Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Girl No More

Posted by on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 2:34 PM

This is the flip side of those maddening stories about people from New Jersey who name their kid "Hashtag" or "Pepsi" or "Pilot Inspektor."

An Icelandic teenager referred to as “Girl” by the island nation’s authorities was finally given the right to use her own first name by a court Thursday, according to reports.

Blaer Bjarkardottir’s first name means “breeze” in Icelandic and was not on a list of approved names or otherwise permitted by the authorities.

The English-language website News of Iceland reported that the Icelandic Naming Committee had previously ruled that Blaer was only a man’s name.

Because Blaer's name wasn't on the government-approved list of names, she wasn't allowed to have her own name on her passport. First names are vitally important in Icelandic culture—your first name becomes your child's last name—but I still think I'd rather know a million JayDinnhs and Jeneighfurrs than force something like this list of names onto everyone.

 

Comments (21) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
You had me until the end.

I would rather be named Girl than JayDinnh, and I'm not a girl.
Posted by aiff on January 31, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 2
sounds fair to me:
According to the island.is website, which is run by the government, the "Personal Names Register" includes "all Icelandic names that have been approved," but people can apply for permission to use names not on the list. Names must be "adaptable to the structure of the Icelandic language and spelling conventions" and also "not cause the bearer embarrassment."
Posted by Josh Bis http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Author.html?oid=3815563 on January 31, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 3
First names are vitally important in Icelandic culture—your first name becomes your child's last name
The man's or the woman's name becomes the child's last name?

So this girl has a parent named Bjarkardottir?

Fucking hell.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 31, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Report this
CATSPAW666 4
The main reason they hesitated was the declensions- in Icelandic, everything has a gender, and a woman with a man's name, which her spelling was, means every single sentence you speak to her comes out screwy- all kinds of words are wrong when you speak to a woman with a man's name.
Its complicated-
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/01/04…

There are a bunch of other countries that are worse- There is an Elvis in Iceland.
Germany, France, Poland, Japan, many other countries have laws dictating what you can name your kid.
Posted by CATSPAW666 on January 31, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
5
@3: no, her parent is called Bjarkar. Dottir means "daughter of", in this case, "daughter of Bjarkar". There are no last names as we know them, you just take your mom's or dad's first name and add "son of" or "daughter of". Like we used to, hundreds of years ago, to get names like Johnson.
Posted by originalcinner on January 31, 2013 at 3:35 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 6
her father's name is Bjarkar; so she's Bjarkardottir.
Posted by Josh Bis http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Author.html?oid=3815563 on January 31, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 7
In picking names for our children my two criteria were: They not be one of six Jennifers/Nathans/Jadens/Madisons in their 1st grade class (which as a David, I was). My other criteria was after, "What's your name?" the next question wasn't, "How do you spell that?" Kirsten, Kerstin, Kirstin, Kersten, Curstan, Churstin, Cur-Stan, Chhurrr-Steeen, etc.

Then my wife mentioned one possibility and in three attempts, I literally could not pronounce it. I then realized that my new, third criteria was that I be able to call out my own kid's name. Icelandic surnames and volcanos don't, for me, always pass that test.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on January 31, 2013 at 3:39 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 8
At the point at which some of your geology is seriously disrupting international air traffic, I'm sorry, but that volcano should just be renamed, "Bob".
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on January 31, 2013 at 3:41 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 9
Extra credit to any (presumably Canadians) who get the reference in my #8.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on January 31, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Jaymz 10
First shout out to "Girl" by Beck - always liked that one, so thanks....
Posted by Jaymz on January 31, 2013 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Fnarf 11
Fun fact: Icelanders are listed in the telephone book by first name.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 31, 2013 at 4:11 PM · Report this
sirkowski 12
What about the government telling the parents they cannot name their child "Spatula"?

True story.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on January 31, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
13
Blær's mother's name is Björk, like the singer. The father is not in the picture, and the genitive of Björk is Bjarkar, so the daughter gets the matronymic Bjarkardóttir.
Could be worse: I'm an immigrant to Iceland. Had the law here not been changed in 1995, *I* would have had to change my name.
Posted by lb.flamingpear@gmail.com on January 31, 2013 at 4:30 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 14
I'd love to have umlats in my name
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 31, 2013 at 4:47 PM · Report this
15
The first-name telephone book, the weird naming convention, all that seems more manageable when you realize the population of the entire nation is like that of small city, say Lincoln, Ne, or Fargo-Morehead. It can't get that confusing when you know or know of a significant fraction of the population.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on January 31, 2013 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Fnarf 16
@13, If you have a daughter, will she be Lb.flamingpearsdottir?
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 31, 2013 at 5:19 PM · Report this
17
Fnarf is a dum dum dingleberry
Posted by Fnarf's Parole Officer on January 31, 2013 at 7:41 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 18
@13--How did you manage to immigrate? I've heard that Iceland is one of the hardest countries to get citizenship--Norway being slightly harder.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on February 1, 2013 at 12:08 AM · Report this
19
I married in. Residency, work permit, and health insurance kicked in after a few months; citizenship takes three years.
Posted by lb.flamingpear@gmail.com on February 1, 2013 at 4:26 AM · Report this
iridius 20
Beck, Scientologist. Ew.
Posted by iridius on February 1, 2013 at 9:58 AM · Report this
21
@7: I've had people (more than one) ask me how to spell "Gloria."
Posted by Gloria on February 3, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Advertisement
 

Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!


All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy