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A family court in France has stopped parents from naming their baby girl Nutella after the hazelnut spread, ruling that it would make her the target of derision.
The court ordered that the child be called Ella instead.
He said in his ruling that the name Nutella was the trade name of a spread that is commonplace in Gallic homes.
“And it is contrary to the child’s interest to have a name that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts,” the judge pronounced.
French parents are usually free to choose the names of their children, but local prosecutors are empowered to report what they deem to be unsuitable names to a family court.
The parents did not attend the court hearing, so the judge decided in their absence that Ella was a more appropriate name.
There have been several cases involving children’s names in France since 1993, when parents were finally given the freedom to name their children as they pleased, including:
- A couple who wanted to call their daughter Fraise (Strawberry) which a judge also ruled could result in the child being teased. The baby instead was renamed Fraisine, a name popular in the 19th century
- A father who took legal action to try and stop French car makers Renault from using the same name as his daughter, Zoe Renault. Cedric Renault argued that if Renault named car model Zoe it would make his daughter’s life a “nightmare”
- Iain and Sophia Renaud in 1999 fended off legal action to prevent them from naming their daughter Megane, even though local authorities said it sounded too much like a car [youtube jpmQ14LDFfI 650]
Duck Dynasty is among the TV shows influencing the hottest trends in baby names in 2013.
Silas “Si” Robertson finds himself with unlikely namesakes this year.
According to BabyCenter, Silas jumped to No. 112 among boys’ names on its annual list of popular baby names. Phil, the name of the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family, the Robertsons of West Monroe, Louisiana, rose 32%, or 860 spots, on the list.
Korie, the name of Willie Robertson’s wife, jumped an amazing 89%, or 13,262 spots, on the list.
Si Robertson finds himself with unlikely namesakes this year
No one’s rushing to name their sons, or daughters, after Breaking Bad‘s Walter White – the name Walter fell 12%, or 55 spots – and most other character names on the show also dropped on the list. Two character names, however, saw significant jumps: the name Mike is up 20% and Marie is up 21%.
Kate Middleton’s son, Prince George, also had a big impact for such a little guy. BabyCenter found that the name George climbed 10% for boys – and 37% for girls.
And don’t forget the ever-popular Kanye West-Kim Kardashian family.
While the name of their daughter North did not show a great increase, the name Kanye jumped 38%, or 2,228 spots. Little North West’s nickname, Nori, also saw an increase of five spots on the list.
The HBO series Girls had an impact on two fronts: the name of character Marnie jumped 62%, or 3,286 spots, and the name of series creator and star Lena Dunham rose 26%.
Elsewhere, the names Jackson, Aiden and Liam topped BabyCenter’s list of the top 100 baby names for boys. Sophia, Emma and Olivia topped the list of the most popular girls names.
Prince Harry has reportedly told friends that Kate and William are expecting a boy.
Prince Harry is so happy about becoming an uncle he couldn’t keep the secret of the baby’s sex to himself.
The bookies are offering odds of 1/3 favorite on Kate Middleton having a girl and 5/2 for a boy, even though couple have made no official announcement about the baby due in mid-July.
But those odds may change after a source close to Prince Harry said: “Harry has been telling everyone Wills and Kate are having a boy and how thrilled he is at the prospect of having a little nephew.
“He said the whole family were excited about it. Apparently Kate has always wanted a boy. They’re really working hard on baby names now and think they have it sorted.”
Prince Harry has reportedly told friends that Kate and William are expecting a boy
Princess Eugenie, Prince William’s cousin, has also been telling friends the baby is a boy, according to another royal insider quoted by the Sunday People.
The source said: “They won’t reveal anything to anyone – not even Harry. Of course, Harry’s been making up crazy suggestions and winding them up too.
“The close inner circle all know that it’s a boy and they’re busily buying gifts with a boy theme. There will be an awful lot if blue in their house.”
Although the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have kept mum about the baby’s name, Kate Middleton, 31, has accidentally dropped a couple of hints about the sex of the child in recent months.
In March she appeared to suggest a girl was on the way when she given a teddy by a well-wisher during a walkabout in Grimsby.
Kate Middleton said: “I will take that for my d..” –and then stopped herself.
A nearby listener said: “You were going to say daughter, weren’t you?”
Kate replied: “No, we don’t know.”
Weeks later Kate Middleton appeared to drop another clue as she revealed she had bought a Bugaboo pram in light blue which could indicate the newborn would be a boy.
