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    Wednesday, December 29, 2004

    What's your Icelandic name?

    I just finished the terrific book Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. The tiny book was packed with fun facts about the fishing industry and the North Atlantic communities that brought about the cod craze. For example, I learned how Icelanders continue to name themselves:

    Icelanders keep their traditions. They spoke, and still do, the same language as the Vikings. And they still do not have family names. Just as Eirik the Red's son, Leifur, became known as Leif Eiriksson, if a modern Icelander named Harold has a son and names him Jóhann, he will be Jóhann Haroldsson. His son will have the last name Jóhannsson; his daughter will be Jóhanndóttir.

    So I suppose if I was born 2,500 miles east of my actual birthplace, my Icelandic name would be Sean Lawrencesson. What would be yours?