OSLO, Norway -- Gesher's parents have been ordered to give their 10- month-old son a more acceptable name. Something normal, like Odd. Or Bent. Or Roar.
Norway has an official government list of acceptable names, and Gesher isn't on it. His parents face a $420 fine unless they rename him.
Gesher's mother, Krisi Larsen, is willing to fight in court for the right to name the youngest of her 13 chil- dren. She said the name came to her in a dream, as the word bridge, which she translated to the Hebrew Gesher.
"If we accept the fine, it's like we're admitting some kind of guilt," Larsen, 42, said yesterday. They were fined for failing to submit a legal name to the local population regis- try.
Even if they lose in court, "we're still calling Gesher Gesher," Gesher's mother said.
Norway's strict names law dates from the 1800s, and is intended to protect children from names that sound or look strange. Other accept- able names are Dits, Fridvall, Glisur, Glasius, Wrold, Anond, Raabi and Skagj.
[Gesher's mother actually went to jail. See this article from a Norwegian newspaper following the story, including a photo of Gesher's mom serving time for resisting the name law.]
Document URL: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/norway-names.html
Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Jul-2007 16:27:52 EDT