United under Uniquely Icelandic ‘Dóttir’ Name Skip to content

United under Uniquely Icelandic ‘Dóttir’ Name

In a nation where people are listed in the phone directory according to first name, the fact that the members of the Icelandic national women’s football team bear their ‘surnames’ on the back of their football shirts for UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 has attracted some attention, reports mbl.is. For example, the team captain has ‘Gunnarsdóttir’ printed on the back of her shirt rather than her given names, ‘Sara Björk.’

Reporters asked players Sif Atladóttir and Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir about this at a news conference conducted in Doetinchem, Holland today, where Iceland is set to play its second match of UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 against Switzerland tomorrow.

“We players decided on this, like we did before the last qualifier. In the last two competitions, we had our first names on our shirts, but in view of how we are united under the ‘dóttir’ [‘daughter’] name, we felt this was fitting,” explained Sif.

In Iceland, it is the norm to use patronymics, which are names derived from that of the father like ‘Gunnarsdóttir’, for example, which literally means ‘daughter of Gunnar’, although matronymics and what native English speakers would consider ‘proper’ surnames such as ‘Jensen’ are also to be found in some cases.

National team coach Freyr Alexandersson added during the press conference that of the 23 players in the squad, all 23 had chosen to use their ‘surname.’ “So there was no doubt about this. Even Jensen and Jessen voted for it,” laughed Freyr, referring to the only two members of the squad—Elín Metta Jensen and Sandra María Jessen—to not bear the ‘dóttir’-patronymic.

Sif, Glódís and other team members have been diligently marking all their posts on social media with the hashtag #dottir.

Glódís explained that “this is originally from the world of CrossFit, where our stars there who are great role models for us and all Icelanders, got this name for themselves, ‘dóttir.’ It just stands for being hard core and cool. Crazy tough. That’s what we wanted to bring with us into this tournament. That’s why we decided on this as our hashtag for the tournament. This is something that characterizes us, gives us extra power and is uniquely Icelandic.”

Iceland suffered a 0-1 defeat to France in its first match of the tournament last Tuesday evening. The second match against Switzerland is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and will be shown on Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV, as well as Eurosport.

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