Call for Papers: Namen im Geheimen, University of Siegen, Germany, Sept. 11-12 2017

From the 11th to the 12th of September, the University of Siegen in Germany will be holding a special symposium dedicated to the topic of secret names or “Namen im Geheimen”. The event  is a part of the programme being offered during the 11th International Symposium on Special Linguistic Research. Researchers interested in participating in the symposium are asked to submit a 300 word abstract by the 1st of April 2017 to hardy at Presentations may be held in either English or German. You can read the complete call for papers here.

The Symposium is expressly designed to be cross-lingual. They welcome contributions from different philologies. For each lecture 40 minutes (30 minutes lecture + 10 minutes discussion) are planned. A publication is published in the CMS (special language research group) Hamburg / Münster.

Place Names Officer position at Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is currently recruiting a new permanent full time member of staff to work on a new Welsh Place Names list for historic locations in Wales. The Welsh Ministers have asked the Commission to compile and maintain a list of historic place names in Wales, and the Place Names Officer will be a key part of this commitment. The successful candidate will be put in charge of compiling and maintaining the list. Further details on the Historic Place Names list and an application can be found at their website. Interested applicants who would like to learn more about the position and the project are asked to contact David Thomas, Head of Public Services: david.thomas at

The closing date for applications is Friday 3 March 2017 at 5pm.

Purpose of the List of Historic Place Names

The List of Historic Place Names will be an index of names given to, or held by, geographical locations identified from sources that predate the First World War. Drawing upon existing place name research, the List will incorporate the various forms and spellings used to record structures or places over time.

The purpose of the List is:

  • to provide easy access to a single centralised source of information on historic place names
  • to raise awareness of the value of historic place names
  • to inform decision makers

Trumpchi SUVs Coming Soon To U.S. – But Maybe Not Under That Name

An intrigued visitor checks out the Trumpchi GS7 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 20, 2017. Photo Credit: Jim Dunne

At Forbes, Michael Dunne writes about the next Chinese auto coming to the US: the Trumpchi SUV. It was was China’s fastest-growing car brand in 2016, scoring highest among all Chinese car brands. Officials at GAC, Guangzhou Automotive Corporation, insist privately that there is no connection to President Donald Trump. Chinese customers know the brand by its two Chinese characters, pronounced chuan chee. Those characters mean “delivering good fortune.” But will it have the same name in the U.S.? Head over to Forbes to get the whole story.

Is it Stash Tea or just a stash?

Founded in 1972, Stash Tea has suddenly become very busy defending their trademark. In Washington state, where recreational marijuana is legal, the word “stash” has been popping up in business names; not surprising, since “stash” has been a slang term for “hidden collection”, usually of some type of drugs, since the 1960s. In April in federal court in Portland, Stash Tea filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Stash Cannabis Co., and recently sent a notice of trademark infringement to the Stash Pot Shop in Seattle.

Read the whole article at the Oregonian. And, starting this week, Stash Pot Shop of Seattle is Lux Pot Shop of Seattle.

Call for Papers: AustraLex 2017, University of the South Pacific, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, August 28-29th, 2017

From the 28th to the 29th of August 2017, an international conference on lexicography will be held on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The conference is being held by AustraLex, the Australasian Association for Lexicography, a scientific organization devoted to the development of lexicography in all languages of the Australasian region. The theme of this year’s conference will be “Intersections between oral narratives, traditions, lexicography and new media”.

Papers may address a wide range of areas associated with lexicography, including,
but not limited to: contact linguistics; culture and identity; e-lexicography; endangered languages; learners’ dictionaries; lexicology; music and language; onomastics; oral traditions and language; phraseology; paremiology; Revival Linguistics; social empowerment through language; specialist dictionaries; and terminology.

The second call for papers has just been issued. For more on this event, visit the AustraLex website or check out their Facebook page.

