An Apple by any other name - Macleans.ca
 

An Apple by any other name

Naming laws seek to shield children from their parents’ eccentricities


 

Historical, biblical, painstakingly unique or exceptionally common, first names are the great marker of identity. New parents need to look no further than the Internet for thousands of options, and some even enlist the help of naming consultants and numerologists to find the perfect moniker. For every thousand people in the world named Sarah or Michael, there’s an Apple, Pilot Inspektor or Sage Moonblood. But depending on where you live, your proposed name for your new baby could be illegal. Though North Americans are free to name their children almost anything—a New Jersey couple named their son Adolf Hitler in 2005—countries in Europe and Asia have enacted more stringent laws to protect children from their parents’ eccentric whims.

Germany: Children’s vornamen (first names) must be gender-specific, and are approved or rejected by the Standesamt, the office of vital statistics. Appealing a rejected name can be both time consuming and costly, and requires parents to think of a new name each time one is rejected. Because naming can be such a hassle, many parents opt for traditionally popular names such as Elisabeth or Alexander. Name changes are allowed in certain circumstances, such as marriage, clerical error or gender reassignment surgery. The name Matti was rejected for a baby boy because German officials deemed it too ambiguous.

Sweden: Sweden’s naming law was enacted in 1982, and was originally passed to prevent non-noble families from giving their children noble names. Elisabeth Hallin and Lasse Diding decided to name their son Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, pronounced Albin, in 1991 to protest the country’s naming laws. Because they didn’t register their son’s name until his fifth birthday, Hallin and Diding were hit with a 5,000 kronor fine. They appealed the decision and tried to change their son’s name to A, also pronounced Albin, but the courts refused to accept the name and upheld the fine. Google, however, was deemed an acceptable middle name when Elias and Carol Kai named their son Oliver Google Kai in 2005. Michael and Karolina Tomaro locked themselves in a lengthy court battle for the right to name their daughter Metallica, after their favourite band. Baby Metallica was initially denied a passport, but the opposition dropped their case in 2007.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s laws leave a bit more room for interpretation, but registrar officials have been known to try to talk parents out of giving their children unusual names. Names cannot be offensive, unreasonably long, have inadequate justification or include or resemble an official title or rank. Although Sex Fruit, Fish and Chips and Adolf Hitler were rejected, there are people named Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence somewhere in New Zealand. Names also cannot begin with a number, much to the frustration of Pat and Sheena Wheaton, who wanted to name their son 4Real. Undeterred by the rejection of 4Real by the country’s registrar of births, deaths and marriages, the Wheatons opted for the name Superman instead. The couple said they still planned to call their son 4Real at home.

China: Chinese names are written with the family name first and the given name second, and babies are named based on the ability of computer scanners to read those names on national identification cards. Non-Chinese symbols and characters are not allowed, and, as of now, Chinese symbols that cannot be recognized on computers are not allowed. Wang @ was rejected as a baby name due to the inclusion of an unusual symbol. @ in Chinese is pronounced “ai-ta” and is similar to a phrase that means “love him.” Unofficial cultural naming taboos also exist that discourage people from naming their children after exalted people in China and neighbouring nations.

Denmark: Denmark might just have the strictest laws in Europe when it comes to naming. Parents can only choose from a list of 7,000 government-approved names—3,000 for boys, 4,000 for girls. If parents want to deviate from the official list, they have to get permission from their local parish, where names are registered. Alternative spellings of common names and gender-ambiguous names are most commonly appealed by parents hoping to make their children unique, but about 15 to 20 per cent of more than 1,000 names that are reviewed each year are rejected. Jakobp, Bebop, Ashleiy are examples of rejected names, but parents Greg Nagan and Trine Kammer had their daughter’s name Molli Malou approved in 2004 after having to write a letter to the Danish government explaining why they chose an uncommon spelling—they liked it.


 
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An Apple by any other name

  1. I think that its good to have some restrictions on names. Children are not dolls. They are people who will have to go through life with what you give them. Seriously, what kind of respectable job will a child named Foxxy Mumu get? And who is going to trust a boy named Adolf Hitler? Just because you are"unique" ( to put it politley) individuals doesn't mean society will be as accepting. Some parents need to grow up!

