25 April 2020
Books - what's not to love? A never-ending source of knowledge, great entertainment and new ideas popping up all the time. That's what books mean to us.
As we focus on names, books about names are the most important books for us. There are all kinds of different name books. Our favourite ones are books which give you a lot of background information about the names.
Funny rule of thumb: The less baby pictures on the cover, the better the book. Well, there are a few exceptions but usually it is true!
We focus on given name but our book collection contains books about surnames and place names and onomastics, the the study of the etymology, history and use of proper names, as well.
When you dive into the etymology of names, it is important to know how the languages the name origins in work. Names are a very interesting part of a language because they are conservative and do not change their form as easily as vocabulary words.
Most of our books about languages are about the Nordic languages, the old versions of it as well as the modern ones. As you know by now if you have looked around on Nordic Names for a while, not all names used in the Nordic countries have Nordic roots. A huge amount of them have roots in a lot of other languages, not only other Germanic ones but foreign languages like Greek, Hebrew, Celtic, Latin and - for Northerners - very exotic ones.
The Norse mythology is a very interesting source of all kinds of old names. Not only are the stories entertaining but they provide a huge amount of names and bynames and give us more information about the way people were thinking more than 1000 years ago, what their values were, what they thought was funny or frightening.
Many traces of the Old Norse gods can be found in given names still in use today. Name elements like ÞOR and AS with all the names derived from them are good examples. Not only the gods' names left their traces - also names of dwarfs, giants, elfs and other mythical beings live on in given names!
When we started the Nordic Names project, we did not give references in the respective name articles. Later, when we found out that we missed that for or own information, we began to add references. This is an ongoing process - there are more than 47,000 name articles to be checked, so this will take a while. Some of the references have links to seperate book pages where we give you a photo and some basic information about the book. We will continue to add those book pages in the following weeks.
Have a look at a long list of books we use here: Bibliography