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You named the baby WHAT?

February 1, 2013 - Jodelle Greiner
What if you named your new baby and the government said you couldn’t name the child that?

It actually happened in Iceland, where a girl, now 15, finally won the right to be called by the name her mother gave her.

According to the Associated Press, Icelandic authorities declared “Blaer” was not a proper feminine name. “Blaer” means “light breeze”.

Blaer Bjarkardottir had been identified simply as “Girl” in communications with officials up until Thursday when the Reykjavik District Court finally ruled she can use “Blaer” as her name.

Blaer told the AP she was happy with the ruling and glad it was over. She had told the court she was happy with her name and the only problems she’d had were with the state authorities.

Iceland is one of the countries that have laws about what a baby can be named. In Iceland’s case, names must indicate the person’s gender and must conform to Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules — the AP said names like Carolina and Christa, while feminine, are not allowed because the letter “c” is not part of Iceland’s alphabet.

Japan is another country trying to protect the native language. According to “8 Countries with Fascinating Baby Naming Laws” on mentalfloss.com, there are a couple thousand "name kanji" and "commonly used characters" for use in naming babies, and only these official kanji may be used in babies' given names. The purpose of this is to make sure that all names can be easily read and written by the Japanese.

In some countries, there are approved lists that parents can chose from. Some of those countries are France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and Argentina. In Portugal, the Ministry of Justice's website includes 39 pages of officially-sanctioned names and 41 pages of those which are banned, according to the BBC News website. Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, China, and Norway are some other countries with baby name rules. In fact, in Denmark, if parents want to name the kid something not on the approved list, they have to get permission from the local church, followed by a review by authorities.

To us Americans, this might sound like Big Brother on steroids, until you read some of the names these countries have refused to allow and you wonder if these parents are mature enough to be raising a child.

According to the BBC News website, a couple in New Zealand was blocked in 2007 from naming their baby 4Real because names that start with numbers are unacceptable. So they named the baby Superman. “8 Countries with Fascinating Baby Naming Laws” on mentalfloss.com includes names that have been rejected and accepted by the various countries. One of the names that Japan has rejected is Akuma, which doesn’t sound so bad until you realize it means “devil.” Denmark rejected the name Anus. Among the names New Zealand has rejected are Fish and Chips, Sex Fruit, Satan and Adolf Hitler.

Honestly? What were these parents thinking? People like these are why those practical Germans have declared the name must not negatively affect the well-being of the child.

Some parents do it to be cute or think they’re being funny. Some do it as an inside joke. Others, like the couple in Sweden who named their kid "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116" (to be pronounced Albin, according to mentalfloss.com) in protest of the naming law, are trying to make a statement. Some like thumbing their noses at the world or getting attention for themselves.

As someone who has had an unusual name my whole life — yes, that’s the name my mother gave me — I just want to whack these parents upside the head and give them a good shake besides. Your child’s name is not the time to get cutesy or give them a joke name or foist off your political beliefs.

Be mature enough to choose your child’s name with love and consideration. This is what your kid will have to answer to and live with for the rest of their life and it should be something they can be proud of.

As for “Blaer”, I think it’s a nice name, has a pleasant meaning, and is fine as a female name. I don’t know why the Icelandic authorities had a 15-year problem with it.

 
 

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