    • But certainly that's their decision to make. The kid is their offspring. How would you feel if society was telling you how to raise your kid?

      • Society does tell us how to raise our kids, that's what social mores is all about.

        • I guess needs to be noted that there is a difference between applying social pressures and threatening legal action.

          • I guess it needs to be noted as well that there is a difference between threatening legal action and just not allowing someone to do something stupid.

          • You're right, of course. But there's still a difference between applying social pressure and empowering bureaucrats with the authority to censor names based on arbitrary standards.

          • Empowering bureaucrats is only deemed necessary because of the existence of a number of foolish people. Don't blame the government. Blame it on the people who makes it necessary to have rules like that.

            Also, the rules are not arbitrary, they have a number of requirements/criteria. It's not like if you apply from one registrar will you get a different outcome than if you had tried in a different one.

          • Clearly we have different ideas as to the role of the government in people's lives. In my view, this whole thing is unnecessary government intrusion. Too often people are more than willing to ask the government impose itself on ridiculously insignificant details of other's lives.

            Honestly, what's the worst that could happen if someone was given a stupid name?

          • And y es, complete unnecessary government intrusion.

            There's too much BS about political correctness and this and that. Children learn what they live. If they live in a grass hut, tending to the family goats all day, and learn that hard work will put food on the table and everyone in their village shares in one another's good fortune, then they are raised as respectable human beings. Regardless of their name, dress, status, creed, religion.

            Our planet would do far greater good if we dropped all these walls and barriers that we cling to, that only work in seperating us by class, gender, race and religion, and called one another whatever the hell we want without having to be forced to conform to what the supposed majority (sheep) consider to be the "norm".

            Thank you

        • Sorry but society DOESN'T tell us how to raise our kids. We use our COMMON SENSE as caring, feeling, logical, human beings. I think society in general, regardless where you live is too uptight with what is supposedly considered normal. No one can say what's normal, no one can say what is incorrect or correct when it comes to raising children, as long as they are raised with a general caring for their fellow man, woman and child, and do unto others as they would have done unto them.

    • No, there should not be restrictions on names. The government doesn't need to protect a child from having a bad name, naming is a parents prerogative. Should we also force immigrants who have complicated names to change those to something more "Canadian"?

      And it's not like it's permanent. And do you really think that these little Adolf Hitler's are going to keep those names as adults? I think it's more likely that after a couple days in school the kid's going to come home and say they want to change their name because all the other kids hate them.

      The government can not cure stupidity.

      • I couldn't disagree more. So if the parents are abusing their children, because they themselves were abused as children, and think this is normal behaviour, the government should not intervene because it cannot cure ignorance?

        A bad name is a form of abuse. Children can be very very cruel, by the time the poor child becomes an adult, and is able to change the name, serious damage would have been made to the self esteem and what kind of opportunities in life this person will have.

        Some opportunities you never get back. The person may have reached adulthood without a single meaningful relationship. We're not talking names with weird spellings. There are parents that are sick enough to call their son Ben Dover. Seriously. If anything, I find that parents that try to name their children with ridiculous or offensive names should have their names instead changed to the name in question immediately at registrar officials.

        • A bad name is not a form of abuse. The other children being cruel, that might be abuse. Of course the kid also has the choice to adopt a nickname. There is simply no valid reason for the government to have any say in what a child's name is.

          • Why not given a "government acceptable name" to the child and have the child adopt his/her lovely parent's original chosen name as a nickname just at home and among friends if they wish?

          • Because you're way needlessly involves the government in having a list of "acceptable" names, and presumably a Department of Naming. This is quite literally cradle-to-grave Nanny-stateism at it's worst, in the hopes of maybe preventing a handful of children from being teased. Unnecessary government intrusion into the lives of individuals.

          • If it's just a handful that get affected by these restrictions I don't see how this is an intrusion.

            For instance, I would never call my son 4Real, Yahoo, Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 and so on. So if I lived in any of these countries and had not read this article, I might never know that the government is intruding on anyone's life.

          • So as long as it's not you they're bothering, government screwing with peoples lives is just fine? Fair 'nuff. But I posit that the list of acceptable names would shrink over time, as people came up with more and more reasons to ban particular names. Eventually, they'd be assigning names based on geography and parents heritage that were deemed acceptable.

