Over the weekend some friends kept a group of us entertained with their list of potential names for a soon to be expected bundle of joy.

Baby in the stripes just found out how his parents are spelling his name. Photo: Herald Sun

What people would think of the name, potential nicknames and other couples who’d “baggsed the name” were all key considerations.

But curiously, how that preferred name was spelled did not come into the equation at all.

Naming conventions have definitely become something of an abstract art in Australia, ditto correct spelling. There’s an increasing use of “y” and “c” where there used to be a whole lot of a’s, i’s and e’s.

Creativity is one thing but the biggest problem with being too far fetched with spellings and names is the grief it causes other people who deserve a chance of actually being able to say it.

It strikes me that we could learn something from the well-mannered and tidy citizens of Sweden, who are currently fighting a law that requires a family to register their name for approval.

Established in 1982, Sweden’s Name Law, was put in place to prevent common folk giving their children noble names. Tsk, tsk. And also, to protect the children from ridicule when they grow up.

Strangely enough, their beef is not with the law itself. According to a recent edition of Oyster magazine, the Swedes are rejecting the idea that there are only 170 names on the uni-sex list. A fact that definitely seems at odds with their World Economic Forum status, as the most gender-equal country in the world.

The first part of the Name Law clearly has no place here in Australia. Quite aside from the fact that it’s a repression of the right to choose for yourself, it’d be cruel to take away what is clearly some of the most exciting tasks for expectant parents.

But I can’t help feeling that it has some value in the idea that it could protect children from ridicule and protect spelling conventions enough that other people can actually pronounce it.

Follow me on Twitter: @lucyjk

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

Most commented


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    • Gladsy says:

      11:01am | 15/10/12

      A lifetime of people smirking or raising their eyebrows is what you give your child when you whack a y in the middle of Rylee (Riley).

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      11:08am | 15/10/12

      Bring into Australia, Sweden’s Name Law lock, stock and barrel. Stuff the bogans. Also the pram free cafe from Germany…..

    • TheRealDave Barrington-Smythe says:

      12:13pm | 15/10/12

      I agree, stuff the bogans and get back to refined double barrell names of the genteel….

    • Phil says:

      12:19pm | 15/10/12

      Amen. E-S-P-E-C-I-A-L-L-Y the ‘pram free’ cafes!!

      Ten years ago whilst working for the Ambos, we received a call-out to a suspected heart attack in a major shopping centre. The man who suffered the heart-attack was in a cafe at the time. When we arrived, there umpteen over-sized prams parked around the cafe obstructed us from bringing in specialised equipment. We asked the owners to remove them so we could attend to our patient - and coped a mouth full of abuse from some “mothers’ group” about having the right to have their prams there.

      Same group also allowed their toddlers to run up and down around our equipment, touching it, pressing buttons. The mothers were asked to stop their kids from doing so, but the kids continued. One woman looked at us, shrugged her shoulders and said “Kids, what can you do??”. My much older and more experienced partner exclaimed “what about disciplining and control! THAT’S what you can do!!”. Sure enough, a complaint was submitted by a member of this group against my partner. (Thankfully the cafe owner backed us up by way of statement etc, so nothing came of it but it was a waste of everybody’s time).

      I would put money down that if it were one of their prescious offspring who required the ambulance that day, they’d be screaming at everybody else to clear the way to let the Ambos attend to their kids.

      I’ve kids myself - but the above is just one of many experiences I could tell about modern parenting entitlement I had the misfortune to deal with whilst in the QAS.

    • Anne71 says:

      01:00pm | 15/10/12

      Phil - sadly, I am completely unsurprised by your story. It is strange how so many women seem to think that the fact that they’ve got babies or toddlers makes them exempt from having to show respect or consideration for others.  Yet they are always the first to abuse and bitch about people they think don’t show suffiicent consideration for them and their little darlings. Respect is a two-way street, ladies.

    • Lola4 says:

      04:11pm | 15/10/12

      I’m completely surprised by your comment Phil but maybe that’s because I’m from the country? All my friends and I have 1 or 2 children each and we would never think to treat ambos or anyone like that. Especially when you are clearly trying to save someones life!!
      I personally hate going to cafes with my kids because there is nothing relaxing about it. The only time we go out for coffee instead of someones house is the weekend so the dads can watch the kids.
      On the topic of names, both of my children have older names that are having a comeback. Both in the top ten at the moment (although not when we picked them) but I’m not bothered by it. We chose the names because they are so beautiful and clearly a lot of other people think the same thing.