The pram’s color came to light when the duchess chatted to a group of Army wives at a reception on St Patrick’s Day.
Then Prince Harry was seen holding a blue teddy bear as he walked to Kensington Palace, the home he shares with Kate and William in London.
But there was a simple explanation – the bear had been given to him by a little girl while he toured Nottingham. She asked him to give it to Kate’s baby and he delivered it in person.
But another insider added: “Even though there’s a lot of gossip doing the rounds, there’s no way anyone can confirm it at the moment.”
The Sunday People claims that no decision has been made where Kate Middleton will have the baby, but the choice has been narrowed down to two hospitals.
Princess Diana Prince had William and Harry at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, West London, while there is speculation that the child could be born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital – the birthplace of Kate Middleton and her sister Pippa.
Blaer Bjarkardottir, a 15-year-old Icelandic girl, has won the right to keep her first name, despite it being “unapproved” by the state.
Why do some countries restrict baby names?
Parents-to-be often find it hard enough to find a name they both like, let alone one the state might also be in favor of.
Bjork Eidsdottir had no idea when, in naming her newborn girl Blaer 15 years ago, she was breaking the law.
In the eyes of the authorities Blaer, which means “light breeze”, was a male name and therefore not approved. It meant that for her entire childhood, Blaer was known simply as Stulka (Girl) on official documents.
But Reykjavik District Court ruled on Thursday that it could indeed be a feminine name.
“Finally I’ll have the name Blaer in my passport,” she said after the ruling.
Several countries – such as Germany, Sweden, China and Japan – also restrict names. Why?
In the case of Iceland, it’s about meeting certain rules of grammar and gender, and saving the child from possible embarrassment. It must also be possible to write the name in Icelandic.
There is a list of 1,853 female names, and 1,712 male ones, and parents must pick from these lists or seek permission from a special committee.
Bjork Eidsdottir had no idea when, in naming her newborn girl Blaer 15 years ago, she was breaking the law
Similar concerns about child welfare are present in Germany, where a Turkish couple was not allowed to call their baby Osama Bin Laden.
One couple named their baby Berlin after the city in which they met, prompting the registrar to mount an objection. He eventually relented after the family’s lawyer pointed out that the courts had allowed the name London.
Gender confusion prevented a German boy being Matti, because the sex of the baby wouldn’t be obvious. And you won’t find any Germans named Merkel, Schroeder or Kohl, either, because surnames are banned as first names.
The name 4Real fell foul of authorities in New Zealand, because names cannot start with a number.
A judge there also made a young girl a ward of court so that she could change the name she hated – Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.
When Japanese parents register their newborns, the local authorities can say no if they don’t think the name is appropriate. In 1993, the name Akuma, meaning “devil”, was not permitted.
And in China, people have been forced to change their names because they were deemed too obscure.
The UK and the US have much more liberal naming laws.
American parents can pretty much name their child anything, says Michael Sherrod, co-author of Bad Baby Names: The Worst True Names Parents Saddled Their Kids With.
In fact, he says, parents see it as an important expression of their freedom of speech, enshrined in the US Constitution.
“When I discovered the restrictions that other countries have, I was absolutely astounded.”
Strange names are nothing new, he says. Census records in the 18th and 19th Centuries revealed people named King’s Judgement, Noble Fall and Cholera Plague.
“In all, there have been 20 people named Noun, 458 named Comma, 18 called Period but only one called Semicolon.”
Getting on to more risqué territory, Ima and Wanna are also popular, especially with surnames like Mann, Hoare or Pigg, he says. More offensive names have also been allowed.
But why would parents do that to their children?
“A lot of parents say they want their kids to be unique. They think it’s fun and differentiates their child from everyone else, and gives them a personality,” says Michael Sherrod.
“Americans are also very proprietary about their children and take the attitude, <<We can do whatever with our children and if they don’t like it they can change it when they’re older>>.”
Children with unusual names tend to get a lot of abuse at school but then embrace it when they’re older, he says.
There is no question that some of the more offensive names could be considered as child abuse, but that doesn’t mean legislation is the answer, says Michael Sherrod.
“I’m not saying courts should not intervene, but I would prefer they do so only when parents cannot agree and the item gets taken to court.
“I think, for the most part, parents are pretty good at compromise. I would say, anecdotal evidence is that the number of cases considered abusive is so tiny as to not require much law, if any.”