          • I find the parents are the ones screwing with someone else's lives, not the government.

            So I gather you're in favor of having no rules. Let's just allow people do whatever they feel it's acceptable. Good plan, let's see how long humanity would resist.

          • I think it is worth noting that some of these strange names were given to protest naming laws. Government intrusion sometime creates the behavior it seeks to control; some people are resistant to authority by nature, and will always seek to push the limits. Personally I find these novelty names ridiculous, but have no wish to formally discourage parents from giving them. A name says a lot about a person, sometimes it says their parents are fools.

          • You're saying that if a parent named their child "The worst mistake of my life", that wouldn't be abusive? How about "Completely Worthless"? "Miserable Excuse for a Human Being"? "Rapist"? I can probably come up with worse, if you'd like, although some might not pass moderation.

            If you want to be libertarian about this, then if the parents name the child something that causes them hardship, the child should have the right to sue their parents for it later.

          • Assuming that the child was able to prove that the name caused them harm, that seems reasonable.

          • But why would a name that's not common in western society and not supposedly a "christiane name" or something that society deems as normal be considered abuse?

            Parents who think outside the box usually raise their children outside the box and teach them to accept everyone as equals, regardless of religion, race, creed, colour and name.

            Do unto others as you would have done unto you. I would hate to have to go around and explain my name to people who are too ignorant to shut the hell up and just accept me, the person, not the name !!!!

            Sheep sheep sheep sheep. It makes me a little ill to be quite honest.

            And why would a child sue the parents??? God Americans are so quick to sue. Sue sue sue, sue everybody !

          • I agree. One would hope that if parents chose to name their child something contrary to societal norms, that they would also instill a sense of pride in the name that would counter the inevitable mockery that would occur.

    • We all need a license to drive a car – but no license required to have (and name) a child.
      We need more government involved in raising children…not less!

      • That's easy to say until the government mandates something you disagree with.

        • Our government has a mandate? What in the world would it be?

  2. I think parents can name their children whatever they please because they like the names or like the spelling. But I think people who name their children interesting things need to think about the futur for their children. If you name you child Blahbloobleebla how easy will it be for this child to make friends at school or get a job? Or to be taken seriously during a crisis? Parents need to cut thier kids some slack. The kid will live with this name for the rest of their lives (unless they choose to change it when they reach adulthood) so would it be fair to the child to name it .com (or dotcom) just because you or your partner like this name? Some people are unique when naming their babies. But will other people be as accepting? Think about what your child will have to go through in life just because you "liked" the name you chose for them.

  3. I agree there should be some restrictions. I know someone who named her kids Leather and Suede. I know a a couple kids named Brin, one has a sibling named Quin the other Finn. Adolf , Hitler,Stalin Osama should all be banned.

    • Hey! My family name is Brin! But I wouldn't want a kid to have it for a first name…

      • What's wrong with Brin, or Bryn as it's sometimes spelled? My brother happens to be quite fond of his name.

    • As a teacher, I have come across a variety of interesting names throughout the years. I have actually taught an Osama (and an Uday, a Caesar, …). In speaking with Osama's parents, it was very difficult for them to decide whether or not to change their son's name (they suggested Westernizing it to Sam). Ultimately, they left it as Osama — which according to them, in Iraqi means "lion". Names have important historical and personal meaning for people and in this case, I believe they did the right thing. It was not their fault that such a revered name had been blemished by the malicious actions of a confessed murderer. You never know, perhaps this young Osama will one day redeem the name …

      • That is true, being named before the fact might not be a big deal but to go and name your child Adolf or Osama after the fact and then live in the countries where these names are shone in a negative light is just asking for trouble.

    • No, banning names because certain people have done bad things is a terrible idea. I live in a very German community, and there are still lots of Adolfs out there. Now, being that I'm not a moron, I don't assume them to be Nazi's. I mean, is nobody to name their children Tim anymore because Timothy McVeigh blew up a building? Or is there a certain # of people you have to kill before your name should be banned? What should that # be? Are there certain situations where killing is justified (ie. war)?

      This is the problem with banning things, it just becomes so damn arbitrary, and in the end, pointless.

  4. It's not incredibly difficult to change your own name. I've done it. So why don't these parents mess with their own names and screw themselves over instead of messing with these defenseless newborns?

