Icelandic: names for extended families

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Gavril, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Since people normally don’t have last names in Iceland, how does one normally refer to one's extended family in Icelandic?

    For example, in English, if a person's last name is “Packard”, you can use it to refer to this person's extended family in contexts such as:

    The Packards were one of the first families to settle in this region.

    There will be a Packard family reunion at the park this weekend.

    How would you express this sort of meaning in Icelandic?

    The closest equivalent I can think of would be something like Sturlungar, which is the name of an extended family (but not a last name like "Packard", etc.) – however, I don’t know how common such names are in modern Iceland.

    Let me know if I can clarify my question (I realize that it might be more of a cultural question than a linguistic one).

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  2. NoMoreMrIceGuy Senior Member

    Sturlungar is just a name for the descendants of a chieftain called Sturla that were prominent in their time. No such definition exists today as far as I know. A handful of families in Iceland try to pimp it up by using family names today but those don't necessarily encompass a closely extended family.
  3. kepulauan Senior Member

    Some people refer to their address, especially on birthday/christmas/invitation cards: "kveðja, fjölskyldan Aragötu 6", "fjölskyldan í Aragötunni". Another thing you'd see on cards and elsewhere is the head of the household and his/her company, literally: "kveðja, Hallfríður og co".
  4. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In these cases, would the fjölskylda normally be mamma, pabbi, börn and nobody else?

    If a family has owned a farm for 150 years, how would you specify that the farm belongs to this family (including the afar, langafar and other ancestors of the current owners)?

    Þakkir aftur
  5. kepulauan Senior Member

    Ok Iðm way too tired to type right now...
    Well I can't really picture any family name in that scenario. You would either refer to a member (or two) of the family and connect him to his family, or you could refer to the farm which happens to be in "family posession" (of the anonymous family), but of course that's not as helpful as "the Robinsons".

    Now I just thought of the word niðjar. It is attributed to the oldest Robinson: "niðjar Þorkels"
    ...but that's not daily speech and there is usually more than one core family belonging to the group in question.
  6. TomTrussel Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    As I'm bored and got no Norwegian threads to bother, I'll bother Gavril instead :)
    My family-name only goes back 1 generation before it was the Icelandic way. My granddads name was Reidar Reinhartsen, meaning just son of Reinhart, untill he moved to a little farm and took it's name as our recent family name.

    In Norwegian we got the term "slektsgård" that describes a farm that has been passed down through the generations, we never call a house of farm by the family-name of the current habitants, but rather by it's own name, although, when it's a "slektsgård" that is usually one and the same, though the farm gave the family it's name, not the other way around. And for a family-reunion, they are called "slektstreff" and usually it's centred around one specific ancestor, and his/her "slekt" or "ætt" (Slekt = extended family & ancestors)

    TT - Sorry for bothering you ;)
  7. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Let me know if this understanding is correct:

    - In English, you would normally say, "The Robinson family farm"

    - In Icelandic, you would normally say, "The farm belonging to [X]'s family", where [X] is an individual member of the Robinsons

    You can answer this when you've rested up. :)

    So, niðjar Þorkels = "founder of the Þorkell family/clan"?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  8. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I'd be interested to hear an example of this (it doesn't have to be an actual family, just a hypothetical example).

    Þakkir aftur
  9. NoMoreMrIceGuy Senior Member

    Niðjar means descendants. So niðjar Þorkels = Þorkell's descendants.

    Most if not all farms in Iceland have established names, not like in the USA we're the Robinson's farm becomes the Wilson's Farm when one family replaces the other. Hólar for example is the most common name for farms in Iceland, Ás, Lækur, Brekka, Hlíðar, Hamrar, are other examples. Theoretically if a family has strong ties to a farm it can be referred to as Hólafjölskyldan, Hlíðarfjölskyldan, Hamrafjölskyldan or something to that extent. But since most people today live in towns or cities or just move around a lot I don't think it's very common. Another example is when people are clumped together by their area of origin and that often doubles as a family name if it is a small area with strong family ties, example: Eyfellingar (people from around Eyjafjöll).

    Family names that I've heard commonly include Waage, Líndal, and my mother used to have Welding but dropped it at an early age (thankfully, since I would not want to be connected to Lárus Welding). These names are remnants from Danish influences when people tried to sound more upscale by taking family names.
  10. kepulauan Senior Member

    Thanks, and I am rested up!

    No, a possible thing to say is "here we have Mr X and his wife Y who reside at [farm name] along with [parents with some further info] and [number] of children.
  11. Obeorn

    Obeorn Member

    American English
    I know this is an old thread, but I stumbled upon it after picking up „Hobbitinn,“ where the „The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of the Hill“ is translated as „En Baggarnir hörfðu búið hér í Hólnum“ where Bilbo´s last name is rendered as Baggi in Icelandic.

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