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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Banning very long names - the German Court makes a decision

Have you ever wondered about some names of people from South America, they can be pretty long, and similar is the case with some names of people from South India (while American and British names can be very short - consider the name Joe Smith). However, have you heard of a court intervening to decide how long names can be ? Well, the German constitutional court has banned long names where a couple hyphenated their already hyphenated names, to make names with 3 words or more (link to article):

It was not the first time the court was forced to weigh in on the subject of names, which are regulated start to finish, fore to family, in Germany. This time, it was a Munich couple who decided to challenge the constitutionality of a 1993 rule limiting the names of married people to a single hyphen and two last names.
Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim, a Munich dentist, wanted to take the last name of her husband, Hans Peter Kunz-Hallstein, to become Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein. The case brought Germany’s minister of justice before the court in Karlsruhe for oral arguments in February to defend the ban on what the Germans call “chain names.”

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