Surnames are forbidden

Surnames are forbidden
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On June 27 in 1925, Iceland passed a law that officially prohibited citizens from having surnames. By doing so, the authorities tried to preserve the tradition because the Icelanders traditionally refer to themselves by their first and patronymic name.

Currently, most Icelanders have only their first name and patronymic. A similar practice existed long before in other Scandinavian countries. In addressing and mentioning a person, only the name is used. The patronymic is a complex construction consisting of the father's name in the genitive case and the words “son” for men or “daughter” (ISL. dóttir) for women. For example, Leifur Eiriksson, Snorri Sturluson, and Halbera Tordardottir.

Sometimes a matronymic name is used instead of a patronym, a form derived from the mother's name. For example, Heidar Helguson (son of Helga), Vigdis Helgadottir (daughter of Helga). In some cases, a combination of matronymic and patronymic is used.

In cases where it is possible to confuse two full namesakes by first name and patronymic, the second-order patronymic, the name of the grandfather, is used. For example, Jon Torsson Bjarnason (Jón Þórsson Bjarnarsonar) means Yon, the son of Thor, son of Bjarni. This construction is very common in sagas, although it is currently rare, because the middle name is used more often.

A very small number of Icelanders do have surnames. Many in Iceland fight against surnames, believing that they are not inherent in the Icelandic national spirit. Those with surnames often insert a patronymic in abbreviated form between the first and last names. At marriage, the names of the spouses do not change, unless the wife takes the husband's last name — in the rare cases when he has one.


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 We should avoid complications, neutralize cultural.., 30-09-2020 14:01:47

By: Andrew

We should avoid complications, neutralize cultural differences and not be attached to your past in our fast moving contemporary world. I like simplicity, and that’s it.

 Never forget your roots, 30-09-2020 13:50:24

By: Elizabeth

Surname reminds us where we came from, the history of the family. The same surname somehow brings together. That’s why I think it’s important to pass the surname from generation to generation.

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