Can you roll your R’s? I can’t, which is why my grandchildren call me Besti. This is a name that I invented, when our first grandchild was born, as a shortening of bestemor, which is Norwegian for grandmother. Bestemor is hard to say, I find, because it has an R at the end of it. This might not seem to be an insuperable problem in the normal way. However, you pronounce the last letters of words in Norwegian, and if you can’t roll your R’s, and the word ends with R, it’s difficult.
R’s are either rolled, as in Spanish, or rasped, as in French, depending on which bit of Norway you live in. Now, we live in the rolling bit, and although I’ve lived here for over 40 years, I still can’t roll my R’s. (However, I do have a cunning trick, which is a sort of ‘th’ sound, only with my tongue much further back, and it sounds like a very short rolled R).
Other names for grandmother are Mormor – Mothermother, and Farmor – Fathermother, self-explanatory really. They can, however, be a bit confusing, and apparently lead to quarrels among the grandchildren, if you have both sons and daughters. Even though we have no sons, I decided against Mormor straight away, for, as the discerning reader will have noticed, not only do these words have R’s at the ends, they also have them in the middle. You’d have to roll your R’s twice, in one word.
So that’s how Besti came about, short, simple, and not an R in sight.