30 May 2006

That's my name!

I've got an unusual name for an American, the kind of name people mispronounce 70% of the time when they first meet me, the kind of name that I've had to grow accustomed to correcting constantly. It was from my mother's side of the family, and I've always stuck up for it when people say, "but it sounds ALMOST like this other name, can't I just call you that instead?"

no, it's my name, and I like it.

Needless to say, it got pretty old to be arguing about my name all the time, so I was delighted when I came here and found that people had NO problem with it. Everyone here adds an accent where I never had one, but the pronounciation is no problem. They remember it, they use it, and last week I even saw it scrawled on the bottom of a lap lane I'd never used before in Laugardalslaug. If you look my name up in the phone book or Þjóðskrá (national registry) there are dozens of us. It's even the name of a major Finnish communications company, so I see it on cellphone coverage maps, on hits to my blog, and photos of Finnish phone booths.

Introducing myself in the US usually resulted in questions about where the odd name came from. Here, it's a surprised "that's an Icelandic name!" Yep, and it's also mine.

Ship sighting: Tomorrow this cute lil cruise ship named Funchal is coming just for the day, and according to this ship history website, she'll be carrying about 400 British holiday-makers. That's a lot of ladies in the Laugardalslaug locker room talking about bobbly tights.

9 comments:

tsduff said...

You know everybody is going to ask you "So, what IS your name" :-)

I wonder if I'm pronouncing it right?

Anonymous said...

Surely not Nokia??

ECS said...

Terry- The Finnish company is actually a pretty big hint, although anonymous has an interesting take on it. I figured for the curious it would be a project, and for those that know my name, they've learned about Finnish internet a little bit. I found out about this company in college, when typing yourname.com and yourname.otherurl was cool to do. It was so crazy to see all these Finnish press releases with my name sprinkled everywhere after never seeing it anywhere.

heh.. Nokía Erlendsdóttir.

dtw said...

For a Finn you gave a little too many hints. :)

But I was about to ask something about this "everyone here adds an accent where I never had one" part. In here we have two versions of your name. First there's that exact version, and then another where the second vowel is a long one. (I really can't give a better description without giving it away and spoiling the challenge for others.)

That is a pretty unusual name for American, yeah. I'm assuming that the shorter version is correct for you, but the Icelanders use the longer one, with an accent?

Personally, so far I haven't met a foreigner who would've been able to pronounce my name correctly. I've just told them to use a shorter and a little more internationally known version of it. I don't want anyone to choke on their own tongue trying to pronounce my name. Maybe I'll try to challenge someone in Iceland later.

tsduff said...

I have to say I haven't met anyone with your name. It is a very pretty one. I like having a unique name myself - at least with the way it is spelled, readers are left wondering if I am male or female. I have a best friend with the same name as mine, same sex, same spelling. Nice little coincidences.

ECS said...

welcome, Finnish reader! I'm not trying to be too secretive about my name- I've given up on total anonymity, particularly since any slightly determined Icelander could figure out who I am easily enough!

My name is spelled with the short vowel, not the long, although the way it is pronounced in the US is the way Icelanders would pronounce their long-vowel version. When I look through Þjóðskrá, there are both versions here, although the non-accented one appears much less frequently, and seems to mostly be foreigners like me, half of whom live abroad.

It can be hard to have an unusual name, but it's part of what makes people so interesting. My good friend from college has an even more unusual name that took me ages to remember, but it's part of her identity and family history (like mine) and was an instant connection for us. Give us a try with that Finnish name!

dtw said...

I guess this is a good chance to give a little introduction about who I am and what am I doing here.

I'm a college hippie from the sunny coastal town of Vaasa, Finland. My ever present curiosity towards Iceland got a major boost this winter. I applied to an exchange program, and to my great surprise and joy, I was selected. So, it seems like I'll spend the first half of 2007 in Háskóli Íslands in Reykjavik.

So, I wanted to know even more about the mythical land I've always wanted to see. Needless to say, extensive googling ensued. At some point I found my way to Noisedfisk, and via this entry I ended up here, from here to J's blog, from there even further...

At this point I must thank both of you for some of the most delightful blog entries I've ever read and extending my Iceland enthusiasm even further. You two write quite differently, but at the same time, both of you can capture incredibly much inspiration to a small text about small pieces of life. I love it, and I think the silent majority of readers do too.

-Samuli

PS: A little trivia. Nokia is indeed a proper name in Finnish. Not for people though, but a small town where the company originated. They've gotten pretty far from the original rubber boots they began with.

ECS said...

Welcome Samuli, and thanks for the compliments! I'll pass them on to J. It's a crazy place here, but definitely unique, and I hope you enjoy your stay.

As for the Nokia boots, I've seen those in fishing gear shops, and I hear they're pretty great. Like the phones too.

carmen said...

So funny to read your post---you're the fourth American I know with that name! So I never thought twice about it. I must be at a nexus of Es on some metaphysical map of life!