Conference called “Seafaring: An Early Medieval Conference on the Islands of the North Atlantic”, Denver, Colorado, November 3-5, 2016

3191479019_0644809dfc_mThe Department of English of the University of Denver will be hosting a special conference called “Seafaring: An Early Medieval Conference on the Islands of the North Atlantic” from the 3rd to the 5th of November, 2016. Abstracts for the conference for sessions, seminars, workshops/forums are now being accepted.

Scientists whose work deals with naming and the cross-cultural and/or multi-linguistic relationships among people of the North Atlantic are encouraged to submit an abstract. The Medieval Association of Place and Space (MAPS) can provide more information on that event and on other events of potential interest to researchers working on cartography, geography, and onomastics.

French Geographer Dr. Matthieu Giroud among the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks

22611268748_69471f2376_mOne important branch of onomastics involves the investigation of the intersection between language and topography. To that end, many onomasticians are also geographers.

The American Name Society is sad to share the tragic news, recently confirmed by the Association of the American Geographers (AAG): On the 13th of November, 2015, French geographer, Dr. Matthieu Giroud, an Associate Professor at the Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, was murdered in the terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Dr. Giroud’s area of specialization was immigration and inter-ethnic relations. Dr. Giroud leaves behind his 3 year old son and his wife, who is pregnant with their second child.

The American Name Society expresses condolences to both the Giroud family and all the other mourners who’ve lost loved ones during terrorist attacks this year.

Association of Researchers in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics Conference, Brasov, Romania, September 21-24, 2016

7589129282_970b96a0a0_mThe Association of Researchers in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics will be holding its 4th annual conference entitled the “Structure, Use, and Meaning”. The conference will be held from the 21st to the 24th of September 2016, in Braşov, Romania. The purpose of the conference is to reinforce a dialogue between researchers and practitioners.… Read More

Nine-year-old names new asteroid

16884179681_9859e4501c_qWhen an asteroid is discovered and its orbit is determined, it is given a provisional identification number. Sometime later, the celestial body may be issued a formal name to be listed by the International Astronomical Union. Recently, NASA held a contest inviting students under the age of 18 to name the asteroid number: 101955 199 RQ36.



  • The name could not be longer than 16 characters.
  • It must be pronounceable in more than one language.
  • It could not be considered offensive.


By the time the contest deadline arrived, officials had received more than 8,000 suggestions from school children from around the world.

After reviewing this proposals, judges finally selected the name Bennu which was sent in by 9 year old Michael Puzio from North Carolina. According to officials, what made this name the winner was meaningful history. A mythological name for a large heron, the symbol of Osiris, the name Bennu means “the Ascending One” which brilliantly reflects the fact that in 2023, the asteroid will rise and shine across Earth’s night sky.

In September 2016, NASA will launch a spacecraft to take samples from Bennu. The name of this special mission is OSIRIS-Rex, an acronym for the “Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer.”

Bipartisan bill would rename Bureau of Prisons as Bureau of Corrections By Pete Kasperowicz

15908920084_427dab6609_mOn the 5th of February 2015, a congressional committee was assigned to consider H.R. 760, a bill to rename the “Bureau of Prisons” to the “Bureau of Corrections”. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican representative for Utah’s 3rd congressional district, introduced the bill to help change the US society’s mindset toward incarceration. As Chaffetz explained in an interview with The Hill, the name change would also reflect the fact that 48 states in the Union currently use the name “corrections” instead of “prisons”. According to some prognoses, the bill only has a 1% chance of being enacted.

Melbourne edition of Monopoly drops streets, picks special places instead

3235469361_452875c69a_mThis November, the makers of the Monopoly board game unveiled the official Melbourne edition. From Great Ocean Road and the National Gallery of Victoria to Queen Vic Market and the University of Melbourne, this special edition has replaced many of the original iconic place names with well-known toponymic tourist attractions.

While many Melburnians are lamenting the loss of the toponyms they grew up with, others are complaining that the board game’s choice of place names reinforces many outsiders’ stereotypes. However, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, is not worried at all by the fuss. As he revealed in an interview featured on, he hopes that families will have “amicable fights about what should be on the board and what is” while they have “a wonderful time playing their local game […] This is our game, a part of our community and the landmarks that make up our story.”