I have been searching for the meaning of the name Garten, an island in connection with Ørland in Fosen, coastal Trøndelag. And so have a lot of other people. Some think it might have been a german passing by, calling it a garden. But that theory is not working.
Of course I am searching within Saami meaning, Saami dictionary. Because I strongly believe that this area was a Saami stronghold conquered. The Ørland means land looking like an ear. The Ear of Fosen. The Ear-land.
At the edge of Ørland the name is Beian. On an old map I think I can read Beijen. I believe that this comes from the meaning ear in southern Saami language: Bieljie.. Not from the word sun; biejjie, as earlier came to my mind. So if we were to give Ørland a Saami name it could be Bieljie eatneme eller Bieljie pliehkie? Or maybe it ought to be Eatneme Bieljie eller Bieljie laante?
Now, if we go back to the meaning of Garten – my grandfather used to call the two or three rocky hills on the Garten as the “Gajrth kvigan” as heifers, animals. If you look at the word Gaaltenje it means a small herd of reindeers, separated from the others. So maybe it once was meant as reindeer doe?
But a much more funny solution to the “problem” of the strange name “GARTEN” is the word GAARHTE which actually means: hard, dried ear wax!! The small island is the earwax of the ear land! Is seems very plausible, because this is the kind of humor I can recognize in the Saami culture, and with my grandfather as well.
(Laughing Out Loud)
This is how I imagine it going:
The Dane/German/Norse arriving at the edge of Ørland asking a man he meet: – What do you call this place? The man who is a Saami understands after a while what he ask and reply - Bieljie. The man go: – What? The man tries to explain pointing on his ear. The Dane writes down Øre landet. The ear land. Which you can find as a spelling on old maps. Then he points at Garten and ask him about the name. He replies Gaaltenje. The man repeats something that sounds like Gaarhte. The Saami man laughs and agree.