The Verrazano Bridge may finally get its missing “z” back

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge: A colossal expanse linking Brooklyn and Staten Island, once the longest suspension bridge in the world and a proud symbol of New York City’s history and urban geography.

Language of origin: Italian. Part of speech: noun.

Spelling: Wrong.

The iconic bridge, with one Z, was christened in 1960 in honor of the 16th-century explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, with two Zs. After the better part of a century of wrangling over the spelling of the name, the state seems poised to finally rectify what is possibly the biggest unintentional slight in the annals of American public architecture.

Now a bill is making its way through the New York State legislature seeks to add back that truant “z”. Read more about it in this New York Times article. What do you think – one “z” or two “z”?

About Names: Owen owes its recent popularity to TV, movie stars

Chris Pratt as Owen Grady

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his June 19th column, he looks at the history of the name Owen.

Owen is a name with two origins. It’s the English form of Welsh Owain. Some experts think Owain is from Welsh “eoghunn” (“youth”), but more say it’s the Welsh form of Eugene (Greek “well-born”). Owain Glyndwr (1359-1415), last native Welsh Prince of Wales, began a decade-long revolt against Wales’ English rulers in 1400. Owen Tudor (1400-1461), probably named after Glyndwr, was grandfather of Henry VII, founder of England’s Tudor dynasty.

Owen became a Welsh and English surname in medieval times. Many early American examples of the given name come from that. The mother of anti-slavery leader Owen Brown (1771-1856), father of famous abolitionist John Brown (1800-1859), was Hanna Owen. Even more American Owens derived from Celtic tradition. There were 8,842 Owens listed in the 1850 census. Meanwhile, 41.5 percent were born in Ireland and 3.1 percent in Wales, compared with 4.1 percent and 0.1 percent of all Americans.

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

Call for Papers (Third Extended Call): ANS 2019, New York City, NY, January 3-6, 2019

The ANS is inviting abstract submissions for the 2019 annual conference to be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America.  Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is July 31, 2018.  To submit a proposal, simply complete the 2019 Author Information Form.

Please email this completed form to Dr. Dorothy Dodge Robbins using the following address: drobbins@latech.edu. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2019” in the subject line of your email. Presenters who may need additional time to secure international payments and travel visas to the United States are urged to submit their proposal as soon as possible.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before September 30, 2018. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS and need to register with both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact Dr. Dorothy Dodge Robbins should you have any questions or concerns.

A downloadable PDF of the Call for Papers can be found here.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Indigenous Brand Names In Nigeria

Anakle is a digital design agency in Nigeria. This blog by Ifeoma Jukpor, a member of their content team, looks at ingenious indigenous brand names in Nigeria – with a wonderful personal touch. Here’s a sample:

As my Uber rolled down Admiralty way in Lekki that sunny afternoon, I spotted a travel agency called WAKANOW. I said it aloud to myself twice and then I smiled as it immediately came to me. Waka is a Nigerian creole word which refers to the verb “walk”. It also has a compound form called waka-waka referring to a restless person, or in this context, an itinerant. I was quite impressed with the business owners after I did my analysis. The business could have been called Fly services, or something funky, but I cannot ignore the call to action in the business name. So, I’ll walk into a WAKANOW office with the believe that these guys can get me moving in no time.

Want to find out more? Click through to read on!

Putting history in its place: the move to Māori names

Mt. Tarananki

It’s happening, slowly but surely: Māori names are replacing English placenames in New Zealand.

When local newspaper the Gisborne Herald ran an online poll in February, it found that 72 per cent of the nearly 600 who voted were opposed to adding the Māori name. “Why try to change the little bit of history we have got?” was one response. Others thought the new name is too confusing and too long. Some were under the mistaken impression that the city of Gisborne itself is being renamed, which it is not.

Eloise Wallace has been watching all this with interest. As the director of Gisborne’s Tairāwhiti Museum, her submission noted that “there was similar consternation from similar parts of the community” 18 years ago when her institution changed its name from the Gisborne Museum and Art Gallery. They argued that no one will know where it is. But nearly two decades later, “the majority of people visiting the museum, locals and tourists alike, will use the name Tairāwhiti and are learning its meaning and to pronounce it correctly,” Wallace says. The Māori name translates as the great standing place of Kiwa, who came from Hawaiki on the Tākitimu canoe, according to tradition.

