Saturday, February 2, 2013

What's in a Name? A Lot, Just Ask Iceland

Iceland's citizens still adhere to an age old naming tradition of using the first name of the father as the basis for the last name. For example, if the dad's first name is Alex, the child's last name will be Alexsson or Alexsdóttir depending on the gender. The name reflects the immediate family and not the historic family lineage.

First names need to be chosen from an approved list. Blaer Biarkardottir's mother did not get this memo. Blaer has been in the news recently for her struggle to be called by her birth name. Blaer, not an approved name, has been referred to as 'girl' by officials since her contention began in late December. 

The acceptance of a name by the Icelandic Naming Committee is only granted if it can be easily incorporated into the Icelandic language. The name is considered for its compatibility with traditions and if it will cause the child embarrassment in the future. Too bad celebrity babies Jermajesty and Pilot Inspektor weren't born in Iceland. Also, only letters of the Icelandic alphabet can be used, although exceptions have been made.


Blaer, 15 yrs old, was recently granted the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother, despite Iceland's strict law. This was an appeal over a previous decision by officials who declared that Blaer was not a proper feminine name.


See if you pass the test: I do not
List of approved Icelandic male names here
List of approved Icelandic female names here

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