Symposium on Linguistic Landscapes and Superdiversity in the City, Landau Germany, April 4-6 2016

15065967485_63c24121a3_mFrom the 4th to the 6th of April 2016, an international symposium on Linguistic Landscapes and Superdiversity in the City will be held in Landau, Germany.

Conference organizers are now accepting abstracts that deal with the intersection between lexicography and landscapes. The deadline for abstract submission is the 15th of October 2015.

This annual symposium is sponsored by three German universities: Trier, Duisburg, and Landau. Together, this academia triad forms LAUD.

Click here for additional information on the symposium.

Classical Association of the Middle West and South Conference, Williamsburg VA, March 16-19 2016

14424315354_6c1ce8b69c_mFrom the 16th to the 19th of March 2016, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) will be holding its annual conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The conference will include a special panel on “Lexicography and the Classics.” The aim of this panel is to explore lexicographic innovations within the field of classics. Topics of interest include innovations in:

  • electronic lexica
  • medieval lexica and their reception
  • connections between lexicography and pedagogy


For information about submitting an abstract and more on this conference, see the CAMWS website.

Norwegian Utøya memorial has been completed

5966186439_4ee87842e1_mOn the 22 of July 2011, 77 people were brutally murdered in one of the worst acts of domestic terror to ever hit Norway. The massacre began with an early morning car bomb that exploded in Oslo’s government district, injuring more than 200 and killing 8 people. Later that afternoon as law enforcement officials worked their way through the locked-down district in their search for the assailant(s), panicked reports began to pour in from the island of Utøya, where scores of teenagers were spending their summer at the Norwegian Labour Party’s annual Youth Camp. By the time special forces had arrived, victims’ bodies were already lining the island’s shores.

This summer, for the first time since the massacre, a group of students from the Norwegian Labour Party has returned to the Utøya. For many within the Party, the island has become a symbol of national unity against hatred and a sacred place of remembrance. To honor the memory of those who lost their lives on that day, the Norwegian government has erected a memorial featuring the names of many who died during the hate crime.

However, some of the victims’ families have asked that their loved ones’ names not be placed on the memorial. Their loss, they explain, is simply too private to be added to the list. Other survivor families take issue with the fact that officials did not sufficiently consulted in the memorial plan-making. As one parent explained to a UK Guardian reporter, “We all want to honour our children. […] But we all deserve to be asked. It’s our children’s names.”

For more information click here and here.

Ring Names: Onomastics and Boxing

Bonecrusher. The Motor City Cobra. Boom Boom. The Golden Boy. Smoking Joe.

If these names sound familiar to you, then chances are you have spent at least some time in or around one of the world’s most controversial professional sports: Boxing.

Whether you love it or hate it, boxing is one of the most prolific arenas in the sporting world for the genesis of creative personal names.… Read More

There’s a NICE name for it in Sweden

3707792202_071996f1b3_mAbout twenty years ago, Anna Kosztovics, a Swedish social worker and ardent feminist, found herself pregnant and irritated. In a recent interview with The Guardian, she revealed thinking “if this is a girl, I have to have a word for her genitals.” According to Kosztovics, the names that Swedes typically used were either too negative, too medical, or far too adult. Confronted with this onomastic dilemma, Kosztovics decided to search for a girl-friendly name herself. After polling her girlfriends about what names they used, she happened upon one she really liked: snippa. Not satisfied with keeping her discovery to herself, the social worker began to energetically promote the adoption of the name amongst nurses. The name was a hit. In 2006, it was officially added to the Swedish language and is now an entry in the Svenska Akademiens Ordlista.

For more on the evolution of the name snippa, click here.

Most Popular Estonian Baby Names of 2014

The final tally is in: The most popular personal names in Estonia for the year 2014 have been announced by the nation’s Ministry of the Interior.

The top 5 Estonian Girls’ Names:

  1. Sofia
  2. Eliise
  3. Maria
  4. Mia
  5. Lisandra

The top 5 Estonian Boys’ Names:

  1. Rasmus
  2. Artjom
  3. Robin
  4. Martin
  5. Oliver

9616362930_1da3d1ebc9_mWhat is particularly striking about these results is the degree to which American and Estonian parents of baby girls seem to share the same onomastic tastes. Many of the top Estonian girls’ names are common in the US as well. For example, according to data collected by, in the US, Sofia is ranked twelfth and Mia is ranked sixth.

As for those parents who brought home a bouncing baby boy in 2014, the name preferences seemed to show a greater national divide. While the American favorite Liam is nowhere to be found amongst the Estonia’s top 25 baby boy names, the Balkan favorite Rasmus was chosen so infrequently by American parents in 2014 that it was not even included in the national ranking.

Click here for more on popular baby names in the US.

Click here for more on the top baby names in Estonia.

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, English, July 4-7 2016

1636602415_d27de4cd7f_mFrom the 4th to the 7th of July 2016, the International Medieval Congress (IMC) will take place in Leeds, England. The IMC is one of the world’s largest gatherings of medieval conferences in the world. The focus of 2016 IMC is cross-linguistic naming during the Middle Ages. In particular, the conference will showcase onomastic research which explores the ways in which different medieval cultures, languages, and societies named the world around them.

The deadline for abstract proposals is the 10th of September 2015. Click here to access the official call for papers and read more about the conference.

2015 International Symposium on Place Names, South Africa, Sept. 16-17

13931644242_cf70039781_mThe 2015 International Symposium on Place Names is issuing its second official call for papers for its upcoming conference in the Free State Province of South Africa, to be held from the 16th to the 17th of September 2015.

This toponymic conference is soliciting papers which examine the role which place names play in human events and/or conceptualizations of the political, cultural, social, and demographic world around us. Potential sub-topics:

  • functions, motivations, and/or management of place names on maps
  • principles used for creating place names
  • social and/or historical dimensions of place names
  • principles for solving place-naming conflicts


The languages of the symposium are English and Afrikaans. A selection of the papers will be published as conference proceedings in a special edition of the Nomina Africa, the accredited journal of the Names Society of Southern Africa.

Click here for more information.

Japan’s Supreme Court to rule on legislation banning separate last names in marriage

16020525070_bde7af0e2c_mUpon marriage Japan’s current legislation forces a couple to decide on a single family name. While the law does allow for either partner’s name to be chosen, in more than 95% of the cases, the wife changes to her new husband’s last name. However, this tradition may soon see a change.

Japan’s Supreme Court recently announced that starting in November 2015, it will be re-examining the constitutionality of the current surname laws. This court review comes on the heels of claimant demands that they be allowed to select separate last names despite being married. The legal question which the court will have to answer is whether having different surnames in marriage is a right guaranteed by the constitution.

For more information, in Japanese, from the Nikkei financial newspaper, click here.