I didn’t like my name when I was at school as it is quite old-fashioned for my generation and I was surrounded by Karens, Lisas and Joannes and wanted to fit in. Plus as a Francophile, it is a difficult name for my French friends to say and I have been called all sorts of things with a French accent! But I am very old-fashioned when it comes to children’s names. My children’s names are traditional names which can be found in most generations. I would struggle as a childminder if I had to call out some of the weird and wonderful names given to children these days (or Countdown names, as a friend used to call them: “Four consonants and five vowels please, Carol.”)
Like Harper Seven. I loved this cartoon from the Paul Thomas of the Daily Express. It’s so clever.
In February 2009, TheBabyWebsite.com came up with a list of the most unfortunate names in the UK:
Stan Still, Helen Back, Doug Hole, Terry Bull, Tim Burr, Rose Bush, Pearl Button, Will Power, Barry Cade, Mary Christmas, Chris Cross, Teresa Green, Ray Gunn, Jo King, Sonny Day, Justin Case, Lee King and Max Power.
Apparently a list of names in the USA came up with some more: Bill Board, Anna Prentice, Annette Curtain and Carrie Oakey.
Some countries are strict about children’s names. In July 2008, the BBC reported that a New Zealand judge had made a nine-year-old girl a ward of court so that she could change the name which embarrassed her: Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. Apparently other names which were not permitted were 4Real; Yeah Detroit; Stallion; Twisty Poi; Keenan Got Lucy; Sex Fruit; Fat Boy; Cinderella Beauty Blossom and Fish and Chips (twins).
These abominations were allowed: Violence; Number 16 Bus Shelter; Midnight Chardonnay; and Benson and Hedges (twins). And only this week it has been reported that the country’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages has been cracking down again, ruling out punctuation marks such as . (Full Stop), * (Asterisk) and / (presumably “Slash”), as well as Bishop, Duke, General, Judge, Justice, King, Knight and Mr, which were all deemed too similar to titles. Messiah was also turned down, as was 89, the single letters, C, D, I and T, although q and J were accepted after being queried.
According to Yahoo! Lifestyle, the following countries are very strict:
Sweden is very tough on unusual names, banning Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, as well as IKEA, and Veranda and Q. But the authorities allowed Google!
A Chinese couple tried to call their baby @ because it seems that in Chinese characters it looks a bit like ‘love him’.
Germany has rejected Miatt because it is difficult to determine the child’s gender and Stompie, Woodstock and Grammophon, while allowing Speedy, Lafayette and Jazz.
Denmark is really picky. It gives parents a list of approximately 7,000 names to choose from and changes in spelling, ethnic names and compound names need special permission. Luckily for one child, Anus was denied.
Portugal also has a list of banned names and refused permission for Ovnis which means UFO.
And finally, apparently the Pope also weighed in on this debate in January of this year.
There’s a very appropriate blog post at http://clever-bitch.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-not-to-name-your-kids.html which gives advice on what not to name your kids. I particularly like points 4 and 5 which say exactly what I would say, but better:
4 – The Misspelled Foreign Name
A girl I know named her daughter “Channelle”. Yes, that’s right. Like Chanel, but with some extra letters thrown in so that the child can feel individual despite her obvious namesake. (In fact – this one breaks the surname rule as well – but I guess it’s preferable to calling a child Coco. Are you reading this, Courtney Cox and David Arquette?). Another friend of mine, apparently shying away from all the boring normality implied by Chantelle introduced me to her daughter Shontel. I weep for the future.
5 – The Name You Invent Yourself
Mnemonics are bad enough (think “Taome” – The Apple Of My Eye), but the worst of the worst must be the laughable attempt of those bastions of elegance and understatement, Peter Andre and Katie Price (AKA Jordan) to create a name for their daughter. Princess Tiaamii, the poor brat’s name, is a merging of the names of Andre’s mother (Thea) and Price’s mother (Amy), with “Princess” whacked in front for good measure. In the words of Price herself; “we added some extra letters to make it unique, and some accents to make it look interesting”. A class act all the way.
Apologies – My computer does not seem to have the functional capacity to include the various accents over vowels in Tiaamii.
I think I’ll stick to my old-fashioned names.