But courts have stepped in on occasion.
When Thomas Boyd Ritchie III tried to change his first name to III, he was told by a court in California it would be “inherently confusing”.
BabyCenter released its annual global list of top 100 baby names for 2012, and Aiden took the top boys’ spot for the 8th consecutive year, while Sophia sits at the top for girls for the 3rd year in a row.
Aiden and Sophia may still hold the crown for “world’s most popular baby names”, but Mad Men’s Betty, several characters from Fifty Shades of Grey, and even Apple products are moving up the list, fast.
Several trending names made headway this year, including the Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired Anastasia, rising by 10%, Ana moving up 35 spots, and Grey rinsing by nearly 20%. Christian, however, actually declined in popularity.
BabyCenter’s global editor in chief, Linda Murray, told Today: “Earlier this year we heard moms telling us… <<this book is an aphrodisiac>>, and it’s helping them get pregnant. So it was not a surprise to see these names coming up the list.”
“I’m wondering how the moms are going to explain the inspiration for these names in a few years,” she added.
However, the biggest gain in the top 100 was the name Betty, up 54% this year thanks to Betty Draper’s character on Mad Men, coupled with a growing trend in old-fashioned names.
But BabyCenter also pointed out that technology, namely the iPhone, is also having a big effect on 2012 trending baby names.
Apple, the name of Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, is up 15% for girls, while Mac is up 12%, and Siri, the name of Apple’s talking personal assistant, jumped 5% on the girls list.
Linda Murray explained: “This was a surprise to us this year. We hadn’t seen Apple rise when Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter, but people love their technology.”
The top 100 name list is based on the names of 450,000 babies born this year to mothers worldwide registered with the BabyCenter website.
Filling the other spots on the top ten girls list are Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Ava, Lily, Zoe, Chloe, Madison, and making a debut in the list, Mia.
After Aiden on the boy’s top ten came Jackson, Ethan, Liam, Mason, Noah, Lucas, Jacob, Jayden and also making a debut this year, Jack.
BabyCenter released its annual global list of top 100 baby names for 2012, and Aiden and Sophia still hold the crown
Linda Murry said: “Moms really like feminine names and we see a lot of crossover.
“These names work for a lot of ethnicities, so I think that’s why they’re in the top ten.”
As for Aiden reigning supreme, she said: “Part of the reason it stays number one is you can spell it in 45 different way. Moms love it.”
The UK has also been a strong influence, with young royal names up in popularity.
Harry is up 57% from the 2011 list, and Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa, increased by 35%.
Linda Murray said: “People love Harry and Pippa. They’re less in the spotlight than Will and Kate.”
Political names have always been popular, but this year’s election saw no boost to the names Barack, Mitt, Joe or Paul. Instead, past presidential names were favored, including Reagan for girl’s, jumping 46%, and Kennedy, Carter, Lincoln and Nixon rising in the rankings.
2012 HOTTEST NAMES FOR GIRLS
2012 TOP NAMES FOR BOYS
A list of US names compiled by Nameberry has unearthed a selection of unlikely monikers including Tequila, Cougar and Moo.
Also included in their round-up of the most bizarre names are Swayze, after late actor Patrick, which five boys were named last year, while 14 girls and 25 boys were given the name Wrigley, after the Chicago stadium.
The name Tomorrow also appeared on the register, alongside Evening and Future, while Cougar was one of the more unusual among the trend for what Nameberry calls “fierce” names.
“To the six girls named Bunny out there: Watch out,” joked site founder Pamela Redmond Satran.
A list of US names compiled by Nameberry has unearthed a selection of unlikely monikers including Tequila, Cougar and Moo
The strangest, though, has to be the dismissive Eh, which 14 girls were named last year.
Another six of last year’s babies must have been born troublemakers as their parents elected to name them Corleone after the fictional Mob family in The Godfather.
Mad Men character Don inspired parents to call their sons Draper, while Elvis Presley’s home Graceland was the name given to seven baby girls.
Notorious was the name given to five boys – no doubt their parents were fans of Biggie, while the very tough-sounding Tank was among this year’s newest names.
Conjoined names – those without a space, hyphen or even spelling the second of the two names with a capital letter – also emerged as an unlikely new trend.
Five boys were named Kingsolomon, while others on the register were Princewilliam, Princemichael, Sircharles, and Marcjacob.