Little People of America wants Illinois school to change mascot name

4299631538_220c9c9448_mThe nonprofit organization Little People of America (LPA) started an online petition to encourage Illinois officials of Freeburg community high school to change the name of their athletics symbol, the Freeburg Midgets.

In an interview given to USA TODAY, Andrew Lehman, the Superintendent of Freeburg district, explained that the name has been part of the school’s history since the 1930’s. According to Freeburg lore, the nickname came from a cheeky reporter who praised the feisty basketball team’s record, despite the fact that many of the players were smaller than average.

Since then, the name “midget” has been identified by many as being offensive. However, the school has refused to remove the name, stating that doing so would not only remove a beloved symbol, but would also be exceedingly costly. LPA members counter that the continued use of the name helps to create a dehumanizing environment. As Megan Sabourin, a Freeburg native with dwarfism, explained to The Guardian, after being made to suffer the derogatory moniker as child, what is hurtful as an adult is the fact that some residents staunchly refuse to see the name as negative.

New Zealand corrects the spelling of place names

6218226076_489275fa29_mAfter three months of intense scientific deliberation and public consultation, the New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) announced late in 2014 that it recommended the correction of several misspelled indigenous place names.

This Autumn, the Land Information Minister, Louise Upston, announced the decision to correct the spelling of 12 place and feature names in the Ōpōtiki District. Among those names on the list for correction are the Waiotahi River, Waiotahi Forest and Waiotahi Knoll, which will all have the misspelling of Waiotahi replaced with the correct, original Māori name ‘Waiotahe’.

Despite the popularity and international recognition of place names featuring the form Waiotahi, officials, scientists, and activists agree, correcting the spelling of these and other toponyms is essential to protecting and respecting New Zealand’s cultural heritage. As Minister Upston stated in a recent interview featured on Radio New Zealand News: “New Zealand has a rich and diverse cultural history and I am pleased we are able to help safeguard the place naming traditions and heritage that have been brought here by our various communities.”

Workshop on Proper Names and Morphosyntax, Berlin, Germany, November 5-6, 2015

523812728_4ec025c123_mFrom the 5th to the 6th of November 2015, a onomastic workshop on Proper Names and Morphosyntax will be held in Berlin, Germany.

In addition to providing a scientific forum for the discussion of the morphosyntactic properties of proper names, this workshop will offer an opportunity to collectively investigate complex expressions containing proper names (e.g. prepositional phrases and compounding). The central question to be explored during this gathering is the necessity of creating a specific grammar to describe the morphological and syntactic properties of proper names.

The full program for this event is available on the conference website.

Conference on Samoyedology, Moscow, Russia, September 8-10, 2016

1184951760_8f45665a85_mThe 6th International conference on Samoyedology will be held from the 8th to the 10th of September, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. Dedicated to the memory of Ariadna Kuznetsova (1932-2015), this conference will bring to together lexicographers, linguists, anthropologists, and folklorists whose research centers upon the group of Finno-Ugric languages spoken in Siberia and the Russian Arctic.

Samoyedic language researchers who are interested in presenting their work at this special event are asked to send in a scientific abstract of ca. 3,600 characters by the March 1st 2016. For more details regarding the call for papers and the conference, contact Andrey Shluinsky (samoyedology2016[@]

CombiNet Conference, Rome, Italy, January 29-30, 2016

21638977192_9821353a24_mFrom the 29th to the 30 of January 2016, Roma Tre University in conjunction with the Universities of Pisa and Bologona, will be holding the CombiNet Conference. The theme of this year’s international conference is “Word Formats and Lexical Combinations: Structures, extraction methods, and lexicographic representations.” The event is scheduled to take place in Rome, Italy.

The aim of the conference is to strengthen collaborative ties between researchers interested in the analysis of the nature, structure, typology, and combination properties of words. Researchers working within the fields of lexicology, lexicography, and computational linguistics are encouraged to send in paper proposals by the December 1st 2015 deadline.

For more on the conference program and the call for papers, consult the CombiNet website.

Workshop “Hornucopia,” New Haven, CT, November 6-7 2015

5696222833_6ae4e5fddd_mFrom the 6th to the 7th of November 2015, in New Haven, Connecticut, the Yale Linguistics Department will hold a workshop entitled Hornucopia in honor of Laurence C. Horn.

This workshop is designed to bring together linguists and philosophers whose work builds upon Horn’s scholarship of in the field of natural language semantics and pragmatics. Experts in the areas of lexicography, pragmatics, semantics, and syntax are especially encouraged to attend.

Although the workshop is free, registration is required.