Subway riders found a creative way to pay tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant with a makeshift sign at the Bryant Park subway station. The sign at the 42nd St-Bryant Park Station was plastered with the name “Kobe” over “42nd Street” in order to read: “Kobe Bryant Park.” The makeshift memorial was just one of many tributes around the country as fans gathered to mourn the star.
Bryant died in a California helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Also killed in the crash were girls’ basketball coach Christina Mauser, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli.
In the third lecture (February 1, 2020) of the Town History Series, Don Bruce will present a number of stories about the origin and meaning of place names in West Bath (Maine, USA).
The Sagadahoc History and Genealogy Room announces its sixteenth annual Town History Series, jointly sponsored by the Patten Free Library and the Bath Historical Society. On five Saturday mornings in January and February, from 10:30-11:30 A.M., people from the five towns that support the Library will present aspects of their towns’ histories in the Community Room of the Patten Free Library. The Series will be filmed for showing on local TV. The talks will be free and open to the public.
With the reality that a previously unknown animal virus has started infecting people, the world faces a recurring question: What does one call it?
The pneumonia-causing virus, which is spreading rapidly in China and beyond, is currently being identified as 2019-nCoV, shorthand for a novel or new (i.e. “n”) coronavirus (CoV) that was first detected in 2019. The disease it causes doesn’t yet have a name, either, though Wuhan SARS or Wu Flu are among of the options being thrown around on the internet.
None of these is likely to be the virus’ or the disease’s permanent name. They almost certainly would be unacceptable to the Chinese, and to the World Health Organization, which discourages the use of place names in the naming of diseases. As for the virus, the longer it spreads the less novel it becomes.
So how to name it? And who gets to name it?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary site is an epicurean and sometimes mercurial presentation of language that tantalizes even the most Draconian and martinet-ish of word lovers. A case in point: The delightful “Eponym Quiz,” which tests your knowledge of many of the words in the previous sentence that are based on the names of people. This article in the Columbia Journalism Review discusses well-known – and more obscure – eponyms. Here’s a sample:
In traditional usage an “eponym” is something that has loaned its name to something else. By extension, in everyday usage and many dictionaries, the “eponym” is also the thing that borrowed the name.
Some eponyms have retained the capitalization of their namesakes, such as “Bakelite” (1909), a trademark for the first synthetic plastic, created by Leo Baekeland. Most have lost their capitalization, though some are recognizable as deriving from names. For example, “béchamel” sauce, named for the Marquis Louis de Béchamel, a steward to Louis XIV of France in the late 17th century. The sauce had probably been brought to France at least a hundred years earlier, but the Marquis got naming rights. (The Oxford English Dictionary says it first appeared in English in 1789 spelled “bishemel.”)
Click through to read more!
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg attends a climate strike in Stockholm on Friday, Dec. 20.
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 18th column, he looks at the American Name Society’s Name of the Year.
Do you know where Arrokoth is? At its meeting in New Orleans on Jan. 3 2020, the American Name Society voted Arrokoth 2019’s Name of the Year.
In November, NASA announced this as the name of “minor planet 486958.” Before the New Horizons probe flew over this far-away rock in the Kuiper Belt on Jan. 1, 2019, NASA received about 34,000 name suggestions. Their initial selection, Ultima Thule, was abandoned when it turned out that Ultima Thule was used by Nazi occultists as the mythical home of the “Aryan race.” Arrokoth means “sky” in Powhatan, an extinct Algonquian language formerly spoken in eastern Virginia.
ANS chose Names of the Year for place names, artistic-literary names, personal names, trade names, e-names and miscellaneous names before picking the overall Name of the Year.
“Greta Thunberg” won personal name of the year. Swedish teen Thunberg, who turned 17 on Jan. 3, leads a global youth movement addressing climate change. She was chosen as Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019, and her name has become a byword for youth climate activists. Their influence on politics is called the Greta Effect. A documentary film about the movement is titled “Make the World Greta Again.”
Intrepid sleuths at XDA-Developers have uncovered code in the latest Google App, buld 10.93, that may be part of a new feature to improve the apps pronunciation abilties when it comes to proper names. Right now if your name is hard for Google to pronounce, your best option is to find the Nickname settings and enter a more transliteral spelling that forces Google to say it the way you prefer. Quite inelegent.
The new feature gives you the option to “record your own” pronunciation. It is unclear what happens then, once Google has a recording. At best there will be some sort of AI methodology to analyze the way you pronounce the name, then transpose your pronunciation onto the Assistant’s voice. At worst it may just play the recording of you reading your own name, but that seems unlikely.
Congratulations to McGill BA student, Marielle Côté-Gendreau, who was recently awarded the American Name Society Emerging Scholar Award, which recognizes “outstanding scholarship of a names researcher in the early stages of his/her academic or professional career”. She received the award for her submitted article “Tracking Napoleon, his name and his myth in 19th century French Canada: Sociodemographic regard on a revealing naming pattern“, at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society, which meets concurrently with the Linguistics Society of America, last week in New Orleans. Congratulations Marielle!
ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference
January 7-10 2021, Toronto, Canada
The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Toponyms and Literaryscapes”. Although toponyms are often taken for granted in our daily lives, they bear considerable potential for acquiring personal and social meanings depending on their contexts and co-texts of use. These multi-layered meanings are often utilized by authors as a literary resource to evoke associations or invoke evaluative positioning. Papers accepted for this panel will explore how the meaning potential of place-names—be they real or fictional—is effectively harnessed to shape literary settings within specific works or by specific authors. Examples of themes that can be addressed include toponyms choice/invention and their connotations; toponyms in translation; toponyms in literary theory; and toponyms and intertextuality.
For more information about the MLA, check out the official website.
Proposal submission process:
- Abstracts proposals (350 words) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr. Luisa Caiazzo (firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Proposals should include “MLA 2021 proposal” in the subject line of the email;
All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract
- DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 8pm GMT on 31 March 2020. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 8 May 2020
- Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers
- For further information, please contact Dr. Luisa Caiazzo <email@example.com>.
A downloadable version of the Call for Papers can be found here.
More information about ANS and MLA conferences is available on the Conferences page of this website.
Dick Gautier as Conrad Birdie in the 1960 Broadway Musical BYE BYE BIRDIE
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 3rd column, he looks at the history of the name Conrad.
Conrad is the modern form of an ancient Germanic name combining “kuoni” (brave) and “rad” (counsel.) The first famous Conrad was St. Conrad (900-975), bishop of Constance, a city on Germany’s border with Switzerland. He once drank a chalice of concentrated communion wine a spider dropped into. Because they thought that all spiders were poisonous, Conrad’s contemporaries saw this as proof of great bravery.
In 1880, when Social Security’s yearly baby name lists began, Conrad ranked 262nd. Though its use then drifted downward, this very German name surprisingly rebounded during World War I. Two men whose last name was Conrad may have helped. During the war, Austrian Field Marshal Franz Conrad, Baron von Hötzendorf (1852-1925), was considered a military genius despite many defeats. Perhaps more importantly, Polish-born British novelist Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), best known today for “Heart of Darkness” (1899), was then at the height of his fame.
Though hotel magnate Conrad Hilton (1879-1979) countered that image with one of wealth and power, the name fell to 836th in 2005.