Research network “New trends in Nordic Socio-onomastics”

The objective of establishing the network New Trends in Nordic Socio-onomastics is to stimulate research development within the field. The researchers from different Nordic countries will come together to inspire each other to make use of recent theoretical and methodological developments within adjacent fields in new, creative ways.
The organization of the network workshops encourage the participants to explore new theoretical perspectives relevant for socio-onomastic studies, as well as new methodological tools suitable for contemporary synchronic, historical and diachronic onomastic studies. Founders of the network are Birgit Eggert, University of Copenhagen, Emilia Aldrin, Halmstad University, and Terhi Ainiala, University of Helsinki.

Cofactor Ora Named-Entity Dictionary to improve toponyms’ pronunciation

There are countless toponymic homographs that have different pronunciations depending on meaning and that cannot be found in traditional dictionaries (e.g. at least one Houston in each US state, not even counting street names…). To overcome the limitations of traditional dictionaries, Cofactor Ora integrates with the Google Knowledge Graph and lets everyone edit and contribute pronunciations of names: both audio recordings and IPA pronunciation respellings.


Referencing an entity in the Google Knowledge Graph, each place name in Ora is linked to a location in Google Maps, and each persons’ name is linked to the Wikipedia articles. This allows Ora to list pronunciations for any number of people, places, and things that ever existed. Go ahead and contribute to Ora now!

Onomastica Uralica: Proceedings of the Onomastic Congress are available online

The International Council of Onomastic Studies reported that the papers presented at the 26th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences in Hungary in 2017 have been published as volumes Nr. 10 – 14 in Onomastica Uralica. The central topic of the congress, “Locality and globality in the world of names”, was about the linguistic position that proper names occupy in our present globalized world.
The volumes are available online in Open Access format on the website of the journal:
The volumes are also published in print form.

About Names: Why Oprah Winfrey has such a rare first name

Oprah Winfrey @AP

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 29th column, he looks at the history of the names Oprah and Orpah.

Multi-talented Oprah Winfrey, nominated for an Oscar in 1985 for her supporting role in “The Color Purple,“ hosted the most successful television talk show ever between 1986 and 2011. When Oprah was born, her Aunt Ida named her Orpah after a character in the Bible’s Book of Ruth. In 2008, Winfrey explained her family, unfamiliar with the name, pronounced and spelled it “Oprah” from her infancy, though it remains “Orpah” on her birth certificate.

After the Reformation a few Protestant parents discovered Orpah. The 1850 United States census includes 105 Orpahs. Orpha was much more common; 2,156 are found in 1850. Most name dictionaries assume Orpha is an alteration of Orpah, but don’t explain why it was more popular.

A few parents named daughters Oprah at the start of Winfrey’s fame — 37 Oprahs were born in 1987. But 2007 was the last year more than four were born. Oprah, like Madonna and Cher, is so famous as a unique one-name celebrity, parents know they’d be mercilessly teased for naming a baby Oprah. It could only become popular for babies after Winfrey’s lifetime.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Oprahs and Orpahs in history! Note one minor error: The sentence about Orphea and Orpheus should refer to the 1850 census, not the 1950 one.

Time magazine names Jamal Khashoggi and persecuted journalists “person of the year”

Each year, Time magazine announces the name of an individual, group, idea, or object that has had a profound and significant influence on the events of the past 12 months. For 2018, the news organization announced that this recognition has been given to the murdered journalist and human rights activist, Jamal Khashoggi, and other killed and imprisoned journalists.  This decision marks the first time that the news agency has named a “Person of the Year” who is deceased.  The selection of the journalist, whom the US government’s intelligence community has determined was brutally tortured before being butchered by Saudi-directed operatives, is to serve as a symbol. According to Time editor Edward Felsenthal, the slain reporter is “the most visible representative of this harrowing year for truth.”

Those named also included the journalists killed in the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland in June, two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar after investigating the massacre of Rohingya Muslims and Maria Ressa, a journalist in the Philippines facing tax evasion charges that she has called “political harassment”.

Louisville renames airport after hometown hero – Muhammad Ali

Louisville International Airport is getting a name change on a recommendation by a working group that studied renaming for more than a year. After a vote on Wednesday January 16, 2019, Mayor Greg Fischer announced the airport would be re-named to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, in honor of the heavyweight champion boxer and Louisville native.


Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s widow, issued a statement on the city’s decision:

“I am proud that the Louisville Regional Airport Authority and the City of Louisville are supportive of changing the name of the Louisville International Airport to reflect Muhammad’s impact on the city and his love for his hometown.”

Call for Papers: Urban Place Names: Political, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions”

The new Special Issue of Urban Science Urban Place Names: Political, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions aims to contribute to urban studies by exploring city landscapes through its toponymy. The main goal is to bring together contemporary urban toponymic studies scholarship, both from the traditional onomastic perspective and the recently emerged critical toponymy perspective, to examine new areas of spatial relationships between people, language, culture, urban landscapes, development, and political power worldwide.

Please submit your original papers or critical reviews that reflect the theoretical development, contemporary condition, and future challenges of urban place names studies from transdisciplinary approaches until 15th December 2019.

Call for Papers: 9th International Symposium on Investigations into Romanian and European Biblical Traditions, Iasi, Romania, May 9-11 2019

The International Symposium “Explorations in the Romanian and European Biblical Traditions” (IXth edition), organized by the Monumenta linguae Dacoromanorum Biblical and Philological Studies Center of Alexandru Ioan University, together with the Biblical Philology and Hermeneutics Association in Romania, the A. Philippide Institute of Romanian Philology, and the Metropolitan Church of Moldavia and Bukovina, will take place in Iaşi from May 9 to 11, 2019

The Symposium aims to encourage multi- and interdisciplinary debates on the issues raised by the publication, translation, interpretation, dissemination and reception of sacred texts into Romanian and other modern languages. The conference will include both plenary lectures and separate sessions.

The official languages of the Symposium will be Romanian, English, and French. The aim of our Symposium is to encourage multi- and interdisciplinary debates on the complex issues raised by the publication, translation, interpretation, dissemination and reception of the sacred texts into Romanian and other modern languages. The deadline for submission is February 15, 2019.

You can download a PDF of the call for papers in English here.

Selected papers will be published in a collective volume by the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University Press, Iaşi.

Macaulay Culkin’s new middle name: Macaulay Culkin

Macaulay Culkin’s middle name is currently “Carson.” But, starting in 2019, it will be “Macaulay Culkin,” as in Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin.

The Home Alone actor has been polling his fans on what his new middle name should be. The other choices were “Shark Week,” “Kieran” (his younger brother’s name), “TheMcRibisBack,” and “Publicity Stunt.” Ultimately his fans went with the meta choice of his own first and last name.

On Christmas day he made the big announcement.