When looking at the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache [Society for German language] site about the "word of the year," I found something really interesting. They have a service (20 €) where they will look into a name, and decide whether or not they think it should be accepted, and then they will pass along this recommendation to the city hall (Standesamt). They say on the site that the city hall usually goes along with their decision.
Here are the guidelines they list on their site, when deciding whether a name should be recommended:
1. The well-being of the child is the main priority of the giving of a first name.
2. The gender of the child must - possibly through a middle name - be clear to determine
3. The name should be documented in serious, legitimate (seriös) sources (academic name literature, official documents, etc). Evidence from the internet is only conditionally accepted.
4. The form of the name must be recognizable as a first name.
I find all of this really fascinating. What do you think? Do you think this should be regulated? Does this also say something about the US and Germany?
You may find this interesting...the most popular first names, in Germany and the US (Emma, Maria, Sophia are on both). It's always amusing which names are "classic," and cross the Atlantic divide, and which names are culturally specific. For example, no one is named "Lena" in the States, or "Sebastian," and, the other way around, "Gretchen" is an old lady name in Germany.