Predictions for the 2015 Most Popular Baby Names

495551068_92bf7679b2_mAlthough the official countdown marking the end of 2015 has not yet begun, names scholars have already made predictions about what will be the most popular baby names for 2016.

According to a November 2015 issues of the magazine “Good Housekeeping”, the following names will make the top ten US list in the new year:

  • Hezekiah
  • Kale
  • Gertrude
  • Eurydice
  • Iker


By comparison, based on statistics kept by the Baby Center UK, the November 5th issue of The Huffington Post has placed its bets on a completely different set of personal names:


  • Marni
  • Eden
  • Astrid
  • Nora
  • Emi


  • Devon
  • Otto
  • Aspen
  • Atticus
  • Hector


Official name popularity statistics will be released in the new year.

Linguistics Beyond Academia SIG Events

The Linguistics Beyond Academia Special Interest Group (SIG) is pleased to announce its activities at the 2016 LSA Annual Meeting in Washington DC:

  • Salon: Friday, 3:30-5 pm, January 8th
  • Linguistics Career Mixer: Saturday, 3:30-5 pm, January 9th


The salon is a chance for linguists working outside of academia to get together in a relaxed atmosphere to share experiences, resources, and tell the story of the transition from the university to the business world.… Read More

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is an Emoji

14546604729_158b3733da_mFor the first time in its history, the Oxford Dictionaries have chosen a modern day pictograph, or emoji, for the Word of the Year. After analyzing the statistical data provided by the mobile technology company, Swiftkey, the Oxford University Press determined that one emoji in particular had an astounding frequency of usage. Making up 20% of all emoji-use in the UK and 17% in the USA, the little round smiley with the tiny blue tear-drops has become one of the one most beloved emoticons. That means that nearly one in four readers of this post have used this little figure in at least one of their e-communications. Officially, this emoticon is called “Face with Tears of Joy”. Curious what the proper names are for the other emojis in the smiley family? Test your onomastic emoji knowledge.

Star Wars Name Games

4962298614_0a55c2d992_mFans everywhere are excited about the recently released Star Wars movie! With this long-awaited cinematic moment, names enthusiasts will be able to feast upon the ever-growing set of charactonyms. Alongside the now legendary names of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and R2-D2, there is Maz Kanata, Kylo Ren, and BB-8. For all those out there who want to test their intergalactic prowess, check out this cornucopia of Star Wars name games.

Super Victor wins name contest for UEFA Euro 2016 Mascot

860xNx860_tweet_super_victor.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Zx7bi68VqeIn recent months, the Union of European Football Associations or UEFA has made international headlines thanks to continuing scandals about secret bank accounts, mysterious money transfers, and insider trading. While efforts continue to get to the bottom of this seemingly endless quagmire, plans are well underway for the UEFA Euro games to be held in 2016 in France.

As a part of the planned festivities, the UEFA organizational team asked names and sports enthusiasts to name the new soccer/football mascot. Voters were asked to select one of three different names for the adorable brown-eyed superhero cloaked in red, white, and blue: Driblou, Goalix, or Super Victor. After all of the votes were counted, a clear onomastic winner emerged. Out of the more than 100,000 votes received, the name Super Victor was chosen by an impressive 48% of voters.

About the Challenge of Naming Products

5867265511_1e5c4368d6_mOne of the most daunting tasks of marketing a product is deciding on its name. A product name should both spark interest and inspire trust. Additionally, in today’s globalized market, product names also need cross-cultural appeal. In the attempt to strike this commercial-cultural balance, more than one company has fallen flat.

For example, two product names which might give some North American buyers reason to pause are (1) Pee, the moniker of a cola from Ghana and (2) Barf, a popular detergent from Iran.

While some company executives spend millions each year to avoid such potential onomastic gaffs, others have made humorous naming a part of their marketing mystique. IKEA, for example, has become famous for giving its products quirky, chuckle-inspiring names. In fact, the company has developed a strict internal onomastic system for naming all of its products:

  • Fabrics are given female personal names.
  • Chairs and desks male personal names.
  • Bathroom articles are named after Scandinavian lakes, rivers, and bays (hodonyms).
  • Carpets are named after Danish places (toponyms).

According to Business Insider, the name IKEA is an acronym based on the founder’s name (Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd) and the name of a Swedish village outside of his hometown (Agunnaryd).

Where did the word ‘Taser’ come from? A century-old racist science fiction novel

345024180_500c0e896c_mThanks to its ignominious usage by law enforcement agencies beset with charges of prejudice inspired brutality against the civilian population, tasers have become a stable part of the US American lexicon. The weapon was originally designed to be a comparatively safe yet effective method of controlling suspects. However, the origin of this device’s name is also stepped in racist ideology.

As revealed in a November 2015 issue of the Guardian, Jack Cover, the physicist-inventor of the infamous stun gun, named his martial brain-child after a fictional weapon described in the book, Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle. Released in 1911, the novel tells the story of White hunter who, armed with an electric rifle, travels to Africa in search of ivory. The name TASER is an acronym composed of the first letters in the phrase: Tom A Swift’s Electric Rifle. As Guardian author J. Lartey muses, it is more than a little unsettling that this popular weapon was “first imagined in a book in which ‘civilized’ whites entered the black wilds for the purpose of plunder, only to cast themselves as the saviors of the natives.”