    • Iron Chef says:

      11:11am | 15/10/12

      It’s exceptionally hard for teachers to choose names, usually because we can associate them with horrid students. Boys’ names starting with “J” are all immediately off the table. My wife taught a class with Jayden, Jaidan and Jaydnne (all boys)!

      The best one I’ve ever heard is La-la…..pronounced “Ladashla”...

    • scott says:

      01:17pm | 15/10/12

      It’s La-a, and it’s an old joke about a black lady naming her daughter.  The dash don’t be silent!

    • Rebecca says:

      11:13am | 15/10/12

      When naming your child think about how seriously they would be taken as a lawyer or heart surgeon called Shanaeyla or Rilee Baiyleigh. Use some common sense people… It’s not you that has to live with the name.

    • Markus says:

      11:39am | 15/10/12

      I get the impression that such kids are never going to have to worry about being lawyers or heart surgeons…

    • seniorcynic says:

      11:48am | 15/10/12

      I once came across a doctor called “Elvis” and no he didn’t wear blue suede shoes.

    • Beatle says:

      11:52am | 15/10/12

      lol it’s bad enough that their kids rat-tails and have tattoos on their necks.  Now they need to mispel their names as well.  All so they can say to the world: ” Hey, I’m a Bogan.  Judge me Accordingly”.  Here’s an idea: why not give you kid a chance in life?

    • Thredarikk says:

      11:22am | 15/10/12

      Bogan parents who think they are cool giving their child some stupid made up version of a traditional name is not classy, cool, or new age. Its lame, embarassing, and very lower class.
      Usually the bogan parent is so proud of their ghastly creation that they get their forearm tatooed with the new bogan name they have just created.
      Maybe it will help them spell the name in later life when they forget the stupid spelling they applied to the name.

    • Carolyn says:

      12:25pm | 15/10/12

      But doncha know? Giving them kidz a mozt uniklei spaellt nyeme just proves to the wyrld how spayschul & pwecious Snotley and Bratleigh are?? Theyz gifted!!!! Neffer mynd they haf ADD (Adult Discipline Deficiency) or are gyftyd ‘Spectrum’ chyyyldren.

      One dae thyy wyll be Kancer Kurers. U will cye!!

      Being so SPAYCHAYL makks them dizzurving of cr8yve naimmez

    • Jekub says:

      02:02pm | 15/10/12


      The sad part is I read, and understood, your comment. Bad spelling included!

    • Shane says:

      11:40am | 15/10/12

      There may be a case to be made for weird spellings. Maybe. But never for made up names. I’m not sure how many names Shakespeare made up but try these for starters… Imogen, Jessica and Miranda. True not every bogan is a Shakespeare but…

    • Al says:

      11:45am | 15/10/12

      Shane, when Shakespeare was around there was no standardised spelling of anything. He even spelt his own name differently (I believe it was around 6 different ways).

    • Balanced says:

      01:55pm | 15/10/12

      Imogen is thought to be misspelt Innogen so stud old Bard has some Bogan roots

    • Al says:

      11:40am | 15/10/12

      I always thought some names along the lines of Death, Famine, Plague, Devil, Demon, God etc would be fun.

    • Kika says:

      02:38pm | 15/10/12

      That’s nothing like the one my husband wants for our Son… Itsh*t As*sman. And he’s serious.

    • Al says:

      03:05pm | 15/10/12

      Kika, I would realy like to call a child God and then send them to a religous school.
      Imagine “How come they pray to me everyday dad?”

    • Ally says:

      11:42am | 15/10/12

      I’m all for restrictions on names. If it’s an unusual name or spelling you should be able to say that it’s culturally significant, the name of an ancestor, or have some real reason for it besides “I thought the made up spelling would make it unique” or “ZOMG, this totes hot celebrity named her baby the same thing and I love her so much!”. Maybe this would make people put more thought in to a decision that’s going to impact their kid for the rest of their life (or until they’re old enough to legally change it).

      I find it amusing that some parents are so desperate to ensure their child is unique that they give them a name that will only result in ridicule. They seem to only think about their child as a baby and not how their child is going to live as an adult with a stupid name that will require constant spelling or explanation.

      And I say this as a person with an uncommon spelling of a common name who was named for a great, great grandmother with the same spelling.

    • Timbo says:

      11:55am | 15/10/12

      Are you advocating the introduction of a law that restricts the choices of names so that you can be spared from hearing about how stupid someone is?

