Skip to comments.Who, What, Why: Why do some countries regulate baby names?
Posted on 02/04/2013 8:01:20 AM PST by SeekAndFind
A 15-year-old Icelandic girl has won the right to keep her first name, despite it being "unapproved" by the state. Why do some countries restrict baby names?
Parents-to-be often find it hard enough to find a name they both like, let alone one the state might also be in favour of.
Bjork Eidsdottir had no idea when, in naming her newborn girl Blaer 15 years ago, she was breaking the law.
In the eyes of the authorities Blaer, which means "light breeze", was a male name and therefore not approved. It meant that for her entire childhood, Blaer was known simply as "Girl" on official documents.
But Reykjavik District Court ruled on Thursday that it could indeed be a feminine name.
"Finally I'll have the name Blaer in my passport," she said after the ruling.
Several countries - such as Germany, Sweden, China and Japan - also restrict names. Why?
In the case of Iceland, it's about meeting certain rules of grammar and gender, and saving the child from possible embarrassment. Sometimes, although not in every case, officials also insist that it must be possible to write the name in Icelandic.
There is a list of 1,853 female names, and 1,712 male ones, and parents must pick from these lists or seek permission from a special committee.
Similar concerns about child welfare are present in Germany, where a Turkish couple were not allowed to call their baby Osama Bin Laden.
One couple named their baby Berlin after the city in which they met, prompting the registrar to mount an objection. He eventually relented after the family's lawyer pointed out that the courts had allowed the name London.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
Gender confusion prevented a German boy being Matti, because the sex of the baby wouldn't be obvious. And you won't find any Germans named Merkel, Schroeder or Kohl, either, because surnames are banned as first names.
The name 4Real fell foul of authorities in New Zealand, because names cannot start with a number.
LOL, Iceland would have blown a fuse if they named her Thor, Swen, or Jens.
Instead of names, if we all had numbers followed by one or two letter prefixes, the government could easily assign them to us.
... an item our forefathers forgot:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, prevent childhood embarrassment, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
In answer to the article's question: They do it because they can.
We can almost all agree on the psychological damage of naming your kid "Adolf Hitler", but no-one seems to want to discuss the same in regards to the made-up names and pronunciations that proliferate nowadays.
By the way, does this mean you can’t name a boy “Sue”?
“If we all had numbers followed by one or two letter prefixes,”
Stop that-you are giving me chills-I take it you have read Ira Levin’s “This Perfect Day”?
“L’trina” is one of those names that should be outlawed, in spite of the 1st Amendment./s
Imagine the embarassment in twenty years for all those children named “Barack”.
“La-sha”, the dash don’t be silent.
If those names are outlawed,
how are employers going to screen out
“more trouble than they’re worth”
If I recall, didn’t Hitler destroy the building that housed his birth records? (nee: Shicklgruber or whatever)
Paging Richard Head...
RE: does this mean you cant name a boy Sue?
Consider these names, which when heard for the first time, would confuse people as to the person’s gender:
GLEN CLOSE ( I prefer GWEN CLOSE )
CAMERON DIAZ ( I prefer Camila Diaz )
DREW BARRYMORE ( I prefer Dew Barrymore )
TAYLOR SWIFT ( I prefer Tanya Swift )
LINDSAY GRAHAM ( Can’t think of a substitute name for the senator)
HALEY BARBOUR (Why not HALE BARBOUR?)
JAIMIE FOXX ( I prefer JAMES Foxx )
BLAKE LIVELY (I prefer Blanche Lively )
SEAN YOUNG ( I prefer Sheena Young )
MORGAN FAIRCHILD ( Can’t think of a name to replace this with — MORGANA? )
KELSEY GRAMMAR ( I prefer Ken Grammar )
ASHTON KUTCHER ( I prefer Al Kutcher )
(add your names here )
My dad protected me from possible “childhood embarrassment” all by himself-he was on active duty when I was born, and wasn’t available for my naming. When he heard the name my mom had chosen (from a book she was reading), he simply told her that it was a stupid name and I was not to ever be called by it, end of discussion. He said I was to be called by the name I have today, and so I was-no approved list needed.
I never heard my birth name until I was about 4, and an aunt was discussing the incident with my mom-I’ve never used it.
I don't believe "Ima Hoare" would ever "embrace" her name. Go after her parents with a tire iron, more likely.
Here are a few examples of why people want name oversight: Chlamydia, Ladashla, Anfernee, Chrisshonta, LaDarius
Frankly, I'm for parental rights and the right to change your name when you are of legal age. There is only so much that society should do to protect the children of stupid parents.
Ha. What would they think of Michael Jackson who named his kid “Blanket” (not really his of course), or Gwyneth Paltrow who named her kid “Apple”? Not that Gwyneth is a real name of course.
I was thinking of THX 1138, actually. My bad, a three letter prefix.
RE: I don’t believe “Ima Hoare” would ever “embrace” her name.
I heard that she changed her name to “Ura”. :)
She might want to disown her parent’s family name as well.
