Legal names

Dana Goldstein writes on TAPPED:

If you thought it was crazy when Hugo Chavez announced he wanted to limit legal Venezuelan names to a list of 100, strictly divided by gender, you'll be interested to know he's not alone: The Finnish government also maintains a list of legal names from which parents must choose, with no overlap between male and female varietals.

This is wrong. There's no exclusive list of acceptable names and there are unisex names.

However, the law (fi) places quite strict limits on naming. The name's form and spelling must be consistent with domestic name practice; male names can't be given to girls nor female names to boys; surnames are out of the question, with the exception of second or third given names formed from the mother's or father's first name and ending in -tytär (-daughter) or -poika (-son); and the name can't have already been given to a sibling as a first name. Exceptions can be made due to religious or foreign customs, or due to some other, unspecified "valid reason".

Some of these rules leave me conflicted. On one hand, what's it to anyone else if parents want to call their baby girl "Yenni" instead of "Jenni". On the other hand, creative spelling of common names is a menace that must be stamped out with extreme prejudice for the good of humankind.

And yes, Chavez's approach is pretty crazy in its pointless authoritarianism.

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