France’s National Front considers rebranding as Rassemblement National

The far-right French party leader Marine Le Pen recently announced that it was time for her political party to undergo a fundamental change. No, they are not changing the political agenda. They are simply planning to change the name of their party,  the National Front. In an interview given to Reuters, the Deputy Head of the NF’s Youth Movement, Davy Rodriguez said, “The name change is essential to enable us to strike alliances and talk with voters without what is often an almost automatic negative reaction.” Le Pen’s new name choice for the FN re-incarnate? Rassemblement National, “National Rally”. Almost immediately after the big reveal, French media and experts on far-right groups noted the similarity to a party founded in 1941 to work with with the Nazis ― Rassemblement National Populaire. Whether this re-branding will attract a new generation of voters to the Party’s unchanging ultra-nationalist political agenda remains to be seen.

Russians get real in contest to name nuclear weapons

Russia is reviewing names for its newest additions to its nuclear arsenal. For example, one of the onomastic suggestions being taken under review is Kraken, for an underwater nuclear drone designed to attack enemy coastlines. Russian diplomats have made a point of soliciting suggestions about this and other weapons from the general public. Many of the entries reflected a certain wry dark humor. Someone suggested calling the missile Sanction, an apparent reference to western economic sanctions against Russia for its support of separatists in Ukraine. More on this effort can be found in this article at the Guardian.

Chocolate bunnies bring controversy to Germany during Easter

This year, in some households, the Easter and Passover Holidays in Germany were not spent in peaceful reflection but rather in political indignation in response to a brand name given to chocolate bunnies wrapped in tin-foil. Instead of being called Osterhase “Easter Bunny”, a popular chain store listed the item as a Traditionshase “Traditional Bunny”, provoking charges of overzealous political correctness. However, in point of fact, the name change was not initiated for political reasons but for commercial ones.  That is, in an attempt to distinguish its product line from others sporting the almost generic name “Easter Bunny”, the company chose the new, eye-catching name. If the firestorm both pro and con the name change is anything to go by, the store-owners certainly achieved their purpose.

WWE’s Moolah Name Not so Fabulous Anymore

The Fabulous Moolah

Mary Lillian Ellison is commonly considered to be one of the biggest pioneers in the history of women’s wrestling. In honor of her ground-making career in the world of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, inc.), the decision was made to name the epic women’s wrestling festival the “Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal”.  The name “Moolah” is taken from the name of Ms. Ellison’s WWE persona. However, in view of recent revelations about Ms. Ellison’s alleged personal and  professional misconduct, the WWE has chosen to rename the event to “WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal”. Click through to CBS Sports to read more about this controversial decision.

About Names: Daisy, the popular English name, has French origins

Daisy Ridley

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 11th column, he looks at the history of the name Daisy.

The flower name daisy comes from Old English “dægesege,” “day’s eye,” because a daisy’s white petals surrounding a yellow center open at sunrise. Daisy wasn’t a girl’s name in Old English. The story of how it became a name starts in France. The original Latin word for “pearl” was “margarita,” a Greek derivative that’s the origin “Margaret.” In French, this became “margarite.”

Around 1300, “margarite” (modern “marguerite”) became the French word for “daisy.” No one’s sure why. To some, when the flower folds up at night, it looks like a pearl. Others say medieval French brooches often featured a circle of pearls around a larger central gem, resembling a daisy.

In 1879, Henry James published “Daisy Miller,” about a flirtatious American girl who scandalizes older tourists while visiting Rome. In 1880, when Social Security’s yearly name lists began, Daisy ranked 48th.

Daisy had its biggest success in the Hispanic community. Despite its English origin, Daisy has been well-used in Latin America for decades. One example is Nicaraguan Daisy Zamora (born 1950), one of the greatest living Spanish-language poets.

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

Call for Papers: 5th International Postgraduate Conference on Modern Foreign Languages, Linguistics & Literature, Lancashire, UK, June 1, 2018

The University of Central Lancashire will host the 5th International Postgraduate Conference on Modern Foreign Languages, Linguistics and Literature on Friday 1st June 2018. Papers may be submitted in three strands: research (reporting on data arising from field testing), conceptual (theoretical studies) or poster presentations. The deadline is 1st May 2018. More information, and the call for papers, can be found here. The conference is free for participants and presenters, and light refreshments will be provided.

Stephanie Clifford’s journey through stormy names

On the 17th of March 1979, Stephanie Clifford was born in In Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  After becoming the President of the 4H club and the editor of her high school newspaper, Stephanie was successfully completed the ACT tests and earned scores high enough for her to enter college.  Instead, she decided to take a different path.  Inspired by the name which the bassist of the band Mötley Crüe’s gave his child, “Storm”, she changed her name her name to Stormy Waters and began her career as a stripper in a local club.  Sometime later, when she began a career as an actress, writer, and director in the pornography industry she became inspired once again by the American whiskey Jack Daniels and changed her pseudonym again—but this time to Stormy Daniels.

Nearly Every Country on Earth Is Named After One of 4 Things

According to research compiled by Quartz from the toponymy reference book Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names, basically every country on Earth is named after one of four things (though many origins are understandably murky). Do you know which category your country falls under? We’ll give you the first two categories to get you started.

Feature of the Land
About a quarter of the world’s countries got their names from some description of the land.

  • Iceland was originally called Snæland, “Snow Land,” but its current name comes from Norse settlers who renamed it to deter visitors.
  • Grenada was named by Spanish sailors who thought the landscape resembled the region around Granada in Spain.

A Directional Description
A slight twist on the previous category, this one is more geographically specific. According to Quartz, about 25 countries are named for their location.

  • Australia comes from the Greek name Terra Australis Incognita, meaning “unknown southern land,” as a result of the Greeks imagining some faraway place in the southern hemisphere.
  • Ireland comes from Iar-en-land, “land in the west,” from the Gaelic word iar, meaning “west.”


Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) names MFA Alumni Scholarship

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico announced this month that the Sherman Alexie Scholarship has been officially renamed to the MFA Alumni Scholarship.  The decision to change the name came in reaction to the charges of sexual harassment by the author.  On the 28th of February 2018, the writer released a formal statement in which he admitted to having “done things that have harmed other people […].”  The statement ended: “I am genuinely sorry.”  The scholarship was first introduced in 2017.