    • Al says:

      12:29pm | 15/10/12

      Ally - I actualy have a fairly common name that is spelt how it sounds, except for some reason it is never spelt correctly by others.
      It is even closer to the original form than most of the others used, but that doesn’t seem to matter people seem to like substituting different vowels, adding additional letters and some I have no idea as to how it even resembles my name.
      Maybe it is the scottish origin of my name that confuses them.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      12:45pm | 15/10/12

      @Al I know which name you speak of, problem is there are so many different spellings about I wouldn’t dare to try and guess the spelling.

    • Al says:

      01:16pm | 15/10/12

      PsychoHyena - it has worked to my advantage a few times.
      Being issued fines in the incorrectly spelt name (despite giving them ID with the correct name).
      Just return them with ‘no one by that name is known at this address’ (signed with my correctly spelt name).

    • Ally says:

      01:20pm | 15/10/12

      Timbo - I get huge enjoyment from reading the paper at the weekend and reading what new names people have come up with. This enjoyment would be lessened considerably if restrictions on naming were put in place, but I imagine there would be a lot less kids getting bullied over their names or adults trying to make careers with a handful of scrabble tiles as a name.

      Al - if your name’s the one I think it is, you probably get as many different spellings of it as I do of mine!

    • Phillb says:

      11:42am | 15/10/12

      A mate’s (thankfully ex) girlfriend got quite offended one nght when we bagged the crap out of her for wanting to name her child “Unique” so it would know it was special. We asked what would happen if she had a second, “Notquiteasunique”?

    • Mork says:

      02:44pm | 15/10/12

      Phillb you should watch the Freakonomics documentary (based on the book), there were a bunch of academics who did a study and found over 200 different spellings of the name “Unique”....Notquiteasunique indeed smile

    • nudel says:

      04:02pm | 15/10/12

      Of course, that would be pronounced “Oo-ni-ka.”  Actually, why not just spell it that way… wink

    • HappyG says:

      11:46am | 15/10/12

      My brother has a work colleague who just named their baby daughter"Shontwanna” - I kid you not. FFS what’s wrong with David or Sally or Peter or Michael or Sue. Confected, artificially spelt names usually point to a lack of class and condemn the child to a lifetime of embarrassment. They’re good for a laugh though.

    • Sickemrex says:

      11:56am | 15/10/12

      Life aint easy for a boy named Sue.

    • Macca says:

      12:04pm | 15/10/12

      @Sickemrex, no, but I did go to highschool with a bloke nicknamed Sally who turned out allright.

    • Fiddler says:

      11:51am | 15/10/12

      I have dealt with in my work a child who was named “Ladasha” except it was actually spelt “L-a”

      Poor kid

    • Sick of this urban myth says:

      01:09pm | 15/10/12

      No you haven’t.

    • Luke says:

      01:18pm | 15/10/12

      Ladasha comes out in every bogan name article. I see he or she has made an appearance here.

    • Fiddler says:

      02:27pm | 15/10/12

      this is no urban myth. Yes I have

    • Gordon says:

      02:50pm | 15/10/12

      Are you saying Kim is really a Kar-ian?

    • Timbo says:

      11:51am | 15/10/12

      Why are we asking regulators to make laws about something as personal as a name? 

      It is not the government’s business what I name my child or how I spell it. 

      Stop asking the government to fix things that aren’t important to the government, and you might find they’ll get back to some priorities.

    • Al says:

      11:57am | 15/10/12

      Actualy there are already laws in place that prevent certain names being used.
      Try to get the department of births deaths and marriges to issue a birth certificate in the name of Dickhead or other similar offensive names or including numbers in the name (such as txts) and it will be refused.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      12:51pm | 15/10/12

      “It is not the government’s business what I name my child or how I spell it. “

      I take it that you don’t accept any middle class family welfare such as the baby bonus, family tax benefit A + B, subsidized childcare etc? If you don’t, then feel free to call the breeder’s spawn any name you like. I certainly do.

    • Steve of QBN says:

      02:44pm | 15/10/12

      There are restrictions around names that indicate a title (Prince, Duke, King, Lord etc) and yes, I’m sure trying to get “Hunglikeahorse” Smith through might also be a bit of a challenge.

      The bottom line is this, if some kid, having endured name calling for years in school really wants to do something about it, they can change their name.  Or even “correct” the spelling if needed. I would suggest they start with the Family Name first.  smile

    • Fred says:

      12:04pm | 15/10/12

      Was only a matter of time before this website was quoted.

    • James says:

      01:32pm | 15/10/12

      That’s because its a brilliant website….. wink

    • Tubesteak says:

      03:09pm | 15/10/12

      It catalogues all these atrocities against humanity.