Want to know more? Check out this article at Stuff.co.nz to learn about the movement towards Māori names.

A Guide to Secret Government Code Names

FBI Headquarters

Who picks government code names? It varies. The C.I.A. randomly selects code names — called cryptonyms, or crypts — from a list of pre-approved names. But C.I.A. officers can skip that process and pick their own. That is most likely how the agency ended up with hacking tools named RickyBobby and EggsMayhem. Somewhere, there is a former classics scholar who can claim responsibility for choosing Anabasis, the epic Greek military tale, as the cryptonym for a C.I.A. operation in Iraq.

Military operations get code names, too, and random selection has its downsides. When a blitz on Iraqi weapons sites was randomly given the name “Operation Bolton” by the British Ministry of Defense, the name divided residents of the town of Bolton.

Want to know more? To find out all about these code names, and what Crossfire Hurricane means (and where it came from!), click through to this article at the New York Times.

What’s in an Author Name?

Over at The Millions, author  writes about her relationship with her name – as a writer, a daughter of Korean immigrants, and as a Korean-American. She examines how her name has evolved over the years and how deeply names and identity are intertwined.

 

Here’s a sample:

Not unlike George Herbert Walker Bush, my full legal name, as it reads on my birth certificate, has four pieces, not the usual three.

Marie Myung-Ok Grace Lee.

People assume Myung-Ok is my middle name. But it’s just my name, one that was benched, like a junior varsity player, for my entire childhood, and then revived–but not for the reasons one might think–when I needed an “author name” for my novel.

Perhaps the author name is also a brilliant tool that should be used as such. Friends and family call me Marie, and Koreans revert to Myung-Ok—but no one uses both. Marie Myung-Ok Lee then becomes the embodiment of my writing, a protective shell that diverts the attention from that overly open, curious part of me that I need to be able to write in the first place.

 

Call for Papers: 2019 ANS Conference Special Panel on Literary Names

computer-564136_960_720The ANS is inviting abstract submissions for a panel on Literary Names for the 2019 annual conference to be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America. The purpose of the panel is to highlight research in, and study of, names in works of fiction.

All professional names enthusiasts are invited to submit an abstract for a 20-minute presentation. Abstract proposals should answer one or more of the following questions:

  1. How do the texts under analysis make use of onomastics to establish and convey character and/or plot?
  2. How does linguistic analysis bear on the reading of these texts?
  3. How is the field of onomastics enhanced by your research?

To submit a proposal, simply send a 250-word abstract proposal and a 100- word professional biography to Susan Behrens [sbehrens@mmm.eduby the 15th of July 2018. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2019 Panel” in the subject line of your email.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before September 30, 2018. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS and need to register with both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact Susan Behrens should you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Call for Papers: 2019 ANS Conference Special Panel on Names, Naming, Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation

The ANS is currently inviting abstract submissions for this special panel on Names, Naming, Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation at the 2019 annual conference, which will be to be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America. Although all topics within the theme are welcomed, papers dealing with the following questions are of particular interest: 1) general naming trends and controversies within the LGBT community; 2) official naming policies and laws for the designation of gender, sex, and sexual orientation; 3) considerations around name selection and name changes for trans people; 4) the intersection of gender, power, and naming for LGBT people.

The deadline for receipt of abstracts is August 15, 2018. To submit a proposal, simply send in a 350-word abstract (excluding references), a 100-word shortened version, and a 80-word biographical sketch in prose. Please email these materials to Dr. I. M. Nick using the following address: mavi.yaz@web.de. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS-Gender 2019” in the subject line of your email. All proposals will be subject to independent blind review. Official notifications of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before October 1, 2018. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact Dr. I. M. Nick mavi.yaz@web.de or Ms. Laurel Sutton laurelasutton@gmail.com should have you any questions or concerns.

A downloadable PDF of the call for papers can be found here.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

 

Philips Lighting has changed its name to Signify

What’s the significance of Signify? In this name review, Alex Kelley of Catchword digs into this name change for Philips.

Here’s a sample:

Signify is retaining the Philips brand for their products, like Philips Hue. You may have heard of this colorful, smart-home enabled lights platform, which is perhaps the greatest innovation in home ambience control since the dimmer switch.

The company has well over a hundred years of name equity, the products are retaining the Philips name, and, aside from GE, Philips is the most recognizable brand in bulbs … so why make the change?

Click through to read the rest!