Most parents want their child's first name to be something very special. So they browse through books or click through first name Internet portals – and sometimes even use their own imagination.
“You can see that parents are putting more energy into choosing a first name than they used to,” said naming expert Frauke Rüdebusch from the German Language Society (GfdS) in Wiesbaden.
As a result, there are more and more newly-created first names. “We have just under ten million individual names in our database, and a good million new names are added every year,” she said.
Newly created first names such as Bennimilia, Jisildis, Julix, Laurelie or Sonek, for example, were given to babies in 2020.
“They sound like names, and you can also usually tell if it's a name for a girl or a boy,” the linguist explained.
That’s an important prerequisite for these fantasy names to be recognised by the Standesämter (registry offices).
In Germany, parents must apply to have their new child’s name approved at one of these offices, and a major reason for rejection is not being able to tell the gender of the child.
In cases of doubt, the Standesämter often asks the name researchers at GfdS for advice.
Overall, GfdS does not recommend five to 10 percent of the names they receive, said Rüdebusch. They include proposals such as Kiddo, Maybee, Berate and Churasko.
But that’s not all. “Lamborghini we rejected. As well as Corvette, Borussia and Lucifer. Or names like King, Count or Prince,” said Rüdebusch.
In general, nobility names were also not accepted. However, in about half of the rejections, a compromise is worked out with the parents. On average, the number of names that are given only one time in a year is five percent.
But many parents continue to stick with common or traditional names. In 2020, Emma, Sophia, Lina, Ella, Mila, Clara and Lea landed among the top ten names for girls. Among the boys, Noah, Finn, Leon, Elias, Paul, Henry, Luis and Felix made it onto the list.
First name – (der) Vorname
Reject – ablehnen
Cases of doubt – (die) Zweifelsfälle
Work (something) out – erbeiten
We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.