Call for Papers: AustraLex 2017, University of the South Pacific, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, August 28-29th, 2017

From the 28th to the 29th of August 2017, an international conference on lexicography will be held on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The conference is being held by AustraLex, the Australasian Association for Lexicography, a scientific organization devoted to the development of lexicography in all languages of the Australasian region. The theme of this year’s conference will be “Intersections between oral narratives, traditions, lexicography and new media”.

Papers may address a wide range of areas associated with lexicography, including,
but not limited to: contact linguistics; culture and identity; e-lexicography; endangered languages; learners’ dictionaries; lexicology; music and language; onomastics; oral traditions and language; phraseology; paremiology; Revival Linguistics; social empowerment through language; specialist dictionaries; and terminology.

The second call for papers has just been issued. For more on this event, visit the AustraLex website or check out their Facebook page.

Clans and Surnames 2017 Conference, Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland, May 15-19th 2017

From the 15th to the 19th of May 2017, the Clans and Surnames of Ireland Genealogy Programme will take place at the Great National Abbeycourt Hotel in Nenagh, County Tipperary. The scheduled programme will include expert genealogy workshops, seminars, lectures, field trips and valuable research advice for Irish family researchers.

Field trips will be offered in County Clare, Limerick, and Galway to facilitate a range of requirements. The programme offers walking tours, graveyard tours, and landscape character assessment fieldwork. Conservation, preservation & collections care workshops are also scheduled within the programme for the week.

Speakers include  Kenneth Nicholls, Dr Paul MacCotter, Patrick Guinness, Sean J. Murphy, Fiona Fitzsimons, Dr Joe Mannion, Donough McGillacuddy,  David Ryan, Regina Sexton, Lorna Moloney, Dr Michael C. Keane, Dr Ursula Callaghan, Rosaleen Underwood, Brian Donovan, John Tierney, Aiden Feerick, John Nangle,  Margaret Jordan, Jennifer Armstrong Zinck, Jane Halloran-Ryan, Jennifer Wood, Tony Harpur. Tony Browne, Penny Walters, and Treasa Kerrigan.

More details about the programme, including registration, can be found here.

The secret taxonomy behind IKEA’s product names, from Billy to Poäng


(Reuters/Toby Melville)

Did you know that bathroom articles at IKEA are given names of Swedish lakes and bodies of water? Or that the Billy bookcase was named after IKEA employee Billy Likjedhal? Everything you’d ever want to know about IKEA product naming was explained at a Jan. 25 product showcase in New York City, by IKEA designer Jon Karlsson. He revealed that IKEA has a crack team of product namers, who assign names from a database of Swedish words. Quartz covers the event and looks at IKEA’s naming rules. You knew that IKEA was an acronym, right? It stands for Ingvar (founder’s first name), Kamprad (founder’s surname), Elmtaryd (his family’s farm) and Agunnaryd (the village in Småland where he grew up in).


Call for Papers for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, New York, NY, January 4-7, 2018

ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference

January 4-7th, 2018 in New York, NY

The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Literary Wordplay with Names.” Case studies in world literature have repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of wordplays in producing puns or highlighting aspects of a narrative. However, comparatively little scholarly attention has been given to examining the names themselves as a rhetorical tool for literary wordplay. Interested authors are encouraged to submit an abstract examining the use of any type of name (e.g., personal names, place names, trade names, etc.) in literary wordplays for any period or genre of literature. Submissions utilizing interdisciplinary approaches are most welcome.

Proposal submission process:

  1. Abstracts proposals of up to 400 words should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Andreas Gavrielatos (
  2. Proposals should include “MLA proposal” in the subject line of the email.
  3. All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author affiliation, and email address in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract.
  4. Proposals must be received by 5pm GMT on 11 March 2017. Authors will be notified about results of the blind review on or by 20 March 2017.
  5. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers.
  6. For further information, please contact Andreas Gavrielatos (

More information about ANS and MLA conferences in available on the Conferences page of this website.

Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA-21) Meeting, Rockley, Barbados, June 9-11 2017

The 21st Biennial Meeting of the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA-21) will be held from the 9th to the 11th of June 2017 in Rockley, Barbados. The Conference will be held at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, located on Barbados’ south coast. The Dictionary Society of North America has held biennial meetings since 1995. Bringing together scholars of lexicography and professional lexicographers, the conference is an important event for anyone interested in modern dictionary research and practices. The upcoming conference in Barbados will be the first time that the conference meets outside the US and Canada. It is hoped that the Caribbean setting will inspire different avenues of inquiry and new interest in the diverse language varieties of the region, as well as just being a very pleasant place to be.  For more details, head over to the DSNA website.

New name for UK Unilever’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”

Unilever is rebranding its I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spread in the UK in a move to “drive awareness of the product’s versatility”. The new name? I Can’t Believe It’s So Good For Everything, which is two words (and four syllables) longer than the already lengthy original brand name. “Everything” includes spreading, cooking, baking, and frying – so technically not everything. But can you use it to remove gum from your hair?

Call for Papers: 2017 Geographic Names Conference of COGNA, Library of Virginia Richmond, VA May 8 – 12, 2017

The 2017 Geographic Names Conference of COGNA (Council of Geographic Names Authorities in the United States) will take place May 8—12, 2017, in Richmond, Virginia. They are looking for papers and panel discussions to explore a full range of toponymic topics such as name standardization policies at the Federal, State, Tribal, and local levels of government, and conflict resolution regarding naming procedures.

This conference is the only conference that brings together the State Geographic Names Authorities (SNAs) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) and provides participants a unique opportunity to share information and knowledge about the geographic naming process and research. There is no better way to network and benefit from the expertise of members and staff of the BGN, SNAs, Tribal authorities, other State and Federal mapping agencies, and members of the geospatial and academic communities.

You can download the Call for papers here. The deadline for abstracts is March 1, 2017.

Additional information on the conference is available at their website.

Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland (SNSBI) Twenty-Sixth Spring Conference 2017, Oxfordshire, England, March 24-27 2017

From the 24 to the 27th of March 2017, the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland (SNSBI) will be holding its Spring Conference in Oxfordshire, England. The programme will include several scientific presentations on toponyms in and around Oxfordshire.

The Spring Conference will be held from March 24 to 27 at the Milton Hill House Hotel, Steventon, Oxfordshire. Milton Hill House Hotel is a ten-minute taxi ride from Didcot Parkway Station. It is a 15 minute walk from bus stops in Milton Park, Rowstock, or Steventon. The location of the conference commemorates the earlier county survey volumes of Margaret Gelling: Milton Hill was historically in Berkshire and is now in Oxfordshire. Many of the conference papers will relate to Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties but papers on all regions of Britain and Ireland will be presented.

The speaker on Friday evening will be Ros Faith, on farming in woodland and in downland. Papers on place-names of Oxfordshire and the surrounding region will cover topics including: Anglo-Saxon estates, animals and place-names, field-names and archaeology. To celebrate the publication of The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, we also have a number of papers on personal names of the area: locative surnames of Oxfordshire, South Midlands surnames, names of the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.

More on this special event can be found here.

About Names: Once-popular Carol has royal roots

“Hello, Dolly!” star Carol Channing. AP photo

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. To celebrate entertainer Carol Channing’s 96th birthday, his most recent column looks at the history of the name Carol. Throughout history it has been used for both men and women and although it’s now a “grandma name”, there have been quite a few prominent Carols in American history, including one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

When The Brain Scrambles Names, It’s Because You Love Them

Ever wonder why you call the kids by their siblings’ names – or even the dog’s name? Samantha Deffler, a cognitive scientist at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Fla., wanted to find out why it happens. She and her colleagues conducted a large study on the topic, and their findings were published in the journal Memory & Cognition. Head over to NPR to read or listen to the story. Spoiler: it’s not just you – it’s a normal cognitive glitch – based on who (and what) you love.