    • Gordon says:

      12:03pm | 15/10/12

      Similar to the 100 points of ID for a bank account, there should be 100 points of common sense required for prospective parents.  Laughable baby names rate -150 points.

    • Rebecca (Not Rybekkah) says:

      01:00pm | 15/10/12


    • Luke says:

      12:06pm | 15/10/12

      Bogan Pride!

    • egg says:

      01:17pm | 15/10/12

      With a name like that, what are you so proud of?! wink

    • andye says:

      02:31pm | 15/10/12

      Bogaan Pryde!

    • Len says:

      02:50pm | 15/10/12


    • TheRealDave says:

      12:11pm | 15/10/12

      Who cares??

      How does having a stupidly named kid affect you in your day to day plod as a wge slave in this great democracy? How does some clown giving their kid a name with a giant capital Q in the middle thats silent prevent you from getting on with your life?

      Fair Dinkum…we whinge as much as Poms and Saffas nowadays, if not more…

    • Thred says:

      12:40pm | 15/10/12

      No, but it does give me a strong sense of superiority over someone when i see their name spelt in bogan-lish. It makes me feel important and high brow when i can point my judgemental finger at some poor child whose parents should have been nuetered.
      That poor child will have to look at the tatt sitting above the g-string line on mums lard arse each day so they can remember how their mum and dad decided to spell to Matthew or Jane.
      Im feeling like catching a train out to penrith right now so i can sit in penrith mall and bask in the gloriousness of my own superiorirty.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:12pm | 15/10/12

      You have successfully refuted my stance totally and unconditionally. I shall join you on the platform shortly.

    • My-kall eSs says:

      12:26pm | 15/10/12

      I came across some bogan parents with the surname Daniels who called their kid Hahlee Davidsen Jak.
      If ever there’s a kid who’s destiny is a flanno and mullet, that would be it.

    • Billy Bob says:

      12:42pm | 15/10/12

      I think Australian bogans have a long way to go before they catch up with the white hillbllys and afro-americans in the good U.S and A.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:16pm | 15/10/12

      Are you casting aspersions on the parenting skills of T’Shawn and Shanyque??

    • Kika says:

      02:35pm | 15/10/12

      I think we’re almost there - especially when teachers have kids in their class called Ta-ay (TaDASHay)

    • Audra Blue says:

      01:16pm | 15/10/12

      I feel sorry for the kids with normal names spelled weirdly.  They can never own one of those personalised mugs you see in specialty stores and news agents.

      I have a normal first name, popular in the 60s and my last name is a little unusual but not so unusual as to cause endless questions.  Although a guy I had a first date with a few weeks ago asked the origin of my surname.  I told him it was originally from the 1300s around the area where Germany is now.  But our recent ancestors are all English stock so it’s been modernised.  And it has a couple of Z’s in it, so it’s pretty hard core anyway lol

      But I sometimes wish my real name was actually Audra Blue.  It has a nice ring to it.

    • Chuck Rider says:

      01:56pm | 15/10/12

      That could work as a porn name.

    • s101 says:

      01:21pm | 15/10/12

      Lucy, don’t ruin it for the rest of us who love nothing better than a Saturday morning cup of tea while sniggering over the names in the Birth section of the paper. If there was a standard list of name, my Saturday mornings would be ruined!
      Another one that pees me off, is people giving their kids nicknames. Archie instead of Archibald or Archer, Harry instead of Henry, Harold or Harrison, Charlie instead of Charles, Lou instead of Louise or Louis, Vicky instead of Victoria, Elly instead of Elenor, etc.
      It is almost as bad as bogan name giving. Chances are, you’ll call your son Charles Charlie anyway but at least give the kid a choice lest he ends up a doctor with a cutesy nickname for a name.
      And I’m talking of people I personally know who don’t come from bogan families.
      Another dislike when it comes to names? Surnames as first names! Arrggghhh Riley, Taylor, Harrison, Rider, etc. Total Americanism in my opinion.

    • Punters Pal says:

      01:39pm | 15/10/12

      I agree with you about surnames for first names. At my kids childcare, there are about five kids called Cooper. Sounds like bogan name de jour.

    • TheRealDave says:

      03:58pm | 15/10/12

      The worst ones are pretencious knobs giving their kids the names of American States…..I eagerly await some seppo knob naming their kid New South Wales in return….

