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Icelandic Naming Committee Accepts Aríel, Rejects Mia and Zion

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Icelandic Naming Committee Accepts Aríel, Rejects Mia and Zion

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Icelandic Naming Committee recently decreed that the names Mia and Zion could not be allowed as Icelandic given names. The names Aríel, Selina, Jónsi, Alísa, Ylfingur and Alíana, however, passed all requirements. RÚV reports.

The name Aríel was already allowed as a man’s name, but with the committee’s decision, it is now allowed for women as well. This is mainly due to the “slight tradition of the word as a person’s name in the country.” In other words, the popularity of the Disney film The Little Mermaid, which features a mermaid princess called Ariel, made it possible to be allowed.

Not every Icelander agrees upon the necessity of a naming committee, which is a hot debate in the country. It maintains an official register of approved Icelandic names and governs new names. Established in 1991, the committee comprises of people who are appointed by various public offices and institutions.

The name Jónsi is a popular nickname for men named Jón, such as the lead vocalist in Sigur Rós. Jónsi, along with every other allowed name, passed due to being able to be conjugated according to Icelandic regulations, as well as not causing any shame to anyone.

Mia wasn’t approved for a given name due to writing rules stating that the letter a cannot follow i directly. The name Mía, however, is already approved as a given name. Zion didn’t pass because the letter z isn’t in the Icelandic alphabet, as well as writing rules prohibiting the letter i to precede the letter o.

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