Hey, if Cassius Clay can change his name to Muhammad Ali, Lew Alcindor to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Ron Artest to Meta World Peace, I’m sure Ms. Hoare can change her family name to “Saint”, or “Hero”.
Those are names of places and things, though-people have been naming kids after those forever, dumb or not. An old hippie chick of my acquaintance out here named all 5 of her kids after trees and flowering plants. A Brit friend named her kids after the state they were born in, and a country-Wyoming, Montana and India-and she pronounces it “Indjia”...
Or change her name to “Mary Jane Andrews” or something equally bland.
LOL-in the book, kids were given an approved short letter prefix, and a number-like Ann252-it was called a “nameber”. Scary book, especially now-you should read it.
Actually, Gwyneth is a fairly commom name in Britain-a very old name.
“Not that Gwyneth is a real name of course”.
Actually, it is a Welsh name meaning “fair and white”.
I know a family, locally, who adopted a child named Richard and had his name legally changed - to “Buckshot.”
“Ima Hogg (July 10, 1882 August 19, 1975), known as “The First Lady of Texas”, was an American philanthropist, patron and collector of the arts, and one of the most respected women in Texas during the 20th century”
Several years ago i recall a woman in a Scandinavian country being given a jail term for naming her son “Christophpher.”
And tatoo them on our arms!
Thank you-I never looked up the meaning. Wales, Scotland and Ireland have some of the loveliest names in the old language(s) of the pre-Roman population.
“I’m for parental rights and the right to change your name....”
I am as well. The U.S. has so many cultures/ethnicities in it. Good or bad.. does someone really advocate a government book of pre-approved names? I am not fond of the name “Hester” or “Gertrude”.. but parents have the right to name their daughter that name. Sometimes.. I think names are in the eyes of the beholder.
and there is a vein in the black community that claims there is name discrimination because people hear a black sounding name in a phone interview and make assumptions.
1. The NY Times has a reporter named Jennifer 8 Lee, and please remember that there is no period after the 8.
2. Sometimes names can become unpopular very quickly:
“Sometimes names can become unpopular very quickly..”
Like the name Monica. When I was a kid, there were several Monica’s that I knew. I don’t hear the name in school anymore.
Problem is...Germany now has, probably, about 1 million Mohammeds and counting. All that name regulating for naught.
Well when the interview starts off with the interviewee being highly offended about how the name is pronounced, it’s not hard to imagine.
One of my cub’s friends named her girlchild “Aubergine”, because she heard the word on TV and liked it-when she was told it referred to eggplant in French, she didn’t seem to care, stuck the kid with the name anyway...
"How do you do...now you're gonna die".
Still missing The Man in Black.
I haven't read it yet, but he has another book 'The Man in White'. I think it might be spiritual.
Many of the gender-neutral names seem to be last names used as first, like Sargant Shriver,Mackenzie Philips or Ashley Wilkes. Personally, I would use a last name as a middle name or else give the child a middle name that could be used as a gender specific first name, as in F. Scott Fitzgerald or G. Gordon Liddy.
There is also the problem of names drawn from pop culture. By the time the child is entering school, the program in question may be cancelled, or the movie relegated to the bargain bin. Or else, the child may grow up to be different than his namesake, say an asthmatic named Anankin.
RE: Sometimes names can become unpopular very quickly:
I think Judas used to be a common name during the time of Jesus. Now, nobody names their children Judas.
Jude, I’ve heard, but Judas? Not any more.
too bad, Judas was a very good name, it means PRAISE.
Sheila Jackson Lee wants hurricanes to be given "black names."
So, I guess we could have a Hurricane LaWanda.
SJL is such a race baiter.
There is/was a real Ima Hogg.
Hoggs - very wealthy family in Texas.
Back in the 30s, there was a bandleader by the name of "Harry Horlick".
Maybe the girl will shorten it to “Ginny” or “Amber”. That being said, I am probably a wee bit more sensitive to names than some freepers. Our youngest daughter was adopted from China. In Chinese, the last name is first. For orphans, they list all of that regions last names as we would our state. All of their first names would be like our cities. The following name would be something superficial like the Chinese word for moon, or the shape of the face. Thus, each orphan name corresponded to a number. So, Texas, Houston-Ann is 5244887424. Texas, Houston-Jill is 5224484666. The Chinese sort of liked/pushed/suggested we keep one of the Chinese names. Not us.. we named her a name that we liked and chose. Okay... so she has two Irish first names but they suit her far better than a number. I always saw naming a child with these eyes: if you carry them, deliver them and are responsible for them then you name then what you like.
Oh they're right about that, Jack! Any document I ever saw during the hiring process that had punctuation, obvious disregard for conventional spelling (plenty of literate whites do this because their baby is so special), was simply not a name (e.g. "Blanket" from an earlier post) or "made a statement" (it's mostly white hippies doing this), went straight into the trash pile.
May I offer Key & Peele’s “East-West College Bowl” sketch: