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Contributor Contrib.Lucille on 8/13/2007
The first element of this name is derived from Proto-Germanic beran or bernu "bear" (bero and bern in Old High German). The second element comes from laifa, which in turn is derived from Gothic laiba (leiba in Old High German and leifr in Old Norse) "remnant, remains." By that, they actually meant the person that is left behind after one's death, so laifa is best translated (depending on the context) as "heir" or "survivor."