For the next installment in global names, I'll be focusing on the most popular baby names in Sweden. Here are five names each, from the boys and girls side, that are in the top 20 in Sweden but outside the top 400 in the US.
I'll include the English or other known equivalents next to the names for clarification.
*None of the girls' names are in the top 1000!
Maja - Maya
Pronounced the same way as Maya, Maja might prompt a different pronunciation in the US - "Mah-jah" or "Mah-ha", for example. In any case, it's a sweet-sounding name meaning "splendid", with plenty of European namesakes to boot.
While Agnes was last seen on the top 1000 in 1972, I think it's all set for a comeback. The recent little Agnes in Despicable Me and the constant recommendation on baby name sites have primed it well. It means "pure", and Agnes is just old enough to sound cute, not dated.
E-names for the win! Ella, Emma, Emily et cetera have been on top for awhile. Why not add in a Scandinavian sound? Ebba means "strength of a boar", and fits in nicely with the simple vowel-consonant-vowel trend - Ada, Isla, Eva.
Also known as a twinflower, Linnaea is a beautiful, hardly-used flower name. I think it sounds more classic next to the trendy Lilianna, and it's softer than Violet. The name also honors Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern ecology.
Even I surprised myself by choosing this name. On the outside, Wilma is the name of the mom on The Flintstones, a grandma's name at this point. But I think it's just clunky enough to be cool - the -ma ending like Emma and the Wil- beginning like Willow connect it to the present.
Hugo - Hugh
This name isn't unheard of - it's currently at #438 in the US - but it's still not quite as appealing to US audiences as it is elsewhere. Meaning "mind" or "spirit", Hugo has grown in popularity thanks to the recent children's movie, as well as literary connection to the author of Les Mis, Victor Hugo.
Ludvig - Louis
Oh so Scandinavian, but oh so unusable in the US. The g-ending and "dv" consonant combo have kept this name from migrating properly. Stick with Louis or Louie.
I hadn't heard of this name before researching, but I'm now very intrigued by Arvid. It means "eagle-tree" and seems like a really unusual and strong alternative to Arnold or Arthur. The V in the middle adds a little pizzazz, but Arvid is out-and-out powerful.
Currently at #799 on the US list, Alfred may be moving up thanks to its European counterparts - it's at #19 in Sweden, and Alfie is at #12 in the UK. Alfred means "wise counselor", and seems to follow the retro trends - also a great way to honor any familial Fred's!
Nils - Nicholas
While I myself prefer the English variation, I think Nils or Nel could be a cool nickname for those who are sick of Nick. Similar-sounding Niles of Frasier fame is actually from a different root - "son of Neil".
What countries would you like to see next?