I'm due in late November with a boy, who will be our second son (no more children planned after this). I am American and my husband is Danish -- born and raised for the first 30 years of his life in and around Copenhagen, moved here and ended up staying. So our main naming issue is ensuring that names work in both languages. Our son is Christian Kai (Christian after his paternal great-grandfather and Kai is another Danish name -- Kaj would have been the Danish spelling but we didn't want him to spend his life explaining the pronunciation in non-Scandinavian countries).
We are having a hard time this time around for some reason. We had a major scare at 16 weeks when we were told the baby had a greater than 1 in 3 of having a serious chromosomal abnormality, and when amnio thankfully revealed he is perfectly healthy, I decided that his middle name should be the Scandinavian variant of Matthew -- Mathias. Husband agrees and likes that name. (It is pronounced "Ma-TEE-as" in Danish.)
As for the first name, DH likes Anders, which is the Scandinavian variant of Andrew. I like it but don't LOVE it. My main concern is that it is just slightly unusual enough in the U.S. that he'll always have to spell/explain it, unlike his brother Christian. I feel like Mathias wouldn't be the greatest first name either, for the same reason -- it's just far enough out there to cause confusion.
Other names that I prefer but that DH doesn't like (primarily because they are "too common" or "too boring" according to him, keeping in mind that his frame of reference is Denmark):
Carsten (fair enough -- probably too close to Christian)
Names he likes but I have axed:
I also really like the name Owen and did try to convince him to stray from the Danish list a bit but he won't budge. When we look at lists of Danish names, many of them are just so....Viking-like. And that's not what we're looking for.
So -- just looking for reactions to the name Anders Mathias, as that seems to be our front-runner and I am trying to convince myself that it will work, despite not being my own first choice. Do American readers think it's a little affected or weird? And what if we went with Mathias as the first name -- would that work at all or just doom the boy to a lifetime of confused looks and misspellings?
Thanks! (And Tak, from my husband)
I think Anders Mathias is perfect. Anders has a slightly exotic international sound, without being so exotic that people will have a hard time with it: it's pronounced as it's spelled, and it feels familiar because of the names Andrew and Anderson. Christian and Anders are a great sibling set, and I think Mathias is a perfect middle name. Hans Christian Anderson came to mind after a few minutes, but it's a positive association, and not a very strong one when it's Anders not Anderson.
I think Mathias would also work well as a first name. I've encountered it before on an actual child; to me it seems like a freshened version of Matthew to go along with Elias and Phineas. The spellings Mathias and Matthias combined had a popularity in the U.S. of #463 in 2010; Anders is at #936, but Anderson at #312 makes it feel a little more popular. I don't think either name would have enough spelling/pronunciation/confusion issues to need to cross it off the list. There would likely be the mild hassle of "one T or two" or the like---but most names have something like this. (My name isn't so much Kristen as it is "Kristen: K, r, i, s, t, E, n.")
Name update! Kathy writes:
Anders Mathias arrived on November 20th -- the name fits him well and we've received a lot of positive feedback from people upon hearing it. Thanks again to you and your readers for helping with this big decision!