    • Sensible idea!

    • You hit the nail on the head. I totally agree.

  5. My name is Joe. The name is so common that recemtly I had to complain about my neighbour (who's name is Joe) to the head of the condo board (also named Joe). Imagine that phone conversation: "Hello Joe? This is Joe. I'd like to complain about my neighbour Joe."

    • Funny!

    • Reminds me of Kids in the Hall … "These are the Dave's I know". We have at least 5 on our street — one being my husband. At the annual street party we always take a picture of "The Daves".

    • My brother is Bill, our father is Bill, my mother's only brother is Bill, and THEIR father is Bill…believe me, my mother fought tooth and nail not to name my brother that but, in the late 50's and early 60's, her vote didn't count for much.
      Family reunions are confusing.

    • Do you work in a button factory?

  6. tobad there were not some laws in place when poor old Englbert Humperdink was born.

    • Not even his real name! (unless you're talking about the German classical composer!)

    • That's his stage name not his real name!

      • If I heard correctly, his real name is Jerry Dorsey.

    • Actually , Englbert Humperdinck is what he renamed himself. He was born Arnold George Dorsey

    • Per Wikipedia: Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold George Dorsey, May 2, 1936) is a popular music singer who became famous internationally during the 1960s and 1970s, after adopting the name of the famous German opera composer Engelbert Humperdinck as his own stage name.

  7. That's terrible!

    Lai and Joy should be ashamed of themselves. Especially Lai. What if your name wasn't on the list?

    I guess you two haven't heard of nick names. People have terrible names all the time, I went to school with a Gargamel! We called him Bubby. People will call someone something easier if it's required, and they can take that nickname with them through life or change their name legally (less than $100 if I remember correctly).

    People should seriously lay off other parents and allow them to raise their children. We live in a country where people are having less and less children, we should be encouraging not discouraging people from having them.

    • Very good points all. I went to school with a kid whos name was Somekid, he was from Laos. We all (including him) chuckled about it, but it really wasn't that big a deal.

      Also, my brother has a weird name, and not once in my life have I ever heard anybody call him by that name. He's got a nickname that is all he's called by.

  8. @ SocialLiberal – no one is discouraging people from having children. They're discouraging them from naming them something ridiculous and having them consider the impact on a child's development. Kids can make fun of people with any kind of name, but think of how they'll go to town on some regular kid named Pilot Inspektor. The kind of taunting that goes on in young peoples lives is very taxing and can be carried on until adulthood….and all for the whim of parents? Not a responsible trade-off.

    • So, some restrictions are fine.

    • Are you really suggesting kids would make fun of someone named Pilot? I think it's a pretty cool name actually.

  9. I wish there were more rules on names. Some people are just morons when it comes to naming their child…at our school we have a William Nelson (willie nelson) poor kid!

    • Seriously> Poor you! For being so narrow minded. No one in young Willie's age group will even know who Willie Nelson was. Chill lady. It's a name.

      • you are so exactly right, besides the fact that Willie Nelson is an amazing artist. Can no one with the last name Nelson be named William, just because there was once a famous singer with the same name? Ridiculous!

  10. lol…4real? some people should be nutered

  11. there need to be some limits. sure, the kid can change their name when they are old enough to do so… but they have to go through childhood with that name and kids are cruel.

    Frank Zappa name one of his sons Dweezil (or tried but the hospital wouldn't let him so he used it as a nickname). When Dweezil found out at age 5 that Dweezil was not his legal name, he asked his parent to have it changed to this and the Zappa's went to court and won.

    The Zappa's also have a daughter named Moon Unit…. if it were anyone else these kids would have been outcasts, but the Zappa's home schooled their kids.

    Maybe they aren't the best example of how badly a childs life can be impacted by a strange name, since they all grew up to have promising careers in the entertainment industry as musicians and actors and such, but imagine if those names were given by someone who wasn't wealthy and sent those kids to a public school.

    • "but imagine if those names were given by someone who wasn't wealthy and sent those kids to a public school"

      Do you think that every immigrant kid with a "strange" name grows up traumatized? Dealing with someone who makes fun of your name is no different than dealing with someone who makes fun of your ratty clothes, scrappy hair, bad teeth, shitty skin, or whatever. Dealing with it is part of growing up and becoming a big boy. I do think lots of parents are idiots for the names they come up with, but there's no need to start banning things right away.

