If you are expecting a baby and you are stuck for a name, then a look at last year’s Public Birth Registry might prove to be an inspiration.
Fortunately, the majority of the parents seem to go for names that are less outlandish.
If it’s a boy you might want to consider Chicoziri, Toshiki, Nexcian or Wenvurth. If it’s a girl you might wish to opt for Shanaud, Shazel, Kazleen or Greslana.
These are all real names, registered for babies born in 2011.
A look at the list proves insightful into current naming trends. There were some nonconformist like Prince, Favour, Titus Maximillian or Kaiser (emperor in German), for boys. Some of the more creative ones for girls included Rainbow, Favourite and Jetaime (“I love you” in French).
Topics that dominated the news last year also proved inspirational to parents. One girl has been called Libya another Victory. And someone very patriotic called a girl Valletta.
The predilection for coining new names, particularly for boys, seems very prolific: Cowen, Yelick and Shaizack are but a few examples. Some others, like the girl named Cornis and the boys called Kazon and Liban, might have some problems when it comes to name-calling in the playground.
Names after celebrities are not amiss: No less than seven girls were called Tiffany last year following the success of the Maltese young model on the Britain’s Next Top Model television programme. There’s also a Beyonce, a Ruslana and innumerable variants of the Rihanna (Rhiana, Riana, Riyana).
Some boys got stuck with surnames of famous people like Deniro (after Hollywood actor Robert De Niro), Delpiero (after Italian footballer Alessandro Del Piero), Mika (after the British singer-song writer), Sneijder (after Dutch footballer Wesley Sneijder), Gerrard (after Steven Gerrard, an English footballer) and Didier (after Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba). One boy got the full works and was given both the name and surname of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
For girls, 2011 sees a vast array of the usual sh- tongue twisters: Shanisia, Seleishia, Shalisianne, Shaznaille, Shazalana, Shanaud and Shazmea. While for boys, anything which rhymes with Hayden seems to get the nod: Brayden, Cayden, Jayden, Kayzen, Shayzen, Jaylen, Shayden, Fayden, Haylen and Zayden.
Sky and its variants – Skylee, Skyla, Skyle – seem to be have been a favourite last year, although it is not clear whether parents are fans of singer Sky Ferreira or Sky News. Fortunately, last year no one was called Cleavage, although Cleavon and Cleaven were a close shave.
This colourful list of names begs the question: Does the Public Registry have any control over names?
Article 242 (1) of the Civil Code (chapter 16) states: “The director shall not receive any act which is not written in clear and legible characters, or which contains abbreviations, or which may appear to him to be otherwise defective or irregular.”
A spokesman for the Public Registry noted that one had to keep in mind that the law to date does not impose specific limitations on the names that can be given to children.
There is no list of acceptable or unacceptable names. Nor is there one of names that have been refused. “However, in case of any doubts regarding a name, it is the Director Public Registry who will decide whether that name is acceptable or irregular and his decision is based on what is requested at law,” the spokesman explained.
Single letter names and initials are not acceptable and names that are an insult to society are considered irregular and the Director Public Registry has the authority at law to refuse to register a birth name.”In such rare cases, the couple may opt for another name after they have been given the reason for refusal,” the spokesman said.
What happens if parents refuse to cooperate and insist on going ahead with the planned name? “Then, they may contest the director’s discretion in a court of law,” the spokesman said.
Amendments to the Civil Code have been drafted recently. According to the spokesman, the proposed changes “will be giving the competent authority better direction in this regard”.
No copy of the proposed amendements could be made available to The Times.
The Catholic Church in Malta used to have some say over names when it came to baptising the child but this seems to have all but gone now.
Up till 1983, the Church followed the 1917 canon that obliged a pastor to require that a Christian name – the name of a saint or a virtue – be given or at least added to the name chosen by the parents. For the past two decades however, a new canon is being followed (canon 855), which states that “parents, sponsors and the pastor are to see that a name foreign to a Christian mentality is not given in baptism”.
Explained a Church spokesman: “In the new canon, the responsibility belongs to parents, sponsors and pastor. A Christian name is therefore not required but it has to be one that is not offensive to Christian sensibilities.”
Fortunately, the majority of the parents seem to go for names that are less outlandish. In 2011, the most popular name for boys was Luca, closely followed by Jake and Luke. Julia topped the list for girls, with Emma and Ella as runners up.
Note: The Times only had access to the list of first names. No other information - such as surnames - was made available by the Public Registry due to the Data Protection Act.