Taiwan is no longer “Taiwan” at four major airlines, under pressure from China

On April 25, China sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines pressuring them to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials. Air Canada and Malaysia Airlines have altered references to Taiwan on their websites, indicating China’s claim over the self-ruled island; at Malaysia Arlines, where the country used to list “Taiwan,” it’s been changed to “Taiwan-China.” Air Canada’s booking page  previously listed Taipei’s airport as being in “TW,” the abbreviation for Taiwan, but just recently all mention of Taiwan as the country had been replaced by “CN,” the abbreviation of China, with no mention of Taiwan.

This article at Business Insider reveals more about the changes, and details some of the steps China is taking to assert its preferences in the international market.

In Australia, the six options for choosing your baby’s surname

It used to be the rule that children would take on their paternal surname – but no more. A range of options are on the rise, whether that be for children of heterosexual or same-sex couples.

Lorelei Vashti, author of How to Choose Your Baby’s Last Name: A Handbook for New Parents, says there is no one-size-fits-all approach for what she calls “the baby surname dilemma”, because people are motivated by different values. For some, family unity and identity are most important, but for others gender equity and fairness are the priority.

Vashti said there are six options when it comes to naming your child:

  • Father’s surname
  • Mother’s surname
  • Hyphenation, or a double-barrelled surname (without a hyphen)
  • Alternating the two parents’ surnames between siblings
  • Combining the two surnames into a portmanteau or blended surname
  • Making up a completely new surname

To find out more about these options, and how they’re viewed by society, click through to this article at ABC News.

A map of Britain’s place names, literally

The UK is known for having a rich and diverse history attracting Roman, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon settlers. And with them, the settles brought unique meanings to Britain’s beloved counties, cities and towns. Click through to these maps at QuickQuid and learn the meanings of names like these:

Greater Manchester: Town on the Breast-like hill
Hertfordshire: Ford frequented by stags
Cheshire: Roman county
Leicestershire: Roman town of the people called Ligore

No more Alexas in the US? Thanks, Amazon

Fewer Americans are naming their babies Alexa since the first release of the Amazon Echo in 2015, according to Social Security data. The government keeps track of the popularity of all baby names in the U.S., and their data shows that the girls’ name Alexa peaked in popularity in 2015, right before the introduction of Amazon’s now famous AI personal assistant, which is most commonly activated by the wake word, “Alexa.” Check out this article at Business Insider to see what other names rose or declined in the wake of Alexa.

What’s your favorite Kentucky Derby horse name?

By now you’ve heard that the winner of the 2018 Kentucky Derby was Justify. But did you catch the names of the other competitors? What were the odds for Audible? Vino Rosso? Free Drop Billy?

This fun article at The Week offers Kentucky Derby odds, determined solely based on the quality of each horse’s name. You’ll find out where each name came from as well as the great names of the horses’ sires and dams.

Here’s what author Jeva Lange has to say about Justify:

Odds based on name alone: 5/1
Actual odds: 3/1
Analysis: If Justify is to win the Kentucky Derby, he will have to overcome Apollo’s Curse, although bookies obviously believe that won’t be a problem. For our purposes — which involve completely disregarding any real world facts or supernatural destinies — Justify would finish just out of the money thanks to his name, which is a little more Microsoft Word than it is chivalrous and knightly. WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden told the Louisville Courier Journal: “We think [the name’s] important. We look at it like, ‘If this horse wins the Kentucky Derby, would this be a cool name? I don’t want ‘Jim Bob’s Corvette.'” First of all, Jim Bob’s Corvette is a great name for a horse. Secondly, can we pause to appreciate the name of Justify’s damsire, Ghostzapper?

About Names: Fan of Shania Twain? Here’s the story behind her adopted name

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his May 8th column, he looks at the history of the names Shania – and Twain.

Shania Twain has had an amazing rags-to-riches life. Born in Canada in 1965 as Eilleen Regina Edwards, her divorced mother, Sharon, took her three daughters to Timmins, Ontario, in 1968. There Sharon married Jerry Twain, an Ojibwe Native American who adopted her girls. At age 8 Eilleen began singing in bars to support her impoverished family.

 Twain’s budding career was delayed when her parents died in a car wreck in 1987 and she had to raise her siblings. When her career resumed around 1993, she adopted “Shania” as her stage name, saying it meant “on my way” in Ojibwe. Recently she’s said she got it from a woman at Ontario’s Deerhurst Resort.
American girls were named Shania before Twain. Like Shanice and Shaniqua, it was created as an African-American name blending fashionable sounds in the 1970s, usually pronounced “Sha-NEE-uh.” However, there were never more than 86 born in one year, and it never made the top thousand names.

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

Call for Papers: American Dialect Society, New York, NY, Jan 3-6 2019

The American Dialect Society is currently inviting abstract proposals for its upcoming annual meeting that is scheduled to take place from the 3rd to the 6th of January 2019 in New York, NY. The deadline for abstract submission is the 13th of August 2018.

Panels: This year, the program will include the biennial panel on teaching American speech. If you are interested in participating, please contact Anne Curzan at acurzan@umich.edu. Abstracts of contributions to the panel will be reviewed individually, similar to the 20-minute presentations.

The official call for papers can be found at the ANS website.

Scientology domain names

The Church of Scientology owns thousands of domain names, including over 1,000 registered to protect its leader David Miscavige’s name. DomainTools records 3,781 domain names registered to Church of Scientology International and 790 domains to Scientology’s Religious Technology Center. While many of the domains seem to serve as proactive protection from critics, Scientology has also grabbed some names in new top level domains. Here are a few examples:


To find out more, click through to this article at Domain Name Wire.

The Naming of Political Scandals

In this article at the Chronicle of Higher Education, linguist Geoffrey Pullum looks at how the names of political scandals are constructed. Some, like Watergate (the scandal arising out of a Nixon-era break-in at the Watergate hotel), are tied to the scene of the crime, with the name now broadened to include “an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration,” some having little to do with the break-in. But what about Weinergate, and Windrush? Read on to find out more!