    • Moon and Dweezil would be accepted just fine by any child with parents who are accepting and loving and non-judgemental of all people. Who cares what the ignornat people think.

  12. In high School I had a friend Tom Lear whose sister Chrystal's middle name was Chanda. Put em together.

    • And does Chrystal live a happy fulfilling life, or is she a social outcast as many of the "ban everything" crowd here would believe?

    • I am a parent too. I'd like my kids to be proud of their names when they grow up. Your name will be your trademark for the rest of your life. Whether you decide to change it later on or not. Still people will remember you with the first. I work in a school (not a teacher), I've seen students from different backgrounds with names that are unique. I cannot help to smile sometimes when I see names like Rose Boobi with a last name (not to mention it exactly) Behind or Raine Drupdead or Assingh Butt. A woman from my nationality named Baby Girl Danswel. It's so funny to hear her grandkids calling her grama b-girl. And I'm not kidding. This is serious.
      Parents should realize the impact of their simple decision on their child. Their children will grow and live on their own someday. I am only talking about names here and I don't question anybody on how they raise their children.

      • "I don't question anybody on how they raise their children." but you feel it's fine to question the very moniker the child will grow up with? Sounds to me like your questioning how they raise their children.

  13. Names should not be jokes. Being a kid and trying to make it through school can be difficult enough without getting teased for something. At the same time, it must be difficult to be one of three Susan's in a classroom. We tried to keep all our kids names simple and spelled normally. They may encounter others with the same name, but will not likely be teased for their names or want to change them when they grow up.

    • Nobody can make it through school without being teased! Are you suggesting the government ban fat kids, skinny kids, short kids, tall kids, smelly kids, etc? My goodness, we'd have a nation of people who would be mentally incapable of receiving even the smallest criticism!

    • I have a common name, spelled simple, It's Melanie. You couldnt even begin to imagine what names kids teased me with. Who would have thought you could get watermelon melon head out of that. Kids are creative, they will tease whomever they please, weither its a simply normal name or not!

  14. Remind me of the story of the father who named his first son "Winner" and his second son "lLser"

    … surprising that Loser went on to become a police officer (going by his middle name) and Winner ended up in jail.

    • yikes typos "Reminds" & "Loser" lol @ "lLser"

  15. I went to school with a guy named Richard Head. He was named after his father and grandfather. Some of the kids would call him Dick but they would only do it once. I know a man named Osama – very nice guy – its a common name in some countries. The thing with language is that it changes. In ten years Bob might have a derogatory meaning or there might be an evil dictator named Steven. I think people need to think about the reprecusions on their kids, but we shouldn't be regulating free speach either.

    • First they come for the given names, then they'll be after our nicknames!

      • Holy shit guy! Ya think we've heard enough from you already?

    • I was with you until you misspelled speech…

  16. there was this on girl i know her name was freeda fondule like that is so immature

  17. ok, so how about the people who give their kids the same first name as last name? Ex: Pete Peters

    • My Junior High Gym teachers name was actually Pete Peters! He's a great guy!

    • I once had a teacher named William Williams – we called him Bill squared….

  18. There was a Genuine Ho at my high school and I also knew a Patty Cates. :(

  19. You think these guys are bad? In the xenophobic country of Greece, they only allow you to choose from a list of names that are approved by the Greek chuch/government (as they are very closely intertwined), which are considered 'pure Greek Christian names'. Anyone not wanting one of those names will either not be allowed to have their child baptised or registered, and then of course you can get in even more trouble. That also goes for those who are not even Christians.

    This is supposed to work in theory, as the official Greek government stance is that there are NO 'minorities' living in Greece, the ONLY country in the world that supposedly has a 0% minority rate, and is 100% 'ethnically pure'. Even though hundreds of thousands of Macedonians, Turks, Albanians and other minorities live there, the government refuses to recognise them and give them rights, so they remain persecuted from birth.

    But as the Greeks see it, if every single citizen in the country is 'pure Greek' anyway, then nobody should have a problem, right? Unfortunately for all those that are not Greek, it's a huge problem.

