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Different spellings as uniqueness in today’s naming in Denmark

Birgit Eggert

Pages 415 - 435

Abstract: The variation of first names has increased dramatically in Denmark over the last decades as it has in many countries around the world. The indications are that more and more parents want unique first names for their children, or at least names that are not among the most common ones. Based on data from Statistics Denmark on which first names babies have been given since 1995 and lists of approved first names from the Family Court, a development in the movement towards more variability is uncovered. The study shows that the use of first names in Denmark has become more diverse in the period 1995-2020. This is reflected by three factors: firstly, that there are fewer new-borns each year who share the most frequent names that year; secondly, that there has been an increase in the number of different names and name forms given each year; and thirdly, that there are more and more babies each year who get a unique name. The study of variant spellings shows that variants of specific names also appear to be increasing. The four names ‚Freja‘, ‚Sofia‘, ‚Oliver‘ and ‚Lucas‘ have been examined, and the results indicate that there is a difference when it comes to names for girls and for boys: The proportion of rare spelling variants increased during the period 1996-2020 when it comes to the girls’ names, while the picture is less clear for the boys’ names.


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