The name game

Hirtopolis has a new citizen named Zoe. When registering her birth, I was amused to find strict naming requirements:

  • must consist only of the letters “a” to “z”, hyphens and apostrophes
  • may include accents as long as they are found in French (so ç and ý are okay, but not ã or ÿ)
  • “if the mother or father or both have a hyphenated or combined surname, only one of the names in that surname or those surnames must be used” (so no John Doe-Smith-Buchanan-Fredericks)


The requirements also vary by province. For example, Alberta allows periods whereas Manitoba does not. No province allows semicolons, though, so Bobby Tables must not have been born in Canada.

In some ways, these naming restrictions are more stringent than those enforced in proprietary settings like World of Warcraft (proof). Not that I’m complaining.

For us it was easy. Lacey, Zoe and I all have the same last name. Following the KISS principle, we shied away from the more phonetically precise spelling of Zoë. Realistically, how often would people take the time to type it accurately anyway?

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