Iceland’s Committee For New Names Allows Girl Ariel But Rejects Boy Zion

Ariel of Disney fame

Some countries have active committees on UFO’s and life on other planets and these take their mission very seriously, and are constantly on the lookout for any signs of extra-terrestrial life. More down to earth is Iceland’s committee for new names, the common denominator being the zealousness and fervour they apply to fulfill their mission. Naming children in Iceland is governed by Act No 45/1996 on Icelandic first names (link in Icelandic) and the Naming Committee, which is responsible for ruling on permissible Icelandic first names and handling other issues relating to what Icelanders may be called. Hence, the Icelandic naming committee, never known to be frivolous when it comes to naming our children, is known for their serious stance towards names they consider to be either outright strange or a passing fade, too anglicised or outright tactless abbreviations of foreign names. New rulings by the Icelandic naming committee seem however to reflect on our fast-changing international environment, as new applications that have been passed and allowed by the committee include the girl’s names Ariel, Alíana, Alísa and Selina. Amongst other names that are now allowed are boys names Ylfingur and Jónsi, while the boys names Zion and Roar met with rejection. While Icelandic names have to conform to regulations of Icelandic grammar and conjugation, recent polls however show that a majority of Icelanders supports loosening up of the existing rules governing the naming of children.

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