The reason I created this page
was mainly because at the time there didn't seem to exist a simple, comprehensive site
about Finnish names on the web. So, I decided to make one. Being a part
of writers' recource site, the main idea for this page is to be a name
archive for all of you writers out there who for some reason need to know
what Finnish names are like.
This is not to urge all of
you to use Finnish characters in your fiction, only to offer information
on the subject. The thing is, Finnish names can be little tricky. Many
times using Finnish names, writers have gotten it all wrong. Either they
have used some really strange sounding Finnish name, a name that sounds
right but isn't Finnish, used girl's name for a boy or vice versa.
This page is made to prevent those kind of funny little mishaps.
The first names on this page
are names commonly used in Finland nowadays. The list is not meant to be
complete in any way. There are much more names in the current Finnish name
calendar than listed here, but I have left some of the most old-fashioned
ones out, as well as some names that clearly are not of Finnish origin.
This is only to make the use of this list safer for all of you, who don't
have up-to-date information about current Finnish names.
Many international databases
include Finnish first names too. Only problem with those are that one can
find rather strange-sounding "Finnish names" there. I really don't know
the reason for this, but my guess is that some of names submitted to there
are from descendants of Finnish emigrants. In other words, if you want
to be absolutely sure not to choose name that makes your Finnish reader
shake his head in disbelief, this list is a rather safe bet.
Constructing a Finnish name
works just like in most western languages. First choose a first name of
right gender and then a last name. Usually people have also one or two
second names in Finland, but they are seldom used. In some cases, when
one doesn't like the first given name he or she can use one of the second
names. Or, when wanting to sound eccentric, use all of one's given names
or initials as part of their name. In many cases these people are writers
or other public figures. Normally one's everyday name consists of one first
and one last name.
Like modern names nowadays
at least in western countries, most Finnish first names don't have a spesific
meaning. Some however do. In many cases the phrase itself can be little
outdated and archaic, meaning people don't necesseary use those words in
every day language, but still understand their meaning. That is why I have
made a separate list for those names. The list
also mentions if name has some culture or language based 'double meaning'
which only Finns get and which you might want to know before using it.
For some reason there really
is an incredible amount of Finnish last names, at least over 75
000 of them. Because of that I have left out tons and tons of names, partly
because there's not enough room here for all of them, but mainly because
I have gathered this list by myself and I do have other things in my life
than this, you know. The idea of this page is not to be a scientifically
valid listing of all Finnish first and last names in existence,
only is to give you a basic feeling what they sound like.
That is also the reason why
there's not a separate page for Finnish last names and their meanings.
Unlike with first names, most Finnish last names do have a meaning. In
many cases those meanings are still quite recognizable and listing all
of them here would have just been too enourmous task. Like with first names,
the Finnish last names listed here are pretty standard ones and it's quite
safe for you to pick any of them without having to worry whether that particular
last name has some weird history.
Oh, and one last thing. If
those nordic characters, 'ä' and 'ö', give you trouble, I suggest
you don't use names that include them. Don't substitute them with a and
o, since that's not the way it works. The letters ä and ö really
are different characters than a and o, they sound different and in some
cases if, you mix them, the whole meaning of the word might change. The
result may be, well, embarrassing at least.
Those of you who want to know
more about Finnish, about the language or the names, can check out the
link list on the main page. Or, if your Finnish
is good enough, read Pirjo Mikkonen's and Sirkka Pakkala's
book Sukunimet ('last names'). It tells you everything there is
to know about Finnish last names and their history. If you have questions,
comments or corrections concerning the information on these pages, please
send them directly to me.