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Tags:   Fun,   Relationships

By The Swag Team   -  June 30, 2014

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Photo credit:  www.suburbanflotilla.com

A report about new baby names that appeared in yesterday’s Times of Malta has been doing the rounds among the more enlightened – or possibly snobbish – members of the Maltese Internet community, with most expressing mirth at the monickers that certain people have concocted for their offspring. We must admit, we at SWAG laughed along with them as some creations seem to defy all understanding. In the light of this, we asked, is it time to look into tough legislation reigning parents in when their kids are hatched, as some countries have?

According to the report, the most popular children’s names last year were good, old-fashioned ones such as Luke, Elena and Matthew, but there was a significant percentage of people who bestowed the original titles Zveyrone, Netsrik, Jaceyrhaer, Zarkareia and Chinenye upon their offspring.


Others still went all hippy on us and chose Breeze, Summer, Diamond, Love, Freedom, Symphony, Dolce and Innocent, while SWAG believes those who named their kids Enonima, Kobbun, Gundula, Limoni, Hunter, Loic and Coco must be members of the international community that resides here and therefore may be outside the scope of this article as those names may be fine within their culture.


The most obvious explanation for the free-for-all naming orgy is that parents feel they want their kids to be unique, and that there is no better way for this to happen than to give them a ‘unique’ name. They may think it's fun, with no harm done, that it differentiates their child from everyone else, gives them a special personality, and that the kids will get used to it and even be proud of it, despite any initial difficulties at school or as young children.


Are they misguided in thinking this? According to a report on BBC news not long ago some countries think so and they’re happy to step in to protect the interests of the child and to keep their society a little more uniform.


While some may see this as unacceptable state interference in personal matters of the individual, others may see it as a good thing, for the sake of the child who is at the mercy of parents who may not forsee the consequences of what they’re doing.


In ICELAND a 15-year-old girl only recently won the legal right to keep her first name, despite it being officially unapproved by the authorities. Her mother Bjork Eidsdottir had amed her newborn girl Blaer which means "light breeze", but in the eyes of the state, Blaer was a male name and therefore not approved. It meant that until the court ruling, Blaer was known simply as "Girl" on official documents.


The Icelandic state can also object to a name if it doesn’t meet certain rules of grammar and gender.


IN GERMANY, citing concerns about child welfare, a Turkish couple were not allowed to call their baby Osama Bin Laden. The possibility of gender confusion prevented a German boy being called Matti, because the sex of the baby wouldn't be obvious.


Also, you won't find any Germans named Merkel, Schroeder or Kohl, because surnames are banned as first names.


Of course, this would never work in Malta. One of our most popular young singers is called Klinsmann and he christened his own son Klose, both surnames of famous German footballers. Recently Facebook was also awash with rumours of someone calling their child Pirlo.


In JAPAN, local authorities can say no if they think a name chosen by parents is inppropriate. There was a famous case in the 1990s when the name Akuma, meaning "devil", was not permitted.


AMERICANS can name their children anything, and often parents see it as an important expression of their freedom of speech, enshrined in the US Constitution.


According to the book Bad Baby Names: The Worst True Names Parents Saddled Their Kids With, over the years there have been 20 people named Noun, 458 named Comma, 18 called Period and one called Semicolon.


Ima and Wanna have been popular choices, especially when the surnames concerned were Mann, Hoare and Pigg.


A spokesman for the Register Office of the UNITED KINGDOM told BBC reporters that there are no restrictions on British parents except in exceptional cases, such as when a name which could be deemed offensive.


Superman, Perri 6 and long names containing all the members of a football team have been permitted in the past.


In NEW ZEALAND the name Number 16 Bus Shelter was allowed but authorities intervened to stop a child being called Yeah Detroit.


Authorities in SWEDEN have allowed a child to be called Metallica but refused permission for the name Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116.


Finally, an interesting twist to the issue is the fact that once common names that fell out of favour in Malta long ago, such as Inez, Odette, Ignatius, Suzette and Tessie are making a comeback in the UK.


According to name suggestions website nameberry.com, these names, alongside others such as Auden, Byron, Lennon, Enoch, Gulliver, Minnie, Farrah and Pandora are gaining popularity amongst those who considered themselves ‘hipsters’.



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