Several have aproved baby name list:
The UK and USA are so liberal that in recent years, six boys have been named Gandalf, and somewhat ironically, several girls have been called Unique. Imagine, then, picking out the perfect name for your baby, only for it to be vetoed by the powers that be.
And the law won
Many countries have lists of acceptable names from which to choose. Denmark has an approved list of 7,000, mainly Western European and English, while in Portugal, there's a 39-page list of permitted names, and 41 pages of banned monikers, including Maradona and Mona Lisa.
German law dictates that first names must be gender-specific, can't be a trademark and mustn't 'endanger the wellbeing of the child'. The names Hitler and Osama are both forbidden.
Extra birthday, anyone?
Traditionally, Czech babies are given a name from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Each corresponds to a particular day of the year, when every person with that name celebrates their 'name day' – like an extra birthday.
In China, 85 per cent of the population share just 100 surnames. That adds up to 93 million Wangs – over one and a half times the total population of Britain – and 92 million Lis. Double-barrelled surnames are prohibited, as are those containing Western characters.
Italian children are traditionally named after their grandparents, choosing from the father's side of the family first. As a rule, the firstborn son is named after his paternal grandfather and the second after his maternal grandfather. The first daughter takes her paternal granny's name; the second, her maternal grandma's.
Moroccan parents have to choose from a mostly Arabic list, but can pay a fee for using certain off-list names, such as Adam. The list also applies to babies born to Moroccan fathers elsewhere in the world; babies without approved names may encounter problems entering the country in future.
In Nigeria, children are given at least three names – one by the mother, one by the father (a great way to avoid those 'what shall we call him?' arguments), and a third and sometimes fourth by close relatives, such as grandparents. When the child grows up, he chooses to keep two of these names, and adds his father's, grandfather's, or great-grandfather's name.
The spelling police
The Mexican state of Chihuahua enforces strict rules on baby-naming. Names such as Lluvia (meaning rain) and Azul (blue) are not considered proper, and if a child has a Western first name, she must be given a Spanish middle name. Unusual spellings are outlawed, too – even Elisabeth is deemed too wacky.
Venezuela has a tradition of unusual baby names (Hengelberth, anyone?), but officials have proposed a bill that would restrict parents to choosing from a list of just 100 approved names.
But you wouldn't, would you?
New Zealand vetoes names that could cause offence or are over 100 characters. In recent years, the names Yeah Detroit, Sex Fruit, Fat Boy and Fish and Chips (twins) have been blocked. People, eh?
The Associated Press on July 24, 2008, and other news outlets, have reported that a judge in Australia overseeing a custody case ordered a name change for a 9-year-old girl whose custody was contested. The name given to her by her parents was Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii. The girl in that case, Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii, was so embarrassed by her given name that she refused to use it.
The AP story cited several other baby names in addition to Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii that have been rejected by Australian courts including Fish and Chips, Sex Fruit, and Yeah Detroit. Inexplicably, the names Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence escaped scrutiny in this country where the law precludes names that would cause offense to the reasonable person.
Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii and the other banned Australian names are just a sampling of bizarre names parents have attempted to name, and in some cases succeeded in naming, babies in recent years.
A New Zealand court last year forbid a family from naming their baby 4Real. That name choice was said to be motivated by the parents' amazement on seeing their baby's ultrscan.
In 2006, Malaysia published a list of forbidden baby names in an effort to discourage parental choices such as Hitler, Smelly Dog, and 007. Among the names banned by Malaysian authorities: Khiow Khoo (Hunchback), Chow Tow (Smelly Head), Sor Chai (Insane), and Woti (sexual intercourse).
Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii, Violence, Smelly Dog... what are parents thinking when they choose these names?
No Tulula Does the Hula from Hawaii in These Countries
Many countries have naming laws that are designed to prevent lifelong embarrassment to the baby. Such countries often attempt to forestall the use of aliases by requiring that people use only their given names. In France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and Argentina, among other countries, parents of newborns are required to choose names from a government-approved list. In Denmark, the government list includes 7,000 names. Denmark parents wishing to name their baby any name not listed require church approval.
Two children in the United States have been named ESPN after the sports network.
But some of the most bizarre names given to babies in the United States have been given to children of celebrities. Four decades ago, musician Frank Zappa drew attention when he named his first two babies Moon Unit and Dweezil. The hospital refused to put the name Dweezil on the Dweezil's birth certificate, something the family did not discover until Dweezil was 5 years old. At that point, they petitioned a court to legally change the boy's name from Ian to Dweezil. Since then other celebrities have chosen bizarre names for their babies including: Comedian Penn Jillette who named his daughter Moxie Crimefighter. Shannyn Sossamon chose to name a child Audio Science. Jermaine Jackson named a daughter Jermajesty.
The British musician David Bowie named his baby Zowie.
Bizarre Name Regrets
When no one steps in to stop them, do parents ever regret giving their babies bizarre or unusual names?
A British couple is said to have come to regret naming their son Drew Peacock upon belatedly realizing that running the name together can produce an unsavory interpretation.
Well, OK, I’ve already broken my rule about spending more than 4 hours on a post. I set out to write about something told to me orally by a usually reliable source, but despite Googling my fingers to the bone I can’t seem to verify it anywhere - at least not online, for free, in a language I can read. However, in my science life I found that we often learn more from a failed experiment than a successful one, and maybe that will happen here too. Readers, please help me if you can!
Established: In some countries - reputedly “free” countries at that - you can’t name your baby just anything you want. You have to choose from an approved list or get an authority, such as a court or a church, to grant an exception. (Some in the U.S., where celebrities have counted on giving their babies weird names as a source of free publicity since the late, celebrated musician Frank Zappa named his first two children “Dweezil” and “Moon Unit,” are appalled by the existence of these laws, possibly because it creates a trade deficit in weird-baby-name jokes).
In question: Whether Norway has recently dropped some extremely traditional names, such as “Bjorn” (which means “bear”) from the approved list. Can anyone tell me whether this is or isn’t true (and preferably supply a reference)?
Names, as a subset of languages, can become a type of cultural property after they are handed down for generations. When laws restrict the range of possible baby names, the names on the approved list are generally traditional (at least in the culture that got to make up the list), so they help preserve that aspect of the culture. When the lists are too short or biased in favor of the country’s majority culture, the laws can also act to suppress the naming traditions of other cultures whose members live in the jurisdiction, such as immigrants and resident cultural minorities. Because of this side effect, human-rights organizations have called for - and achieved - reforms in some countries’ personal naming laws. Some of these countries also have laws that prohibit people from being “known by” any name but their legally recognized one. Probably intended to deter the use of aliases for criminal purposes, this type of law can incidentally lead to hassles with trademarks, a type of intellectual property.
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland have this type of personal naming law. So do Germany, Portugal, Argentina, and the Mexican state of Chihuaua, among others. The general class of personal-name legislation usually began by regulating surnames to make things easier for record-keepers in central governments. The need was particularly urgent in Scandinavia, where surnames under the Old Norse tradition generally changed with every generation: Frederik’s son Thor was Thor Frederiksson, but his son Olaf was Olaf Thorsson, and so on. (Icelanders still use the Old Norse naming system; Denmark, which otherwise insists on generationally-constant surnames, allows Danish Icelanders an exception which it recently extended to the Faroe Islands). The laws then expanded to regulate the range of legal name-changes so that no one could choose a name that confused, scandalized, or offended local sensibilities; many of the original intended targets were 18th- and 19th-century nouveau-riche suspected of wanting to cadge noble surnames to which they were not entitled.
When the lawmakers in these countries undertook to regulate babies’ given names, their stated intent was noble, if doomed to failu