Where the Streets Have MLK’s Name

The personal name of the legendary Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, has served as a source of inspiration for the naming of places, spaces, organizations, and institutions across the United States. According to a recent article appearing in National Geographic, evidence of this onomastic inspiration can also be found outside the USA.  The human rights activist’s name can be seen in many different countries; the global MLK street count is upwards of a thousand, including a number of Martin Luther King streets in Germany, the country from which he got his name. The online article includes an interactive map that can show streets named for Dr. King around the world.

No comprehensive global index of the streets named for King exists, but there are more than a thousand entries for such eponymous streets in OpenStreetMap, the publicly maintained database where citizens around the world can add and edit road maps. This interactive map pairs those records with Google Street View images, where available, to provide a glimpse of the places where King’s name and legacy have become part of the landscape.

“Jamal Khashoggi” Chosen 2018 Name of the Year

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

“Jamal Khashoggi” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2018 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in New York City on January 4, 2019.

The winner was also chosen ANS’s Personal Name of the Year. Jamal Khashoggi was a Washington Post journalist and critic of Saudi regime who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. His name is associated with the increasing threats that journalists face as they pursue their craft in a political atmosphere that brands them “enemies of the people” and creators of “fake news.” It is also significant as journalists have become more accurate in pronouncing the surname (Kha-SHOWG-zhee) as the name has remained in the news.

“Paradise” was chosen as the Place Name of the Year. The California city was largely leveled in the devastating Camp Fire in November. The town got its name in the 1860s, probably because of its picturesque setting. The power of this place name lies in the startling contrast between the original beauty that this toponym was chosen to represent and the catastrophic events that came to mark this community.  Within the United States, “Paradise” became common in wordplays such as “Paradise Lost”.  The name demonstrates not only sociocultural relevance, but also linguistic productivity.

“Gritty” was voted Trade Name of the Year. The new mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, a professional hockey team that had until then lacked any mascot, made its debut on September 24, and immediately provoked a variety of responses. Left-wing activists made him a socialist meme: a blue-collar monster, reclaimed from marketing creators. On October 24 the Philadelphia City Council passed a formal resolution honoring Gritty, declaring that he honored the city’s spirit and passion. The name “Gritty” also is an inside joke used as a descriptor by fans for any player who isn’t the most athletically talented.

“Wakanda” was chosen Artistic Name of the Year. The fictional African country, created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for their Black Panther comic, was brought to life in the 2018 film Black Panther.

“#MeToo” was chosen as the Miscellaneous Name of the Year. Although it originated in 2017, the linguistic and cultural significance of this term has continued unabated.  The once innocuous phrase of sympathy has turned into an international rallying cry for justice and survivors’ rights.  It is now the name of an international activist movement for survivors of sexual assault, the title of a documentary film, and a US Congressional Act, the “Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress Act”.

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. “Rohingya” was the 2017 Name of the Year. “Aleppo“won for 2016 , “Caitlyn Jenner” for 2015, “Ferguson” for 2014, “Francis” for 2013, and “Sandy” for 2012.

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

About Names: Keith, popular in Britain, peaked in U.S. when Rolling Stones came along

Artist Keith Haring

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 18th column, he looks at the history of the name Keith.

Keith’s a Scottish surname from the “lands of Keith” in the county of East Lothian. The place name may come from Pictish for “woods.” Clan Keith is an important Scottish clan. The name of its founder is unknown. He was a warrior who killed Danish leader Camus at the Battle of Barrie in 1010. King Malcolm II granted him the lands of Keith and the title “Camus Slayer.”

As a famous aristocratic surname, Keith attracted use when the custom of giving surnames as first names took off in the 19th century. In Britain’s 1851 census, there were 96 Keiths in Scotland and 61 in England. The 1850 United States Census found 41 Keiths, only a quarter of Britain’s total when the two nations’ populations were about equal.

One-syllable names are now out of fashion. In 2017 Keith ranked 493rd, its lowest since 1901. Perhaps in another 40 years Keith will make parents happy again.

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

Abcde, a name more common that you might think

Recently, a mother traveling alone with her disabled daughter on a Southwest Airlines flight encountered a blatant case of name discrimination at the hands of a Southwest employee at the ticket counter.  Upon discovering the daughter’s name, “Abcde” (pronounced ‘Ab-si-dee’), the ticket agent not only openly ridiculed the name within earshot of the family by proclaiming that “some parents should be slapped!”.… Read More

Australian archaeologists dropped the term “Stone Age” decades ago, and so should you

The term “Stone Age” is used to refer to early periods in human cultural evolution, and to describe cultures that are seen as “backward” or “primitive”. This attitude can be sourced back to 1877, when American anthropologist Lewis Morgan argued that all human populations progressed through three stages of development: Savagery, Barbarism, and Civilization.