    • I was born in Greece and what you claim is simply not true. What you're referring to is the military dictatorship of 1968-73, which promoted a nationalistic, Christian identity. Needless to say, Christian/Biblical names are often of Hebrew decent, and not Greek at all. Greek names would be the ones used by the ancient Greeks, prior to Christianity. So what on earth are 'pure Greek Christian names'?

      I also question where you get your statistics from ('0% minority rate', etc.) – are these from some reputable source, or do you just have a hate on for Greece? I met a lot of Albanians, Filipinos, Nigerians, Iraqis and Afghans that live in Greece as I used to volunteer at the Greek Council for Refugees in Athens. I have not heard of any of them complaining about having to change their name, not being recognized or persecuted, or what-not. In fact, many of them own successful businesses and prosper, their children go to school, and they enjoy their lives.

      I don't think Greece is any more or less xenophobic than any other country…I had my name changed by Immigration Canada when I moved here as a child – is that any better?

      • Apologies, no idea why is shows up twice…

  20. When I worked in a clerical setting and had to file cards alphabetized in cabinets (It's all computerized now) there were a family of GAINs . They named their first a 'normal A. ' name, their second child Yetta, their third Watta , their fourth (and presumably last) Nevara. Those parents sent out a 'loud' message that their children weren't cherished, even as far as making it sound like the whole thing was a joke and a chore. Sad.

  21. Sigh! Don't these people who name their kids these strange names realize they come accross as trash? They should tattoo them as well–tattoos are so original these days (sarcasm absolutely intended)!

    • Dude, are you saying that getting barbed-wire tattooed on my bicep wasn't original?! Damn!

  22. I went to school with a guy named Micheal Hunt. Named after his dad. Everyone called him by Mike Hunt. Both words, everytime. I don't know what his parents were thinking. You would expect the dad had heard it enough times so he wouldn't subject his son to the same thing.

    Apparently, this name is part of a joke in the movie Porky's which is older than Mike Hunt Jr. so even if the dad didn't catch on in his own life you would think he would have seen this movie and reconsidered the wisdom of hitching his kid with that name.

    My pet peeve is people naming their kids after cars. Porche, Mercedes, Sierra, Sienna, Montana blah blah blah.

    Don't even get me started on Jaime Oliver's idiotic name choices…

    • *removes face from palms* Mercedes is a car brand named after a girl.

      • Maybe so but do you think the majority of people who name their daughters Mercedes, Mersadez, Mercediez et cetera are naming them after a luxury car or their great grandmothers? The few people I know who did this named them after the car.
        And yes, I realize the people choosing the name Montana are not naming them after the mini-van

  23. Parents should be able to (and in Canada thankfully still are) name their children whatever the hell they want. At the same time, parents shouldn't be idiots. At no point should we ever limit what an individual can be named, it's xenophobic and has no place in a free society.

    • thats the problem though-people are idiots-they continue to smoke in cars with their children, etc. how to determine who is ian idiot? how do you legislate idiosy????

  24. One could do as my parents did – listen to the priest! They wanted to name me after a great-grandfather, John, but the priest said "No, he was born on St. Vincent's day, and that's what you'll name him". He gave them the option of using John as a middle name. Given that our surname begins with D, this gave me the initials of VD. Never been too keen on those initials – nor, once I could think for myself, on the Church !

    • Sorry to hear about the initials. Kids can be mean. I thought of all those thigns before naming my daugther, Alivia. Something easy and not to many ways of twisting that name up. Hopefully.

  25. You should be able to name your kid whatever you want within reason. Like if you're gonna give your kid a joke name you shouldn't even be a parent at all. That's just terrible. How could you put your kid through that!?!? some people are just really stupid..

    • Like if you're gonna give your kid a joke name you shouldn't even be a parent at all.

      Agreed. If you try to name your kid something that falls outside of the traditional Anglo-saxon / Biblical naming convention, your parenting rights should be terminated immediately. No right of appeal either. Get it right the first time stupid!

      • You do realize the poster said a joke name, right? Not "something that falls outside of the traditional Anglo-saxon / Biblical naming convention".

        • Ah, I see. So the requirement is not so much that it fall within what society deems to be a 'normal' name. Rather, naming authorization should be conditional upon earnestness.

          Question: How would we measure earnestness?

