What's in a Name? Ask the Icelandic Girl Who Had to Fight in Court for the Right to Use HersMeredith Carroll
It’s one of those special things about pregnancy — deciding what to name your future child. Some people use family names, some pour through baby-naming books. Others wait until the baby is born to decide what he or she looks like.
There are children bestowed with outlandish, traditional or modern names. Some parents simply make them up. But for one girl in Iceland, the perfectly normal name given to her at birth by her mom was illegal, apparently. That’s why she went to court to fight for the right to use it.
Blaer Bjarkardotti, 15, recently won the legal right to use the name that her mom gave her, despite the objections of Icelandic authorities because the country has strict laws on names, according to Yahoo News.
“Blaer” means “light breeze,” which hardly seems offensive, although authorities deems it an improper feminine name. Prior to the court ruling, in all official correspondence, Blaer was referred to simply as “Girl.”
The ruling means Blaer may now get new identity papers and a passport with her birth name. It also means other girls in the country can be named Blaer moving forward. Her mom maintains she was unaware that the name was on the no-no list.
Based on testimony in court, it was proven that the name Blaer could be used by people of either gender, and that it was Blaer’s constitutional right to to be called by her own name. The Icelandic government had argued that if she used it, it would be a black mark against their language.
Other girl names forbidden in Icelandic include Carolina and Christa, according to Yahoo News, because the letter “c” is not in their alphabet.
Iceland isn’t the only country with strict rules about baby names. Germany and Denmark are among the other countries that want names to mesh with the native language’s grammar and pronunciation rules.
Photo credit: iStockphoto