pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

I wonder what the history of surnames in Greenland is.

Inuit in Canada had numerical “surnames” (disc numbers) assigned at one point in the 1940s; then, later (starting in 1969), they were given the opportunity to choose their own surnames. So this was comparatively recent.

The surnames that I come across appear to be Inuktitut words; for example, see Wikipedia’s List of Canadian Inuit. You have the occasional name such as “Curley” but by and large, that list is dominated by names along the lines of “Aglukkaq” and “Okalik”.

In Greenland, though, surnames are a whole ’nother kettle of fish: the PDF on naming available from Statistics Greenland says that the top 5 surnames, accounting for about 1/8 of all Greenlanders, are Petersen, Olsen, Jensen, Nielsen, and Hansen. In fact, all of the top 50 surnames look European/Danish to me; I don’t see a single Greenlandic-language one amongst the lot. And most of them end in -sen.

So I wonder how that came about.

Did the priests give everyone a Christian name (at time 1), and then at one point (time 2), everyone got a patronymic as a surname which was then rendered immutable? For example, if Aputsiaq got called Lars and his son Minik got called Kristian at time 1, then when time 2 came, would Minik officially be called “Kristian Larsen”, with the surname being in origin a patronymic?

And if they’re not patronymics, then where do they come from? Danish government officials giving Kalaallit their own family names? And if they are patronymics, how come “Møller” is #7?

Also, I find it interesting that “Petersen” is the most common surname (accounting for 1 in 26 Greenlanders), yet “Peter” is not the most common given name. (At least, not the most common first given name; if all given names are taken into account, it is the most common one.)

Would be interesting to read the history of that.

(Another fun bit from that document: apparently, popular Danish-origin names get Greenlandic suffixes tacked on to them, so you have not only “Hans” but also “Hanse(e)raq” and “Hansi(n)nguaq”. The second, I believe, being something like “Hänschen” in German: the -nnguaq suffix is not just “fake, toy, make-believe, imitation” as in Canada but also, apparently, “small, cute”.)

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

So, what's the story of your usernames? What made you pick them, or how did you come up with them?

Also, if you had a free rename token, would you change your username, or are you happy with what you have? (And what would you change it to?)

here are my answers )

Names poll

Thursday, 19 April 2007 13:56
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

At lunch today, we talked about the names we would have had if we had been born the opposite sex, and I thought I'd make a poll about it. (FWIW, my parents didn't have an alternate name for me, but they did for my middle sister, who they thought would be a boy. The gynæcologist, who had predicted her sex as male, ended up buying some girl clothing for my mother when he ended up wrong :D)

For "parents", read "people who gave me my name(s)", if appropriate.

And I realise I've forgotten an option on one of the last questions: "I go by a given name other than the first given name, but my parents intended for me not to go by my first given name but rather by that later given name" (Example: they wanted you to have the names Thomas and Andrew, to be called Thomas, but felt that Andrew Thomas sounded better than Thomas Andrew). Comment if that's the case.

[Poll #969380]

Naming names

Monday, 19 January 2004 15:24
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Some users on my friends list I know the real names of, some I don't. In some cases this is because they told me but I forgot :(

Since I'm curious about such things, I'd appreciate it if you'd fill out (all or parts of) this poll if you don't mind my having the information, so I have them in one place. Results are visible only to me.

[Poll #235356]

Profile

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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