Stone working was a key technology as hominids spread throughout the world, and remained so until the Iron Age, which began about 3,000 years ago. After that, their use started to decline in some parts of the world. Contrary to popular belief, stone tool technology is not simple. It is highly skilled, requiring knowledge of geomorphology, geology, fracture mechanics and the thermal properties of stone.

Want to know more? Click through to this highly informative article at The Conversation by Alice Gorman, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Space Studies, Flinders University, Australia.

About Names: Marisa: from “Star of the Sea” to Hollywood Stars

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 4th column, he looks at the history of the name Marisa.

 Marisa is an Italian, Spanish and Portuguese blend of Maria and Luisa, though in Iberia it’s also from “Maria Isabel.” Italians often interpret it as being from Stella Maris, “Star of the Sea,” a title of the Virgin Mary. Marisa was rare in the United States before the film “The Rose Tattoo” debuted in December 1955. It starred Italian actress Marisa Pavan (born Maria Luisa Pierangeli in 1932) as Rosa Della Rose, a high school senior dealing with a distraught, overbearing widowed mother, played by Oscar winner Anna Magnani.

In 1994, 2,187 Marisas were born, ranking the name 146th. In 1994, girls named Marissa also peaked; 6,245 were born, ranking it 53rd. Originally, Marisa rhymed with Lisa (the pronunciation Berenson uses) and Marissa with Melissa, but they’ve inevitably been confused. Tomei herself rhymes Marisa with Melissa. Marissa is a blend of Mary and Melissa created in 19th-century America. The oldest Marissa I’ve found in more than one census is Marissa Cays, born 1877 in Michigan, but it was probably created decades before.

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

About Names: No matter the spelling, Lindsey has a lasting appeal

Lindsay Wagner by Gage Skidmore

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his November 20th column, he looks at the history of the name Lindsey.

Lindsey is an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom in England’s northern Lincolnshire. It means “the island of Lincoln.” It’s not actually an island, but a high area surrounded by rivers and marshes. Surnames Lindsey and Lindsay show one’s ancestors came from Lindsey. Scottish Clan Lindsay was founded by Sir Walter de Lindsay, who went to Scotland in the 11th century as a retainer of David, brother of Scotland’s King William the Lion.

The regular use of surnames as girls’ first names began in the South. The earliest female Lindsey in the census is Lindsey Ann Keenin, born December 1846 in Tippah County, Mississippi. Over 60 years, census takers wrote her name as Lindsey, Linsey, Lyndsa, Linnie, Lyndsy and Lynie. Multiple spellings made Lindsey seem less popular than it really was. If girls named Lyndsey, Lyndsay, Linsey and Lynsey are added, 1984’s combined total of 19,286 ranks 11th.

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

About Names: Ethan, which means “enduring,” has lasted since Old Testament times

Actor John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards in the 1956 film “The Searchers” (AP/Warner Bros.)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his November 6th column, he looks at the history of the name Ethan.

Ethan is the English form of Hebrew Eitan, “solid, enduring.” Four Ethans are mentioned in the Old Testament. The most famous, Ethan the Ezrahite, wrote Psalm 89, beginning “I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever.” Ethan was one of the obscure biblical names New England Puritans adopted. Ethan Allen (1738-1789), Vermonter who led the “Green Mountain Boys” at Fort Ticonderoga’s capture from the British in 1775, is the most famous example.

When Edith Wharton published classic novel “Ethan Frome” in 1911, the name was a good choice for a downtrodden New England farmer born around 1860.

In 1956, director John Ford adapted a novel by Alan LeMay into the Western “The Searchers.” John Wayne played Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran searching for his niece, who’s been kidnapped by Comanche raiders. In the novel, the character was “Amos.” Ford changed that to Ethan because Amos was too identified with the comic character from “Amos ’n’ Andy.”

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

Anthony Shore on Naming: Explore Concepts, not Words

Anthony Shore is Chief Operative of Operative Words and was formerly Global Director of Naming and Writing for Landor Associates. In this blog post, he offers advice about creative brand names, starting with the concept “To name well, you must name abundantly.”

To create the many name candidates needed for a new brand name, Shore counsels that you should explore concepts, not words:

Concepts are intrinsically more generative than specific words because concepts can include other concepts.

Read More

“Hello, death”: Coca-Cola’s te reo marketing blunder

Photo from @waikatoreo on Twitter

A Coke vending machine with the words “Kia Ora, Mate” is doing the rounds on Twitter, with social media users pointing out the dangers of mixing te reo and English. “Mate” is Māori for “death” which brings a whole new meaning to the sentence – and definitely not the one Coca-Cola intended.

An article at the New Zealand Herald rounds up the responses, which were kicked off by a tweet. Twitter user @waikatoreo posted the photo on Sunday, saying “Coke got an unexpected result when they mixed Māori and English”. Click through to see what people had to say!