          • Well if the name request is truly earnest, then the new parents would in fact be thankful if someone – be a friend or a registrar official, informed them of the potential ridicule their child would suffer in the future.

            If the parents are informed of the likelihood, even if small, that their child would suffer alienation, ridicule or hardship due to his/her name and decides to go ahead with the chosen name, is in itself a measure of earnestness.

          • Ah, but here you are talking about applying social pressure. There is a huge difference between asking someone if they are sure, and government regulated names.

  26. This trend of naming kids something unusual to make them stand out or creatively changing the spelling of more common names is even affecting people like me, who chose to name my child the perfectly simple name of "Andrea." You wouldn't believe the number of times I have been asked "how do you spell that?" I mean what do they think? It's Andrea, for crying out loud!

  27. Don't use your kid to prove your eccentricities. Yeah you can do it, but why would you stick such a stigma on your kid, assuming that you had one because you love them, not because you want to use them as your personal accessory, sounding board, or emotional punch bag.

    They have to live with it, not you. If you want to prove a point, change your own name to "Iman Idiot" then. But let your kids grow up normal, even if you're not.

  28. You are not completely free to name your child anything everywhere in Canada. In Quebec, names need to be approved by the government.

  29. Now that we've been able to engineer the malaria resistant mosquito, we're finally able to deal with the real problem facing humanity: Unauthorized, rogue names that may, or may not, contribute to an impossible to define adjustment of a child's self-esteem.

    The future of tomorrow… TODAY!

    • Repeat after me "Big Brother is Watching"!

      • I'm sure that there's a comment there. I guess I'm just missing it.

  30. It's funny that most people agree that parents shouldn't be jerks and give their kids awful names, yet we don't want to endorse some sort of regulation on naming or the right to control someone's life (ie being a parent). Even though it should be pretty obvious by now that if people have the opportunity to be stupid, a fair proportion of people will take it…

  31. I find that Canada need to set up something to make sure that parents are no allowed to name their kids wierd because when it comes school tim for those kids, they are just going to be picked on. I have a friend that named his 3 kids, 7, NeptuneBlue, and Starbucks. Really wrong.

    • It doesnt matter what your childrens names are they will get teased, be it a conventional name or an unconventional one. All that should matter is what you and your child feel about their name. If they grow up with confidence in their name then even when the other children start their teasing, YOUR child will get over it, the teasing does not last a life time, and with positive reinforcement from the parents the child will not loose that confidence. And if the name gets critisized in adulthood, maybe it is the one doing the teasing that should be questioned, not the name itself. It is to be expected that children will tease, adults on the other hand should be accepting and not 'judge a book by its cover', or name in this case.

      • i agree

  32. We forget that our parents own our names. Unless we decide to choose one ourselves. This can be done legally or not.

  33. THANK GOODNESS I LIVE IN CANADA & SHAME ON THOSE CONTROLLING OTHER COUNTRIES! Names can be an expression and a wish for a child. Seriously, a boy couldn't be named Matti in Germany? ! These countries should try working on bigger issues affecting their people. But from looking at these ideas maybe they shouldn't be making important decisions. Yes, I may not appreciate the name that someone else chooses for their child -but oh well! There are many people that I don't appreciate having children either so what can you do? You can't tell people what they can and can't name their children. I wish people cared more about parents giving their babies Koolaid and sugary processed foods (though often because they are less expensive then the healthy alternatives -so who can blame them) than what they name their children. Come on people!

    • I am German and I don't see why a child can't be named Matti – the registrar may ask the parents to choose a middle name that clearly identifies the gender but that's it. After all, a man can have "Maria", the German version of "Mary", as a middle name and any registrar will accept that.

      If people were a little more sensible about naming their children, rules and regulations wouldn't be needed.

  34. I hope that parents who give their kids stupid names are prepared to have those kids hate them once the kids realise (usually Grade one) that other kids are making fun of them. Trust me I know. I grew up with a gender inappropriate name and suffered all kinds of humiliation growing up. Eventually in my twenties I started using my middle name and life became a hell of a lot better. I hope there is a special place in hell for parents who are really trying to present to the world their own uniqueness by giving their offspring awkward names.

