Petition to Rename Donald J. Trump State Park

15166576910_7a3d4f1945_mRepublican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has made a quite a name for himself this year. His commentary has offended, injured, shocked, and insulted many groups. In a letter written to the governor, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron is reported to have stated that given the candidate’s behavior, the Donald J. Trump State Park, should be officially renamed. Squadron is not alone in his opinion. Right before the Winter Holidays, a petition started by Brooklyn resident Andrew Cheung had garnered thousands of supporters.

Name of the Year 2015: Caitlyn Jenner


Fictional Names: Rey, Finn, and Poe … Names from the new Star Wars movie, which all have onomastic and cultural significance in how they (1) were created, (2) represent a character, and (3) will impact baby names

Personal Name: Caitlyn Jenner … representing many LGBT onomastic issues

Place Name: Denali … Mount McKinley Will Again Be Called Denali and the onomastic debate surrounding that change

Trade Name: Charlie Hebdo … French satirical magazine attacked by terrorists, whose name gave raise to the hash tag #jesuischarlie

Name of the Year: Caitlyn Jenner


Caitlyn Jenner was chosen the Name of the Year for 2015 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 8, 2016.

The name of the athlete and reality television celebrity who was formerly known as Bruce Jenner became known throughout the world during 2015. “Caitlyn Jenner is an example of how people in modern times are asserting their own identities by choosing their own names,” said Iman Nick, President of ANS. “Many cultures have allowed people to choose their own names after important life changes, and this right is being revived today in a positive ways by those like Caitlyn Jenner.”

Caitlyn Jenner was also voted Personal Name of the Year for 2015.

Charlie Hebdo was ANS’s Trade Name of the Year. The name of this French satirical magazine whose Paris headquarters was attacked in January 2015 by terrorists has become a symbol of free speech around the world. Its iconic status was only reinforced by the more recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

Denali was voted Place Name of the Year. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell ordered the official national name of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, be changed to Denali last August. This put the federal designation in line with the official state of Alaska designation, but was criticized by many in Ohio, original home of President McKinley. The emotions aroused on both sides show the power of naming.

Rey, Finn, and Poe were voted Fictional Names of the Year. The names of three new characters in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” were cited for their expected impact on baby names in 2016. Rey is noteworthy for being a mostly male name given to a strong female character. Finn is significant as a name because it replaces the character’s impersonal designation, FN-2187, when he leaves the stormtroopers and joins the Resistance.

The American Name Society is a scholarly organization founded in 1951 devoted to studying all aspects of names and naming. The Name of the Year vote has been held since 2004. “Ferguson” was the 2014 Name of the Year, “Francis” for 2013, and “Sandy” for 2012.

For further information contact Dr. Cleveland Evans, chair of the Name of the Year committee, at or 402-210-7458.

Japan’s Supreme Court rules that ban on separate last names in marriage is not unconstitutional

5373718684_ca8418bd80_mOn the 16th December, Japan’s Supreme Court announced its verdict on the constitutionality of the law banning spouses from carrying separate last names: The court ruled that the band is indeed constitutional. However, as the current Chief Justice Itsurō Terada, cautioned, this issue will also need to be deliberated by the National Diet. Hence, the debate over this controversial naming prohibition will in all likelihood continue for some time to come.

Find additional information in Japanese here.

Name Society of Southern Africa (NSSA) 19th International Conference, South Africa, September 20-22 2016

3985813320_9a4152490f_mThe Name Society of Southern Africa (NSSA) has just issued its first call for papers for its 19th International Conference to take place at the University of the Free State, in South Africa from the 20th to the 22nd of September 2016. The topic of this year’s conference is Symbolism and Instrumentality in Naming. See the conference website for additional information about abstract submission.

Star Words

505158448_d442a6a3ed_mJust in time for the new Star Wars film, the US American English Dictionary, Merriam Webster has released an article about the film series’ influence on the English lexicon. Among the many words that the fantasy film has introduced into common parlance are several character names (characteronyms) such as Jedi and Wookie. However, as the Dictionary-makers explain, the popularity and familiarity of these names is not enough to warrant their immediate inclusion in the official word lists. After all, character names frequently go as quickly as they come.

In the meantime, less conservative lexicological repositories have already added many Star Wars characters to their collection. For example, the (in)famous e-lexicon, the Urban Dictionary, already contains many entries derived from the Star Wars enterprise…although in many cases, the original onomastic referents have undergone pretty significant shifts.