Parents name their babies after ‘Game Of Thrones’ characters

According to Australian government officials, the award-wining HBO series, Game of Thrones, has inspired scores of parents to bestow their newborn babies with a whole host of fantastic characternyms. Topping the list are:

  • Khaleesi
  • Arya
  • Tyrion
  • Brandon
  • Kylie

According to Jennifer Moss, founder of and ANS member, the last time a media event had such an impact on baby naming was when the Twilight vampire series hit the theaters.

Maisie Williams who plays Arya Stark in the HBO "Game of Thrones" series

Maisie Williams who plays Arya Stark in the HBO “Game of Thrones” series

According to the US Social Security Administration (SSA), the folks down under are by no means alone in this onomastic trend. Based on the SSA record, 241 babies born in USA now carry the name of George R. R. Martin’s majestic dragon mother, Khaleesi. In the British Isles, the name of the sword-swinging underage heroine, Princess Arya, has proven similarly popular. Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics indicate that the ever-resilient vengeful Princess was the namesake for some 187 baby girls.

If these names continue to trend as they have been, we may well see a head-to-head race between the Stark Princess and Dragon Queen for the 2016 ANS fictional name of year. Click here to vote early for this election (as well as for the other categories for Names of Year).

Names of soldiers found in cave under the WW1 battlefields of France

5093111969_38f723af5b_zIn a cave located 100 feet under the earth, spelunkers and historians have made a fascinating discovery: Buried in the depths of Naours, France, two hours outside of Paris, there is a series of inscriptions of almost 2000 WWI servicemen, who left their names for posterity.

According to experts, this historic find represents the highest concentration of onomastic graffiti along the Western Front.

Located adjacent to the infamous Somme battlefields where over a million soldiers perished, the names carved into the cave walls stand as a chilling testament to the tremendous sacrifices made during the First World War. Although researchers have not completed cataloging all of the names, at last count, experts report having identified the names of 731 Australian, 55 American, and 339 British servicemen. International efforts to determine the fates of the brave name-bearers who found temporary respite in the cave are underway.

Click here to read the story published by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Conference on “Foreign Names”, Germany, October 9-10 2015

7664335588_03ea64a2bd_mFrom the 9th to the 10th of October 2015, the German Society for Onomastic Studies and the Department of Philology at the University of Leipzig will be co-hosting a conference on “Foreign Names” or “Fremde Namen”. A special focus of this event will be exploring the ways in which language contact between peoples has resulted in long-term, significant changes in the onomastic store of local, regional, and national populations in an around German-speaking peoples.

For more on this event, click this German language link.

Renaming of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFE/ME) to Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease

14601014695_30cfe1972d_mThe US Institute of Medicine (IOM) has called for the renaming of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFE/ME) to Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease.

According to the IOM, the onomastic move was made to spare the millions of people who have been diagnosed with CFE/ME additional suffering from public stigmatization.

According to the ME Association (an international association dedicated to CFE/ME support, education, and training) it remains to be seen whether this name change “will actually improve attitudes towards patients and their assessment and care”. However the ME Association has applauded the attempt by the IOM as a “brave” and “important step” towards changing public perceptions.

Click here for additional information.

About Names: Why we name storms

8020811188_3182f3b55f_mThe tradition of giving storms names rather than numbers began in an effort to make climatic identification easier for the media to report to the general public. As experience has shown, personal names for weather events are an effective means of sparking public interest in messages for emergency preparedness.

Initially the names selected for storms were arbitrarily selected; today they come from pre-determined lists of personal names with a high degree of regional recognizability. This means that each region uses a different list of storm names.

For example, storms cycling over Australia may be named: Anika, Billy, Charlotte, and Danny. Severe weather systems hitting the South West Indian Ocean may be named Alenga, Benilde, Chanda, and Dando.

Click here for a complete list of official storm names used by the World Meteorological Organization.

‘Sweet Baby Jesus’ beer pulled from Ohio grocery store shelves

4241360451_80fe59c79a_mThe chocolate and peanut butter porter beer initially marketed under the product name Sweet Baby Jesus has been pulled from some Ohio grocery store shelves in response to multiple consumer complaints about the popular beverage’s name.

Dave Benfield, owner of the Baltimore-based company Duclaw, which produces the brew, defended the product name by saying that the name was not meant to be offensive, but was chosen as a “phrase of excitement or astonishment.” When asked in an interview with FOX News if the company was planning to change the name of the dark brew, Benfield responded: “We don’t censor ourselves because it might cost us dollars.”

Although the name remains controversial amongst some consumers, the rocky head porter is a hit amongst beer connoisseurs. According to the company website, Sweet Baby Jesus won the Bronze Medal for chocolate beers at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014.

Other religiously inspired names in the Duclaw company repertoire include:

  • Divine Retribution, the moniker for an imperial stout aged in a Kentucky white oak bourbon barrel
  • Mad Bishop, a German-style seasonal brew inspired by the Oktoberfest
  • Devil’s Milk, a Gold medal winner barley wine ale of the Brewer’s Association of Maryland.


Click here for more information.

International Conference on Cartography and Geoinformation Science (ICCGIS) annual conference, Montreal, May 16-17 2016

2123523275_983f039f2b_mThe International Conference on Cartography and Geoinformation Science (ICCGIS) will be holding its 18th annual conference from the 16th to the 17th of May 2016 in Montreal, Canada. Papers on cartography and toponymy are especially invited. The deadline for abstract submissions is the 16th of November 2015.

Click here for the official call for papers as well as information on registration.

Symposium on Atlases, Topography, and the History of Cartography, Rio de Janeiro, August 19-21 2015

10912431134_e942bdb4e5_mFrom the 19th to the 21st of August 2015, there will be a pre-conference Symposium on Atlases, Topography, and the History of Cartography at the Brazilian Foundation of Geography and Statistics in Rio de Janeiro. The Symposium is scheduled to include two days with scientific paper presentations as well as excursions to the Fundacao Bibliotheca Nacional and to the Museu Naval.

Click here for more on this event.