Well, OK, I’ve already broken my rule about spending more than 4 hours on a post. I set out to write about something told to me orally by a usually reliable source, but despite Googling my fingers to the bone I can’t seem to verify it anywhere – at least not online, for free, in a language I can read. However, in my science life I found that we often learn more from a failed experiment than a successful one, and maybe that will happen here too. Readers, please help me if you can!
Established: In some countries – reputedly “free” countries at that – you can’t name your baby just anything you want. You have to choose from an approved list or get an authority, such as a court or a church, to grant an exception. (Some in the U.S., where celebrities have counted on giving their babies weird names as a source of free publicity since the late, celebrated musician Frank Zappa named his first two children “Dweezil” and “Moon Unit,” are appalled by the existence of these laws, possibly because it creates a trade deficit in weird-baby-name jokes).
In question: Whether Norway has recently dropped some extremely traditional names, such as “Bjorn” (which means “bear”) from the approved list. Can anyone tell me whether this is or isn’t true (and preferably supply a reference)?