What is happening to Finnish first names in Sweden? A tentative reflection

By Linnéa Gustafsson

In: Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala årsskrift 2020


This is a study that approaches questions concerning first names in a multicultural country, Sweden, from a longitudinal perspective. The names studied are Finnish first names that have been used in Sweden over the periods 1900–89 and 2004–13. Despite the geographical proximity between Sweden and Finland, the languages Swedish and Finnish belong to different families, a fact that is often reflected in first names – giving rise either to completely different names or to specific spellings. This is a pilot study that raises more new questions than it answers, and the tentative focus of the discussion is on name fashions (a revival of Old Norse names and Scandinavianism in naming) and external influences on name giving (immigration). The study shows that Finnish first names were most frequent in Sweden among citizens born between 1920 and 1969. Subsequently, their frequency has shown a marked decline.