Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Common Finnish names, in my experience

The president of Finland and his wife had a baby in February, right after the election. The baby boy was baptized recently and so they've announced his name: Aaro.

I had spent some time wondering what they might name him, but I hadn't guessed Aaro. I did get to thinking, though, about common names in Finland according to my personal limited experience (you can get actual stats here). When it comes to students, the most common names I've seen for girls are:

Iris/Iiris (I love this name! It's pronounced EE-reese.)
Suvi (this means 'summer')

and for boys:


I would have definitely guessed Emma and Ville and Kalle off the top of my head, but I had thought there were more Minttus and Petteris in there.

Meanwhile, I have name blindness for a few Finnish names. I have a very hard time differentiating between Katariina/Kristiina/Karoliina. Also, I am just realizing that Teemu and Tuomas, for example, are probably not the same name, but my brain categorizes them as variants of each other. Same with Matias and Matti.

I got really good at remembering students' names in the UAE, where with the women, at least, I often had to do it based only on face, since everything else was covered in a black veil or robe. My brain learned some interesting memorization tricks that I can't always control, which sometimes leads to weird slips of the tongue. My favorite one of these is when I had a student named Vilja (grain - her dad is a farmer!) and in the classroom one time I called her Jyvä (another name for grain, but more archaic). My brain just went for it, without asking me! The English equivalent might be if someone named Heather came to my class and I called her Thistle.

Sterling's little friends have trouble pronouncing his name sometimes. Jeremy and I were talking about giving him a Finnish nickname that is still similar to his real name, but we haven't come up with anything. Santeri is close, as far as consonants go, but it doesn't seem to fit him. Maybe when he gets a bit older, he can choose one for himself!



April 6th, outsourced