Horsey McHorseface is a winner!

Horsey McHorseface, who until recently had only drawn attention for his standout moniker rather than his performances, came from behind in the final furlong to race clear and claim a first win in only his fourth start, at the Arthur Thompson Memorial Maiden Plate at Cessnock Racecourse in New South Wales, Australia.

The three-year-old gelding, trained by Bjorn Baker, got his name after a public poll in Britain chose Boaty McBoatface as the most popular name for a $300 million polar research ship.

Saint Mary’s University releases Sign Language Atlantic Provinces Place Names Map

Thanks to the ingenuity and doggedness of Environmental Science Professor, Dr. Linda Campbell (St. Mary’s University), the deaf and signing communities across the eastern seaboard of Canada have a revolutionary resource: an Atlantic Provinces Sign Language Place Names map. The interactive tool presents readers with a traditional map and accompanying videos featuring professional signers who present the indicated placenames in both American Sign Language and Maritime Sign Language. The resource is not only useful for the Deaf/signing community – it is also a fascinating instructive device for all those obsessed with discovering new and beautiful languages. Interested in learning how to sign Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island? Just click here to access the tool.

Roxcy Bolton, Feminist Crusader for Equality, Including in Naming Hurricanes, Dies at 90

Roxcy Bolton in 1972 with Robert H. Simpson, then the director of the National Hurricane Center. She helped persuade national weather forecasters not to name tropical storms after only women. Credit: Associated Press

Roxcy Bolton, a pioneering and tempestuous Florida feminist who was credited with founding the nation’s first rape treatment center and who helped persuade national weather forecasters not to name tropical storms after only women, died on May 17 in Coral Gables, Fla. She was 90.

Her crusade to include men’s names when meteorologists differentiated hurricanes placed her at the eye of an international storm.

Women, Ms. Bolton said at the time, “deeply resent being arbitrarily associated with disaster.” A generation after Ms. Bolton began her campaign, the weathermen finally capitulated. The second hurricane of 1979 was named Bob. When the 2017 season officially begins June 1, Bret, Don, Franklin, Harvey and José will be among the names immortalized.

Call for Papers: American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL 2018) Chicago, March 24-27 2018

This is a call for participation in a colloquium session on Applied Onomastics at AAAL 2018, to be held in Chicago, IL, March 24-27, 2018. Names figure prominently in our identities and interactions as individuals, families, groups, organizations, and societies. Factors as varied as geography, culture, socioeconomic status, legal constraints, and marketing strategies influence names and naming. The study of names (onomastics), including personal, place, and commercial names, among others, is both multi- and interdisciplinary. Because of the ubiquity and important functions of names, they are also of “enduring interest to the wider public” (Hough 2016), confirmed by the long tradition of collaboration between academics and non-academics in name studies. The aim of this colloquium is to demonstrate how onomastics can offer practical solutions and insights to issues encountered in a wide range of contexts. Proposals are invited on any topic relating to Applied Onomastics, including but not limited to:

names and education
names and media
names and lexicography / name dictionaries
onomastic aspects of marketing and tourism
onomastic aspects of language planning
name-related policies, regulations and laws
onomastics and forensic linguistics
onomastics and psychology or cognition
name-based data mining and technologies
names and bi/multilingualism
cross-cultural naming practices
societal trends in naming
the relationship between Applied Onomastics and Applied Linguistics
the aims of Applied Onomastics as a field

Please send proposals containing a title, key words, abstract (300 words), and brief summary (50 words) by July 10th, 2017 to Maryann Parada (mparada1 AT the Colloquium Organize. Notifications will be sent by July 20th, 2017.

About Names: Lion’s share of Daniel’s cachet is thanks to Bible

“You talkin’ to me? Happy weekend face. Frontierofficial is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his June 6 column, he looks at the history of the name Daniel. Daniel is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my judge.” The original Daniel is hero of the book named after him in the Old Testament. Daniel, a Jewish captive, is made chief of Babylon’s wise men when only he can interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams.

Though after 1350 Daniel was rare in England, it was one of the first Old Testament names revived after the Reformation. It ranked 44th for English boys born in the 1550s, and 15th in the 1690s.

Daniel, like most Old Testament names, receded in popularity in the late 19th century, but it never became rare. Between 1914 and 1916 it ranked 55th, its lowest point, on Social Security’s baby names lists.

Read on to find out where Daniel ranks now!


The challenge of inventing original names

Although the creativity of the human mind is theoretically limitless, people often have incredible difficulty in finding a novel name when it comes to labelling a new Internet domain or an email account. This individual challenge is multiplied on an exponential scale when it comes to naming a new company.  In this article by Brian Hayes in American Scientist, the daunting shortage of new names – and new numbers – in many areas of business is discussed.

Brewing Association tightens rules on names of beers

The Brewers Association, the Boulder, Colorado-based trade association that hosts the Great American Beer Festival, has updated its advertising and marketing code, placing restrictions on the marketing of beer with brand names and labels seen as sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning.

An independent, three-member panel that brings expertise from academia, marketing and law will take up a case when another brewery lodges a complaint. If a brand name wins an award but has been deemed inappropriate, it is not allowed to use names and logos from the Great American Beer Festival, which will be Oct. 5-7 in Denver, or World Beer Cup to promote their winning beer.

Harry Potter character provides name for new species of crab

Science fiction and fantasy have inspired the naming of many plants and animals. Some two decades ago, the intrepid zoological collector Harry Conley became the very first researcher to capture a maddeningly elusive species of crab, now named Harryplax severus.  In honour of this spectacular discovery, the crab was given Conley’s first name.  And, in honour of the crab’s impressive ability to keep its identity such a well-guarded secret, the illusive crustacean was given a second name inspired by Harry Potter’s teacher, Severus Snape. Writing in Zoekeys, Jose Mendoza and Peter Ng said they had named the new species severus as an allusion to the notorious and misunderstood potions master “for his ability to keep one of the most important secrets in the story”.

Color names around the world

In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a pretty groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in the exact same order. They claimed to know this based off of a simple color identification test, where 20 respondents identified 330 colored chips by name. If a language had six words, they were always black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. If it had four terms, they were always black, white, red, and then either green or yellow. If it had only three, they were always black, white, and red , and so on. The theory was revolutionary — and it shaped our understanding of how color terminologies emerge. To learn more, watch this short video from, or click through to YouTube.

African Names for American Plants

One of the many skills that helped enslaved Africans survive in the Americas was their in-depth knowledge of plant life. Modern linguists and ethnobotanists working together have revealed the importance of African names in revealing the breadth and depth of this collective naturalist knowledge. Ethnobotanist Tinde van Andel describes how such work has spawned new collaborations between botanists and linguists. (And you can read the original paper, published in PNAS, here.)