Gov't to family: Girl can't be named Harriet
'Are they saying they don't want us here?'
Published: 21 hours ago
author-image Joe Kovacs About | Email | Archive
A family is in turmoil after the government of Iceland is suddenly saying the family’s 10-year-old daughter Harriet cannot actually be named Harriet.
Not only that, the family’s 12-year-old son Duncan can’t be named Duncan.
The reason? Their names do not appear on a government-approved list.
“The whole situation is really rather silly,” the kids’ father, Tristan Cardew, told the Guardian newspaper.
Cardew and his Icelandic wife Kristin are appealing a decision by the National Registry in Reykjavik not to renew their daughter’s passport because it doesn’t recognize her first name.
National law states the names of children born in Iceland – unless both parents are foreigners – be sent to the National Registry before the kids are six months old.
If the name doesn’t happen to match one on the recognized list of 1,853 female and 1,712 male names, the parents need to seek special approval from the Icelandic Naming Committee.
Some approved names on the list are Aagot, Arney, Baldey, Bebba, Brá, Dögg, Dimmblá, Etna, Eybjört, Frigg, Glódís, Hörn, Ingunn, Jórlaug, Obba, Úranía and Vagna.
Since the registry hasn’t recognized Harriet or Duncan, the pair have been traveling until this year on passports identifying them as Stúlka and Drengur Cardew, which is translated as Girl and Boy Cardew.
Harriet Cardew, 10, and her brother Duncan are recognized by their own family, but not the government of Iceland.
Harriet Cardew, 10, and her brother Duncan, 12, are recognized by their own family, but not the government of Iceland.
“But this time, the authorities have decided to apply the letter of the law,” said Tristan Cardew, a native of Britain who moved to Iceland 14 years ago.
“And that says no official document will be issued to people who do not bear an approved Icelandic name.”
The standoff had jeopardized the family’s vacation in France, until they applied to the British embassy for an emergency passport from the United Kingdom.
About 5,000 children are born annually in Iceland, a country with a population of just 320,000. The naming committee is said to receive some 100 applications, and rejects about half under a 1996 act aimed at preserving the language.
Houses in Iceland's capital of Reykjavik
Houses in Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik
Among its requirements, given names must be “capable of having Icelandic grammatical endings”, may not “conflict with the linguistic structure of Iceland”, and should be are “written in accordance with the ordinary rules of Icelandic orthography.”
That means names containing letters that don’t officially exist in Iceland’s 32-letter alphabet, such as “c”, are not permissible.
Additionally, names unable to take the grammatical endings required by the nominative, accusative, genitive and dative cases used in Icelandic are often rejected.
“That was the problem with Harriet,” said Cardew. “It can’t be conjugated in Icelandic.”
The Guardian notes the Cardew family could get around Harriet’s problem by giving her an Icelandic middle name.
“But it’s a bit late for that, and way too silly,” said Cardew. “Are they saying they don’t want us here?”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/govt-to-family-girl-cant-be-named-harriet/#FmAf5dc7GFv5tEPU.99