Clans and Surnames 2017 Conference, Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland, May 15-19th 2017

From the 15th to the 19th of May 2017, the Clans and Surnames of Ireland Genealogy Programme will take place at the Great National Abbeycourt Hotel in Nenagh, County Tipperary. The scheduled programme will include expert genealogy workshops, seminars, lectures, field trips and valuable research advice for Irish family researchers.

Field trips will be offered in County Clare, Limerick, and Galway to facilitate a range of requirements. The programme offers walking tours, graveyard tours, and landscape character assessment fieldwork. Conservation, preservation & collections care workshops are also scheduled within the programme for the week.

Speakers include  Kenneth Nicholls, Dr Paul MacCotter, Patrick Guinness, Sean J. Murphy, Fiona Fitzsimons, Dr Joe Mannion, Donough McGillacuddy,  David Ryan, Regina Sexton, Lorna Moloney, Dr Michael C. Keane, Dr Ursula Callaghan, Rosaleen Underwood, Brian Donovan, John Tierney, Aiden Feerick, John Nangle,  Margaret Jordan, Jennifer Armstrong Zinck, Jane Halloran-Ryan, Jennifer Wood, Tony Harpur. Tony Browne, Penny Walters, and Treasa Kerrigan.

More details about the programme, including registration, can be found here.

The secret taxonomy behind IKEA’s product names, from Billy to Poäng


(Reuters/Toby Melville)

Did you know that bathroom articles at IKEA are given names of Swedish lakes and bodies of water? Or that the Billy bookcase was named after IKEA employee Billy Likjedhal? Everything you’d ever want to know about IKEA product naming was explained at a Jan. 25 product showcase in New York City, by IKEA designer Jon Karlsson. He revealed that IKEA has a crack team of product namers, who assign names from a database of Swedish words. Quartz covers the event and looks at IKEA’s naming rules. You knew that IKEA was an acronym, right? It stands for Ingvar (founder’s first name), Kamprad (founder’s surname), Elmtaryd (his family’s farm) and Agunnaryd (the village in Småland where he grew up in).


Call for Papers for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, New York, NY, January 4-7, 2018

ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference

January 4-7th, 2018 in New York, NY

The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Literary Wordplay with Names.” Case studies in world literature have repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of wordplays in producing puns or highlighting aspects of a narrative. However, comparatively little scholarly attention has been given to examining the names themselves as a rhetorical tool for literary wordplay. Interested authors are encouraged to submit an abstract examining the use of any type of name (e.g., personal names, place names, trade names, etc.) in literary wordplays for any period or genre of literature. Submissions utilizing interdisciplinary approaches are most welcome.

Proposal submission process:

  1. Abstracts proposals of up to 400 words should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Andreas Gavrielatos (
  2. Proposals should include “MLA proposal” in the subject line of the email.
  3. All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author affiliation, and email address in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract.
  4. Proposals must be received by 5pm GMT on 11 March 2017. Authors will be notified about results of the blind review on or by 20 March 2017.
  5. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers.
  6. For further information, please contact Andreas Gavrielatos (

More information about ANS and MLA conferences in available on the Conferences page of this website.

Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA-21) Meeting, Rockley, Barbados, June 9-11 2017

The 21st Biennial Meeting of the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA-21) will be held from the 9th to the 11th of June 2017 in Rockley, Barbados. The Conference will be held at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, located on Barbados’ south coast. The Dictionary Society of North America has held biennial meetings since 1995. Bringing together scholars of lexicography and professional lexicographers, the conference is an important event for anyone interested in modern dictionary research and practices. The upcoming conference in Barbados will be the first time that the conference meets outside the US and Canada. It is hoped that the Caribbean setting will inspire different avenues of inquiry and new interest in the diverse language varieties of the region, as well as just being a very pleasant place to be.  For more details, head over to the DSNA website.

New name for UK Unilever’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”

Unilever is rebranding its I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spread in the UK in a move to “drive awareness of the product’s versatility”. The new name? I Can’t Believe It’s So Good For Everything, which is two words (and four syllables) longer than the already lengthy original brand name. “Everything” includes spreading, cooking, baking, and frying – so technically not everything. But can you use it to remove gum from your hair?