Name Committee Decision Challenged

6.7.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
A university student has been trying to convince the Name Committee to reserve a decision they made about the name her parents wanted to give her.

As many readers are aware, Iceland has a Name Committee; a government body which approves - or rejects - new names that parents want to add to the lexicon. The basis for their decision is usually attributed to historical precedent for the name, and how well or poorly it applies to Icelandic grammar. Vísir reports that a young university student named Þuríður Blær took it upon herself to try and convince the Name Committee to reverse their decision on the name her parents wanted to give her, Blær.

At the time, the committee rejected the name as they could find no precedent for it, and because "blær" (which means "tint") is a noun with a masculine gender. However, she has been called Blær unofficially throughout her life, but was not able to use the name officially.

Blær did her research, and found that there was another woman named Blær, born in 1973. In the letter she wrote to the Name Committee over the matter, she also pointed out that "blær" being a masculine noun prevents it from being a woman's name did not stand up to reason - the words "auður" (wealth) and "ilmur" (scent) are both masculine, and are both female names.

The request to reverse the decision is not alone, either. Morgunblaðið reports that a woman is filing a lawsuit against the Ministry of the Interior for the right to name her daughter Blær. Her request to the Name Committee was originally rejected, and her daughter has had the name Stúlka ("girl") ever since. She is now fourteen years old.

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