also means “burst out laughing.”
  • Tukummeq, based on the word tukumavoq, meaning “agile, vigorous, swift.”
  • Tupaarnaq, meaning “wild thyme.”
  • Uiloq, meaning “mussel,” “bivalve,” “shell.”

Male names:

  • Angula, based on the word angulavaa, which means “chewing and sucking out the fat of a birdskin (for the sake of taste).”
  • Angutivik, meaning “genuine man.”
  • Aqissiaq, meaning “ptarmigan chick.” Mythology name.
  • Avatannguaq, meaning “little sealskin float” (for use in a kayak).
  • Ilasiaq, meaning “a companion (child) acquired (through magic).” Mythology name.
  • Imina, based on the word imiit, meaning “scoop, bailer, mug” (for water).
  • Maligiaq, meaning “mid-size wave.”
  • Malinnguaq, meaning “little wave.”
  • Masauna, based on the word masaut, meaning “wet snow.”
    • “When the sea-ice becomes soft and unsafe, the wet snowcover is called masaut.”
  • Miteq, meaning “sea duck.”
  • Nanoq, meaning “polar bear.”
  • Panigpak, meaning “genuine daughter.”
    • Why “daughter” for a son? “The first born after a recent passing was named after the deceased, regardless of gender.”
  • Putdlaq, meaning “bubble” (the container for the soul while on Earth).
  • Qarsoq, meaning “arrow.”
  • Qillaq, meaning “knot,” “laced together.”
    • Qillaq was the top name for baby boys in Greenland in 2007.
  • Qisunnguaq, meaning “little wood,” “little tree.”
  • Qulutaq, meaning “snow bunting.” (Same meaning as Qupanuk, above.)
  • Sequssuna, meaning “egg insdie a bird” (i.e., not yet laid).
  • Sorlannguaq, meaning “little root (of a plant).” Can refer to golden root or to saltmarsh starwort.
  • Uvdloriaq, meaning “star.”

Names that showed up in the data for both genders:

  • Akisooq, meaning “precious one.”
  • Angerla, short for angerlartok, meaning “the one who has returned.”
  • Inequ, short for inequnaq, meaning “sweet,” “cute,” “attractive.” (Similar to Naduk, above.)
  • Ungaaq, meaning “baby” (or “younger sibling”), based on the word ungaa, which signifies a baby’s cry.

That suffix -nnguaq is common in Greenlandic names. It essentially adds “little” or “sweet” to the meaning of the root word. I’ve been listening to audios featuring various -nnguaq names (like this one with Paninnguaq) and can’t really hear that “q” at the end. Omniglot confirms that certain consonants (t, k, q, p, g) at the end of Greenlandic words are weakly articulated.

Sources: Names in Greenland as of 1 July 2011 (PDF), Nordic Names, Search Names – Oqaasileriffik

Image: Adapted from View from Nuuk Fiord by Nanopixi under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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