Who decides what a neighborhood is called?

Holding the line: Brian Benjamin sees the nickname SoHa as an attack on Harlem’s history. [Photo: Buck Ennis]

Arguments over what New York’s neighborhoods are called, where they start and end, and who has the right to say so are as old as the city itself. But the battles lately have become much more sophisticated. In this article in Crain’s, writer Joe Anuta reports on the conflict over what to call a section of Harlem, a delicate balancing act between the desires of developers and the need to respect the history of Harlem. This situation is also representative of naming issue in New York City in miniature.

Lecture: Deficits in Action and Object Naming, Dr. Bonnie Breining

On April 13th 2017, a special lecture addressing the effects of neurological damage on the naming of actions and objects was given by Dr. Bonnie Breining at Johns Hopkins University.  The lecture is a part of the C-Star Lecture Series offered by the Center for the Study of Aphasia Recovery. You can view a recording of the lecture here (or on the C-Star YouTube channel).

Deficits in Action and Object Naming: Evidence from Acute Stroke and Primary Progressive Aphasia

Neurological damage can result in selective deficits of naming for both objects and actions. However, assessment of individuals with aphasia often focuses on object naming, making it insensitive for detecting certain language deficits and patterns of recovery or worsening, as well as providing an incomplete view of the neural regions involved in naming. Furthermore, although dissociations have been observed both following stroke and as a result of neurodegenerative conditions such as primary progressive aphasia (PPA), results from the different etiologies are seldom compared directly.

In this talk, I discuss recent work investigating the neural substrates of object and action naming. Individuals with PPA and acute stroke were given the same assessments: the Boston Naming Test to evaluate object naming and the Hopkins Action Naming Assessment to evaluate action naming. We compare the patterns of impairment and the association between behavioral performance and damage to neural regions of interest in these individuals in order to develop a more comprehensive picture of the brain-behavior relationships critical for naming.

About Names: Enchanting Ella traces history to English nobles

Ella Fitzgerald

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 25th column, he looks at the history of the name Ella. The name Ella or Ela was brought to England in 1066 by Norman conquerors. In the late 18th century British and American authors were fascinated by medieval chivalry. Ela was one of many medieval names they revived — though they preferred spelling it with two l’s. The Ellas of today are mostly too young to be famous — though actresses Ella Peck (1990) of “Gossip Girl” and “Deception” and Ella Anderson (2005) of Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger” are already well known. They and thousands of other young Ellas will enchant us for decades to come.

German baby naming: “The most beautiful name for my child!”

One of the most exciting and daunting tasks facing parents-to-be is selecting a name for their newborn.  In an effort to help parents out, the Society for the German Language or Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache e.V. is offering a special course on baby naming in Germany.  The course covers several important topics including the newest naming trends in Germany, German naming laws, and international databanks for first names.  For information in German on how to sign-up and the dates for the next course being offered, click here.

Pink Floyd honored in naming of newly-discovered shrimp

A British scientist recently announced the discovery of a new hot pink crustacean.  In honour of the sea creature’s flaming colour, the University of Oxford researcher, Sammy De Grave, decided to name his discovery after his favorite rock band, Pink Floyd.  The species is now officially named “Synalpheus pinkfloydi”. The dashing sea animal kills its prey by creating a deadly blast of sound with its over-sized claws.

Animals feature frequently in the Floyd back-catalogue. Indeed, the 1977 album Animals includes tracks titled Dogs, Sheep, and a suite of music dedicated to pigs. Then there’s Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict from 1969’s Ummagumma. In fact, other biologists have already named a damselfly after that album: Umma gumma, in the family Calopterygidae. However, until today there have been no crustacean names known to honour the band.

Oxonmoot 2017: Tolkien Society Annual Gathering, St Antony’s College, Oxford, UK, Sept. 21-24 2017

Each year, the Tolkien Society hosts a special gathering for Tolkien fans and scholars to meet and discuss the works of their favorite author.  Called Oxonmoot, this event has become a fixed institution amongst Tolkien enthusiasts since 1974.  This year, the gathering has been scheduled for the 21st to the 24th of September.  The site for the event is St. Antony’s College in Oxford, England.  If you are interested in taking part, follow this link for details regarding the program schedule and registration. Proposals for talks and papers are being accepted!