    • Proud Mummy says:

      04:59pm | 15/10/12

      I have two children, a boy named Harrison and a girl named Summer. Both these names can be found in a baby name book given to me by my sister in law. She used it 11 years ago when choosing her daughter’s name.

      The names you so dislike: Taylor, Riley, Harrison, Rider are all mentioned in this book with various stories of their origin.  I think you will find a lot of names used today are variations of surnames.

      Interestingly, I am regularly asked how to spell my daughter’s name, with variations including Summah, Summa, Sommer and Soma. I know say Summer, like the season.

    • KJ says:

      06:24pm | 15/10/12

      it’s not just states, there are cities as well.  Once did a teaching prac and there were twins the class names Dallas and Dakota.  The parents were obvioulsy torn between US cities and states and deicied on one of each.  Didn’t have the heart to tell them that there isn’t a Dakota without a direction - North or South

    • Eskimo says:

      01:40pm | 15/10/12

      Try Psymyn for Simon.

    • GeeTee says:

      01:40pm | 15/10/12

      Ironic that these same people probably name their dogs ‘Jim’ or ‘Sam’

    • LaDiva says:

      02:33pm | 15/10/12

      Or “Fang”

    • Gordon says:

      02:43pm | 15/10/12

      Best dog name I ever heard: Howard Halitosis Monster

    • Sam says:

      01:50pm | 15/10/12

      Ehrik - If this was written by a Tory I would have thought you were taking the piss.

      Free Erik!

    • Mother Duck says:

      02:33pm | 15/10/12

      i taught a boy who spelt his name: Micheal.  Michael of course, but his parents spelt it wrong, so he would spend the rest of his life telling people they must misspell his name Michael.

    • marley says:

      02:41pm | 15/10/12

      My dad’s name was Albert.  He was always called Bus (for Buster).  Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just can’t win…

    • HomeDad says:

      02:43pm | 15/10/12

      I still remember George Costanza flipping his lip when his friends stole the name “7”. Says it all really

    • Nikki says:

      03:46pm | 15/10/12

      King and Queen of the Chavs named their daughter Harper Seven Beckham.  Goes nicely with the names of their boys, Romeo, Brooklyn and Cruz.

    • Tim says:

      03:13pm | 15/10/12

      I’m told “Clamydia” is quite popular as a girls name in parts of Northern England.

    • TheRealDave says:

      03:59pm | 15/10/12

      Rolls off the tongue really….

    • TheRealDave says:

      03:54pm | 15/10/12

      ICB on names that people ‘hear about’ with a - in them and pronounced DASH as in La-a ie LaDASHa.

    • Richard says:

      03:58pm | 15/10/12

      What did the child do to get stuck with these dropkick names, nothing except have dropkick parents .

    • Daz says:

      04:48pm | 15/10/12

      Sometimes it’s more fun just to read the comments.

    • waynevan says:

      05:22pm | 15/10/12

      5 years ago when my best mate and his wife named their young lad David I laid a small wager that when he goes to school he’ll be the only one with that ridiculous outrageous name in their particular part of Sydney’s weird weird west. I’ll find out early next year. His 1 year old sister Emma is keen to find out as well.

    • Mike says:

      05:24pm | 15/10/12

      What about “Noah”...perhaps they can get all the Noah’s together, make them become apprentice boat builders (they’d be really good at it) and save the Australian ship building industry at places that it used to be, like Whyalla !

      This follows the really, cringingly old bible names that sound more suited to an old hillbilly moonshining white bearded Grandad strumming a banjo - Isaac, Jacob, Ezekiel etc. - are all names that are being adopted by the noveau riche white middle class, to try and sound educated or posh.

      Anyone who gets Jayden or Brayden - or any other kind of “aden” sound (double / triple points as appropriate if they really are your kids together…I know someone who DOES have two with these names !) is a bogan.

    • TheRealDave says:

      06:17pm | 15/10/12

      I remember the 90’s fondly…call out Brandon, Jordan or Dillon and 90% of the kids would come running….

    • Monikah says:

      06:34pm | 15/10/12

      Since when do names have to follow the Anglicised version of spelling?
      Cristian (Spanish); Juli (Hungarian); Jordina (Breton) Jewele (Lithuanian) Johanna ( German). I wont even go near the truly exotic or indigenous names.
      As for old biblical names, many of them are growing in popularity. Trends come & go. Once upon a time every second boy was Mathew, Mark, John, David with a smattering of Samuels, Lukes, Rebeccas & Marys.
      Can’t say I’m a fan of Apple, Peaches & Zowie.
      I once met a 40ish Ralph Woolfe.


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