Letter: The name game

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your story about the Norwegian woman jailed for giving her son a name which is not on the country's approved list ("Jail for giving son illegal name", 24 December) prompted me to give thought to current trends in the names given to children in the UK.

The enthusiasm for hyphenated forenames, Emily-Jade, John-Paul, Lori- Lei etc, seems to be on the wane and has been replaced by parents personalising children's names through variations of spelling or pronunciation.

My understanding, which I assume was mistaken, was that Registrars of Births were required to advise parents on the usual spellings of the chosen name for their child.

I wonder if they are actually creating confusion and difficulty for the owners of the names in an attempt to create something individual and personal.

Teachers are now frequently confused by the plethora of individual spellings, or by the non-standard pronunciation of well-established names.

Individual spellings which I have encountered recently include Danyell (Danielle), Kattie (Katie or Katy), Jayde (Jade), Mikala (Michaela), Ashlee (Ashley), Amii and Aimee (Amy), Lynnett (Lynnette, I presume, rather than Linnet ).

I'm not sure who is more confused. Is it me, the ageing teacher, who is struggling to spell or pronounce the children's names according to the parents' wishes; or is it the children themselves who have to explain their names each time they encounter a new teacher and are likely to have to do so throughout their lives?

I have no objection to adults choosing to call themselves by whatever name they wish, but I think there needs to be some care and discretion in naming children - though not to the extent of jailing errant parents.

PHILIP PARKIN

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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