New Additions To Officially Approved Names - The Reykjavik Grapevine

New Additions To Officially Approved Names

Published May 13, 2011

The Icelandic Name Committee has made some new additions to the growing list of names which Icelandic citizens are allowed to give their children.
The committee is a special government sponsored body which legally approves or rejects new names for Icelanders. Names are approved which demonstrate that they have featured significantly in Icelandic history. This time around, RÚV reports, they gave their seal of approval to the name Annarr. The name was originally rejected last January, but was brought up for review in light of new evidence. Among the information brought forward was the fact that the name was featured in the famed Snorra-Edda, thereby solidly demonstrating its place in Icelandic culture.
Two names one is not likely to find in the Sagas were also approved: Jane and Dennis. However, these names were only approved with conditions. Jane, for one, cannot be pronounced as it is in English, but rather, the way it would be literally pronounced by an Icelandic speaker: “YAH-neh”. Dennis was only approved when it was demonstrated how it would be declined in Icelandic grammar.
As dry as working on a name committee might sound, the job is not without its share of intrigue. In 2009, a controversy arose when the committee found itself facing a split decision over the name Skallagrímur. The committee is rarely evenly divided on a name, and in this case it was, in part, due to the fact that the “skalla” part of the name refers to baldness, and there were concerns children so named would be mercilessly teased.
For more on the name committee and what they do, read Anna Andersen’s article on the subject.

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