  35. I believe that we should be able to impinge upon our children the names that we find most gratifying and unique, without governmental imposition or torment. We should be the kingmakers. Not the state. Let the state not interfere upon the naming of our most beloved!!!
    For we must be free to choose uniqueness and not hegemonic ubiquitness!!! Long live those who lust for originality. Let they not be molested by the inferiority of the so-called superiors whose modus operandi is to devastate and obliterate the unique individual.

  36. Ahh, the myth of the unique individual. Humans, all the same. Now if you want your child to grow up unique, name him or her John or Jennifer, so that their struggle will be to carve out their own place, not Zarquon X, because their struggle will be to be just like everyone else.

  37. When I was naming my boys, someone said put Dr. in front of the name and see it on a business card. That was a very good suggestion.

  38. What about a 1 (one) week cooling off period before this innocent childs name becomes their legal name? It will give family members & friends time to reason with the new parents about the future repurcussions the name they've chosen will have on the child!

  39. Perhaps we in North America are too influence by the old Johny Cash song: A boy named Sue. Which tells the story of a reprobate father who gives his baby son a girl's name because he knows he won't be around and he want his kid to grow up tough which he will have to be defending his girly name in a chauvinistic cowboy culture. A strategy that evidently worked because he came close to killing his own father when he encounters him later in life. But just when your starting to think that naming a boy Sue makes sense the first person singer implores his listeners to name their boy, Rex or Bob, or Jim

    • That song is all I could think about while reading the previous posts! I was just waiting for someone to mention it. :-)

      Names are such an important part of ones' identity. Parent's that don't take it seriously need a shake!

  40. As someone with a given name which is unique and difficult to pronounce, this issue strikes a nerve. Parents should realize that they certainly can create barriers for their child when they saddle them with–even a nice sounding name–that is intimidating for average folks to pronounce. Every time my name was read out incorrectly in front of a group it was embarrassing, for me, and for the person trying to read it. Every time you encounter a new person, there is that obstacle to overcome (i.e. job interviews, appointments…) It would be a real burden for a shy person. That's not me, but I DO spend a significant amount of time answering questions about the name my parents chose for me– I wear a name tag at work in a hospital setting, where most of my patients are seniors. It's a favourite topic of conversation for them.

  41. In the grand scheme of things, what they name their children doen't really matter. But to those who worry about such trivial matter…. take heart…..all those Tiffanies, and Brittanies, and Madisons, ad infinitium, ad naseum, amen…will all grow up…..and then THEY will name their children whatever is popular….and overused…at that time.

    To all those poor children who's names are considered funny by others…just remember YOU will decide what nursing home to put your parents into. Be patient…."revenge is a dish best served cold".

  42. you people should take it easy,as somebody else said here, do they live happy or not? what? will they stop eating because of their names? i think the parents have the right to raise their childrens as they please, i'm the kind of person who thinks those kind of things doesnt matter, im not living for the society, i live for my own, for the people i care about, and for those who cares about me, i have a ridiculous name and i have a normal life, i dont miss an arm or a leg, now that would make my life hard, but not a name, some people seem to care so much for little things like that, you should be more concern about other things,YOU are the ones who should grow up, i cant believe people make such a ridiculous laws, just because they name a child butty doesnt mean they hate their kid, what if that name means something to them, and just because a law now they cant, man thinks there have to be somebody telling them what to do to know what is right and what is wrong, we are suppoused to live a free life, but the realuty is that we never stoped being slavers!

  43. also a name doesnt make you child better or worse, it is how you raise them, the influence you have on your kid

  44. Just to be on the other side of the arguement: I have a weird name and happen to like it. It is a boy's name "Joey" but spelt with an "i" becoming "Joei". Sure, I spend some time saying "No, it's not short for anything" or "It's Joei, not Joel" but hey, it makes me different. It starts conversations, and yes some people make fun of me (ie. calling my boyfriend: "John, your boyfriend is calling!") but whatever, that's just their insecurities. When plan to have kids, they will have slightly different names, but nothing close to "4Real". I mean, individuality is one thing, but being plain cruel is another. You deffinatly have to think about your childrens' lives and how your name choices will effect them. On the other hand, parents by no means give kids enough credit. I find it appalling how parents baby their kids even through their teens, when humans in general are very tough emotionally. Anyway, that's just my opinion.