Icelandic Name Committee Says No To Zelda And Lucifer - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Name Committee Says No To Zelda And Lucifer

Published November 20, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photo by
Creative Commons

Iceland’s Naming Committee met on the sixth of this month to review another batch of contending names for their approval or rejection, MBL reports, and some names fared better than others.

New first names now added to the Icelandic lexicon include Ilíes, Char­les, Rey, Damí­en, Heiðbjart­ur, Marzell­íus, Kristólín and Mikki. But not everyone was so lucky.

Two of the first names rejected were Lucifer and Zelda. In their reasoning for the decision regarding Lucifer, they cited the use of the letter C, which does not appear in the Icelandic alphabet, but does make one wonder why Charles then was accepted. The committee believed furthermore that Lucifer is another name for Satan, and could therefore make the early life of a child with this name a target for bullying.

Zelda was rejected because the committee did not believe the name had significant historical precedence, despite at least two Icelandic women bearing this name, the older of whom born in 2009. They also cited Icelandic having dropped the use of the letter Z some decades ago—again, despite the fact that one of the names amongst those approved also uses a Z.

The Naming Committee is itself a controversial institution, and many prominent Icelanders—amongst them, writer and former Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr and former Minister of Justice Ólöf Nordal—have seen the committee as an antiquated institution that is no longer necessary. The committee’s mandate is to ensure that new Icelandic names abide Icelandic grammar, have historical precedent, and are not harmful to a child.

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