The program for this year is a work in progress, but it typically includes talks, quizzes, lectures, a silent auction, an art show, workshops, performances, papers, discussions, sales, singing, slideshows, costuming, gaming and celebrating. All of this is supplemented by continual eating, drinking and chatting! The weekend concludes with a visit to Tolkien’s grave on Sunday morning – a beautiful and moving end to the event.

The Coral Project: The Real Name Fallacy

In this in-depth piece at The Coral Project, writer J. Nathan Matias looks at the controversy surrounding the use of real names online. “People often say that online behavior would improve if every comment system forced people to use their real names. It sounds like it should be true – surely nobody would say mean things if they faced consequences for their actions? Yet the balance of experimental evidence over the past thirty years suggests that this is not the case. Not only would removing anonymity fail to consistently improve online community behavior – forcing real names in online communities could also increase discrimination and worsen harassment.” Read on to learn more about anonymity, harassment, and how names play into the dynamic.

Richard Berry Building renamed Peter Hall Building at University of Melbourne, Australia

The University of Melbourne’s Richard Berry building has been renamed to the Peter Hall building in an effort to create a more inclusive campus environment. The move comes after a long anti-racism campaign by a group of staff and students. Berry lobbied for “sterilization, segregation and the lethal chamber” for Aboriginal people, as well as homosexuals, poor people, and prostitutes.

The building has been the home of mathematics and statistics for several decades and was the building in which Professor Hall produced much of his highly influential work in non-parametric statistics. Professor Hall was regarded as a giant in his field for his many outstanding and innovative contributions to statistics and probability theory. His work included a number of classic monographs in addition to over 500 research papers.

The Berry Building was renamed in response to the death in 2016 of Peter Hall, a prolific and world-renowned mathematician and statistician,” said spokesman David Scott in a statement to the BBC. “While the building had previously housed the Department of Anatomy, it has been home to the School of Mathematics and Statistics for a number of years, the School where Professor Hall completed his internationally-recognized work. Therefore it was appropriate to name the building to reflect its current usage.”

About Names: Name “Judith” personified justice back in medieval times

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 11th column, he looks at the history of the name Judith. Judith is the English form of Hebrew Yehudit, “woman from Judea.” In the Book of Genesis, Judith is a wife of Esau, the twin from whom Jacob steals his birthright. Like other biblical names, Judith went out of style in the late 19th century. In 1880, when Social Security’s baby name lists began, it ranked only 882nd. But in 1937, when Judy Garland became a star in the “Andy Hardy” films, Judy had risen to 91st — and Judith ranked 34th. Read on to find out about more famous Judys!


Call for Panel Proposals: 2018 ANS Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, January 4-7 2018

Building on the great success of such events as our 2016 organized session on “Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, and Horror” and the 2017 panel entitled “Onomastics Beyond Academia”, the ANS-EC is inviting proposals for new panels to be held during the 2018 annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

All ANS members are encouraged to submit proposals for a panel of papers on a specialized theme. The panel themes may address any area of onomastic research, theory, and/or application. Panels may contain between three to six original papers addressing a single theme. However, particular preference will be given to themes which address issues that have joint appeal to both names specialists and enthusiasts alike.

All proposals must include the following information:

  • The title of the panel
  • A summary abstract (max 500 words, not including references) describing the subject matter and the potential contribution of the proposed panel
  • The full name, affiliation, email address, and a professional biographical sketch (max. 50 words per person) for the Panel Coordinator, Panel Moderator, and Panel Presenters
  • The title and abstract (max. 200 words, not including references) for each paper to be presented in the panel

The official deadline for panel proposals is the 1st of June 2017. Please send panel proposals either as a PDF file or Word doc to ANS President, Dr. I. M. Nick (mavi.yaz AT web.de). For organizational purposes, be sure to include the codeword “ANS2018 PANEL” in the subject line of the email.

Panel Coordinators will be notified about possible acceptance on or about the 1st of July 2017. Panels that have been accepted for presentation will be required to submit a finalized description of their event for inclusion in the ANS and LSA Handbook in early October 2017.