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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I think naming laws are really interesting, but I would not want them in the US. In general, I am opposed to giving the government even more power over people's personal lives. If parents want to name their children Hudsyyn or Stryyker or Jaxxxon or what have you, they should have the freedom to do that. In the realm of bad parenting, giving your kid a ridiculous name doesn't even register.

    It seems like a big reason for naming laws is to preserve the cultural integrity of a given country, as in Iceland or Germany. This would be far more difficult in a country like the US, which is made up of cultures from all over the world. We don't even have an official language here! So while it makes sense that Icelandic names have to work with Icelandic grammar, that would not be a good justification here.

  2. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    I think it depends on a country. In some countries people are more daring when it comes to names and even if there're laws regarding naming children, they'll find the most obscure name on the list of approved names if they'd like their baby's name to stand out. In other countries people are conservative about names and won't get crazy even if they can. For example, in Russia we don't have naming laws, but people still use only about 100 names for each gender, while others are considered ridiculous.

    As long as the list of approved names is long and diverse enough I'm pro. At least it'd spare us of kreatif spellings.
    polina ∙ 19 ∙ art history major ∙ web developer
    french/russian/swedish ∙ living in st. petersburg, russia


    in the silence of your bones and eyes
    forgotten magic sits and waits for fire

  3. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by kala_way View Post
    That's really fascinating!

    The idea of not remembering a President's surname but knowing his first name is interesting! I had to memorize all the president's surnames, but I don't think I could tell you half of their first names, and only a couple of their middle names.

    But, as you said, surnames function much differently in our country than in yours.

    You wrote Jónsdóttir, which I'm assuming is the patronymic for a daughter of Jón. So everyone has both a patronymic and a matronymic? Are they on official documents as part of the name or no? I guess I just wonder how they differentiate between people in an official capacity? Everyone just has multiple given and middle names?

    And also, I can imagine that would get super long! Would Sigmundur's daughter be labelled as Sigmundursdottir?
    I wouldn't even call it a surname, because it's not something that is passed on from one generation to the next. Some Icelanders do have surnames, but they are jealously guarded. It is illegal to create a new surname or adopt one without getting it from your parents.

    Most people just have a patronymic - that's the "normal" thing. A few people have just a matronymic - it's actually usually an indication that the father isn't really in the kid's life for whatever reason, although it was sometimes used in medieval Iceland when the mother was of higher status than the father. Occasionally I think people choose to change it as adults, presumably when their mother means more to them than their father. A very few people have a patronymic and a matronymic (Jón Maríu- Jónsson would be one way of writing it) - it's more equal, but it can get a bit long-winded in my opinion.
    These are formed by taking the genitive form of the name in question and sticking son or dóttir on the end. It would be Sigmundsdóttir or Sigmundsson for Sigmundur. Yeah it can get a bit long for some names.
    They are most certainly an official part of how you are recorded, but I don't really think of them as part of a person's name per se. If you have John, son of Thomas, it's like a note added on to John's name more than anything. For this reason it makes absolutely no sense for marriage to affect an Icelander's name, because it doesn't change who your parents are. But if there were two people called Jón Helgi, then you would go to the patronymic, Jón Helgi Sigurðsson and Jón Helgi Jónsson.

    There are not so many people here. If there were more I think maybe the system wouldn't work as well as it does.

  4. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by jackal View Post
    Middle names are a bit complicated. You can have one, two or three given names, but middle names are actually a separate category. These are like special names that you cannot use as a given name, and which do not have an assigned gender. The rules are indeed more permissive for middle names, e.g. Ektavon was allowed as a middle name. So you could be called Jón Ektavon Jónsson, but not Ektavon Jón Jónsson. You could also be Anna Ektavon Jónsdóttir, but not Ektavon Anna Jónsdóttir. Middle names proper tend to be passed down in families, though, I don't think so many people just stick one in on a whim.

    A lot of people will probably will know it's there, though - a middle name or extra given names aren't so 'secret' as they are in the UK at least. A lot of people use their full names on a regular basis and if there are two people with the same first name, they are going to be differentiated using their other given name(s) or their middle name, not their patronymic or matronymic (since that is not really a part of a person's name, just a note on who their father or mother is). E.g. in a class there might be Jón Helgi and Jón Þór, people would say that rather than Jón Sigurðsson and Jón Björnsson. It's not uncommon for people to be regularly addressed as Anna Kristín or Jón Helgi. I forgot the patronymic of the Prime Minister in a quiz recently because I just think of him as Sigmundur Davíð...
    Thank you for the clarification. Where I am from unless it is an official form people don't necessarily identify by a middle name. Sometimes, they will identify with a middle initial like John E. Edwards if he has a really generic name, but it is optional. Like I had 5 Amandas in my class and I still have no idea what their middle names are, as they either got referred to by a nickname to differentiate them like Panda or Amanda E. (E representative of a last name in this case) or Amanda King. Middle names are not that widely used, unless someone doesn't like their first name and prefers to be called by their middle name, which is not common but occasionally happens.

    I just like some quirky names and wouldn't dream of using them as a first, so I think that a middle name would be the perfect place to have it without causing my child unnecessary trauma.

  5. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    This is the beauty

    of the United States of America: freedom of speech, freedom to be tacky, freedom to deviate from the norm.

    No one wants to see a child named Nazi or Diarrhea, but I'd rather live in a society with freedom than without.

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