Thumbs down for Eilithya

Children cannot be christened Eilit­hya in Ice­land, says the Nam­ing Comm­itttee.

Children cannot be christened Eilit­hya in Ice­land, says the Nam­ing Comm­itttee.

Iceland’s famous Naming Committee, the committee responsible for ruling on permissible Icelandic first names, has rejected the girl’s name Eilithya, on the grounds that the spelling is not in accordance with general spelling rules in Icelandic. The name therefore fails to satisfy the ‘Tradition’ criterion, one of the set of criteria guiding the Naming Committee’s decisions.

In Icelandic, the letter combinations ‘th’ and ‘ya’ do not exist (except in compound words). Furthermore, no woman has been called Eilithya in Iceland in the reference period 1703-1910.

Other new names approved

The girl’s names Júlína and Eivör and boy’s names Antóníus and Tíbor did, however, make the cut, as they were deemed to fulfil the conditions laid down in Article 5 of Act No 45/1996 on Icelandic first names (see below).

Act No 45/1996

  • Article 5: First names must be able to take an Icelandic genitive-case ending or have become traditional in the Icelandic language. Names must not conflict with the grammatical system of Icelandic. They shall be spelt in accordance with general spelling rules in Icelandic, unless there is a tradition of spelling them differently in Iceland.
In the genitive case, these names become Júlínu, Eivarar, Antóníusar and Tíbors.

Happy compromise?

The name Úlfdal was approved only as a middle name, on the grounds that it does not have a traditional Icelandic grammatical ending in the nominative case and is not in any way traditional, either as a boy’s or girl’s name. Úlfdal is, however, sufficiently compliant in other respects with the law to qualify as a middle name.

The full text of Act No 45/1996 on Icelandic first names (in Icelandic) can be found here.

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