The name game

An influx of immigrants and a general trend towards more unusual baby names continues to expand the government's official name list

Denmark's once-traditional official register of approved given names is becoming more untraditional each year, particularly since a 2006 law change allowed for the acceptance of ethnic selections, reports JydskeVestkysten newspaper.

Since the law change, the list of approved names - compiled by the University of Copenhagen's Name Research Section - has grown from around 10,500 to over 17,000.

According to Danish law, parents naming their child must choose a name from the register or send in a special application if the name they want to use is not on the list. But with the influx of immigrants to Denmark bringing names from other cultures, the register had to be updated.

If a name is one that is generally accepted in another country, then it is usually approved. Also, if 25 people currently living in Denmark have the name, it is added to the register.

But some parents still go to extremes in their attempts to give their children a unique first name, according to Michael Lerche Nielsen, name researcher at the university.

'A name still has to bear the mark of being a name,' said Nielsen. 'So don't expect to be able to call your child 'Truck' or 'Chamber Pot.'

One couple thoroughly tested the limits of the approved name process, wanting to call their baby 'Rhododendron Bush'. Their application was rejected. (rc)



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