Iceland has added 10 names to their official list of acceptable baby names, including Angelina, previously banned so as to preserve the country's “linguistic cohesion”.
The list is governed by the official Personal Names Committee (PNC), whose role is to look out for the wellbeing of Icelandic children and ensure their names adhere to the country’s culture and language.
“They just want to preserve their language since their population is so small. It’s only about 325,000,” James Douglas, Consul of Iceland in Sydney, told The Feed.
A baby cheering on Iceland as they play against Hungary in the handball quarterfinals at the London Olympics. (AAP) Source: AAP
In addition to Angelina, the names added to the list include Luna, Hofdis, Eilif, and Eyjar and Kiran amongst others.
At present, if parents wish to give their child a name not listed by PNC, they can make a formal request to the committee. If successful, the name is then added to the list.
But what of immigrants living in Iceland who wish to give their newborn a name from their land of origin?
'Danger' is yet another name that doesn't feature on Iceland's official name registry. (New Line Cinema) Source: SBS / , New Line Cinema
“I think there are exceptions to the rule, given the growing intake of people from overseas in recent times,” said Douglas.
One is the case of Harriet Cardew, born of an Icelandic mother and English father. She was denied naturalised citizenship of Iceland because her name did not adhere with the PNC. In 2014, Cardew’s parents brought legal action against the committee demanding both their daughter and son, Duncan, were granted citizenship. In 2016, the Cardews won their case.
“I think that’s what’s started this movement to get rid of this committee,” said Douglas.
The Personal Names Committee looks likely to be disbanded following Iceland’s legislative elections late next month. (AAP) Source: AAP
In June the Icelandic Interior Ministry presented a bill to abolish the PNC and allow parents the freedom to name their children what they pleased.
The PNC is seen by young Icelanders as an archaic and divisive board, especially when it comes to welcoming immigrants into their country whose own name may not be approved by the PNC.
The committee looks likely to be disbanded following Iceland’s legislative elections late next month.
Traditionally, Icelanders do not have surnames. Their second names are their father’s first name with an added suffix denoting whether they are a daughter or son. Because of this, phone books are listed by first names.