Call for Papers: LRI 4 Workshop, Language Policy – Language Use – Language Standard, Merano, Italy, June 7-8 2018

The 4th Workshop of the Linguistic Colloquium: Language, Region, Identity (LRI 4) will be held from the 7th to the 8th of June 2018 in Merano, Italy.  The purpose of this colloquium is to foster scientific exchanges within the Alpine region of Italy, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.  The specific areas of linguistic research to be covered in the workshop include Applied Linguistics, Language Documentation, and Sociolinguistics. The theme of the workshop is “Language Policy – Language Use – Language Standard”.  New researchers (PhD students and post-docs) are especially encouraged to submit an abstract for possible presentation.  The deadline for submission is February 15, 2018You can find the official Call for Papers here, and more information at the LRI website.

Nameberry’s Top 100 baby-name list for 2017

Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry, the world’s largest baby name site, has put together a list of the top 100 girls’ and boys names for 2017 – and there are a ton of new entries!

The list measures which names attract the largest share of the site’s nearly 250 million page views, versus how many babies actually receive that name. It’s a gauge of parents’ interest in baby names, and a predictor of which names will become more popular in the future.

The top names? Atticus leapt to No. 1 on the boys’ list, and Olivia held down the No. 1 spot for girls. New entrants besides Maia on the girls’ side are Rumi, the name of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s baby daughter, along with Alexandra, Allegro, Brielle, Celeste, and Elena.

Want to check out both lists? Head over to this article at Today to find out more!

Japanese kanji of the year is “north” – thanks to Kim Jong-un

Seihan Mori, master of the ancient Kiyomizu temple, uses an ink-soaked calligraphy brush to write the kanji for north. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

Every December the people of Japan select a kanji character that best sums up the social and political zeitgeist of the previous 12 months. After a year dominated by the regional nuclear crisis, there was perhaps only one serious candidate for word of the year 2017: north.

The single character, pronounced kita in Japanese, encapsulates the country’s unease over North Korea’s advances in developing a nuclear arsenal, according to the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, which organizes the annual poll.

Previous kanji of the year have similarly reflected conflicting sentiments among the Japanese public. In 2016 they went for kin – a celebration of Japan’s 16 gold medals at the Rio Olympics, but a reminder too of the resignation of Tokyo’s governor, Yoichi Masuzoe, over an expenses scandal.

About Names: “Jacob” enjoyed long run as top baby name

Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 19th column, he looks at the history of the name Jacob.

The name Jacob is the English form of the Hebrew Ya’aqov, name of the biblical patriarch whose 12 sons are the ancestors of ancient Israel’s tribes. Jacob was Esau’s twin. In Genesis, he’s born holding onto Esau’s heel. Traditionally, the name is derived from words for “heel” or “supplanter,” predicting Jacob later tricking Esau out of his first-born’s birthright.

Many modern scholars think the name was originally “Ya’aqov’el,” from “may God protect,” believing the “heel” explanation came later. The original Latin form of Jacob was Iacobus. Around the fifth century, alternate form Iacomus developed. Several languages have names derived from both: Giacòbbe and Giacomo in Italian, Jacobo and Jaime in Spanish, and Jacob and James in English.

Famous Jacobs besides Gyllenhaal include baseball pitchers Arrieta (1986), deGrom (1988), Diekman (1987), Faria (1993), Nix (1996) and Rhame (1993). Packers punter Schum (1989) and Patriots tight end Hollister (1993) are football-playing Jacobs.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Jacobs in history!