What’s in a Name? Turns out Everything

All over the world, parents are getting more experimental with names for their children and this has opened up the door for new laws to be set in place: laws banning certain baby names.

Now you’re probably thinking, what could lead a nation to start restricting names? Well the answer to that becomes extremely clear when you see names like Google and Brooklyn chosen by parents. Think of how these children would suffer in school, college, and even workplaces.

For this reason, countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Germany have all passed naming laws.

Sweden and Germany both passed laws stating that first names shall be rejected if they are insulting or might cause discomfort to the recipient of the name. Iceland went further and stated that all names have to come from the National Register of Persons. Any other name requires approval and the parents would have to pay a fee to the Iceland Naming Committee. Denmark’s law is probably the strictest of them all stating that all names have to come from a list of 7000 pre-approved names and any exceptions would require permission from a local church as well as government officials.  The laws in all of these countries require a name to be gender specific in order to pass and ban the use of last names or names of products as first names.

Countries in the East have a different approach to name screening. China and Japan both and character based script and only a fraction of these characters can be represented on a computer. These countries require that all names be such that they can be represented technologically for accurate representation on ID cards.

These bans have often been challenged but when the list of rejected names is presented to the concerned international community, proposals such as “Veranda”, Albin  and “Fish and Chips” quickly convince people of the necessity for such laws.

Manali Banarjee