The unusual way all babies in Iceland are named

Posted in Baby Names.

Icelandic baby naming

In Western Society, there are literally countless options for baby names. Almost any variation of name is on the table. You even make up a word and use it as a name, if you want. In Iceland, things are refreshingly different.

Iceland has figured out a way to eliminate the overflow of wacky baby names and keep the Icelandic tradition alive for generations to come. And it all comes from their naming system.

Have a look at the Icelandic process for naming the next generation. Sure, the multi-step process is quite complex, but it’s also quite clever.

How babies are named in Iceland

For a child’s first name, parents must choose from a list of government-approved names. There are around 1800 names for each gender on the list. And no weird spelling options are allowed.

Although new names are approved every year, names that may cause a child embarrassment or that include letters that are not in the Icelandic alphabet will not be approved. Names with a C or Z in it, for example, will be rejected as these letters are not recognised in the Icelandic alphabet.

Parents must register their baby’s name within six months of the child’s birth and wait for approval. In the meantime, baby girls are known as “stúlka” (girl) and baby boys are referred to as “drengur” (boy).

A child’s last name comes from the father’s (or, in rare instances, the mother’s) first name, which means there is no such thing as a “family” name. Children’s surnames will be different from their parents.

  • To get a boy’s last name, combine the father’s first name with + s + son.
  • To get a girl’s last name, combine the father’s first name with + s + dóttir (daughter).

For example, a little boy with a father named Jon would have the last name Jonsson (Jon’s son). A little girl with a father named Jon would have the last name Jonsdóttir (Jon’s daughter).

These are not the only unusual names out there.  Why not check out this list of definite no-no’s that made the banned Australian baby names list.

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