In a historic election, the citizens of tiny village located in the Northern Spain voted to change the name of their town from the controversial anti-Semitic toponym Castrillo Matajudíos or “Fort Kill the Jews’” to Castrillo Mota de Judíos or “Fort Hill of Jews”.
Although the exact origin and motivation for the original moniker are still a matter of historical speculation, over its 1,000 year existence, the Jewish culture has long been part of the town’s heritage. In fact, the village coat of arms and flag both feature the Star of David.
According to the town major, Lorenzo Rodríguez Pérez, it was high time the town change its name. In an interview with the UK Guardian, he was quoted as saying that the villagers could no longer “carry a name that suggests we kill Jewish people when we’re completely the opposite; this is a community that sprang from Jewish roots and its descendants are the descendants of Jewish people”.
The 8th annual Global WordNet Conference will be held in Bucharest, Romania, from the 27th to the 30th of January, 2016. The purpose of this conference is to offer researchers and developers from around the world the chance to discuss their latest work in the development of wordnet.
Hosted by the Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of the Romanian Academy, the conference organizers are now accepting abstracts for papers addressing topics such as:
- lexicography, onotologies and wordnets
- semantic relations, components, and co-occurrence statistics
- the integration of multi-wordnets in infrastructures such as CLARIN and LT networks
Proposals for tutorials are also welcome. The call for papers ends the 6th of September, 2015. Click here for more on this event.
What mysteries of the past can be unlocked by your family’s surnames?
This fall, historical linguist Dr. Jack Shreve will be answering this and other fascinating onomastic questions in a three session course entitled “Western European Surnames” at Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois. During this seminar, attendees will learn about the derivation of surnames from North, South, and Central Europe.
More information about the course readings, class syllabus, and the registration process can be found by contacting Professor Shreve directly at jackshrevechicago[@]sbcglobal.net
Avotaynu, a Jewish genealogy and family history publication, has recently adapted the article The Jews of Crimea and their Names, originally published by Igor Kotler in its Spring 1989 edition. This article uses onomastics and genealogy to try to illuminate the origins of the Krymchaks (Crimean Jews).
A Canadian band with the name VietCong has sparked international controversy. The Band took its name from the name of the Viêt Công political organization and army which fought against the US during the Vietnam War from 1959 to 1975.
The controversy surrounding the Canadian Indie band’s name choice came to a head when authorities at Oberlin College in Ohio decided to cancel a scheduled show at The Dionysus Disco, a student-run night club on campus. The university cancelled the performance on the grounds that the group’s name was injurious and deeply offensive. While some defend the band’s right to name themselves as a necessary and sacred expression of artistic freedom, others feel that the teenage band is an exploitative and insensitive ploy to gain public attention.
Click here for more information.
On June 15, 2015, at 13:45 CEST, Princess Madeleine, the Duchess of Hälsindland and Gästrikland, in Sweden, gave birth to a healthy baby boy. On the 17th of June, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf announced the official name and title of his grandson: Nicolas Paul Gustaf, Duke of Ängermanland.
Although the name Nikolas is a very common Swedish name, the spelling Nicolas is rather unusual and may reflect the heritage of the newborn’s father, the American-British financier, Chris O’Neil. The newest member of the Swedish Royal family, the little prince is the sixth in line to the Swedish crown—one step behind his older sister, Princess Leonore Lilian Maria Bernadotte, Duchess of Gotland.
It remains to be seen whether the names of the Prince and Princess will have a significant effect on personal naming patterns in Sweden.
Click here for more information.