AGM: “Old English place-names and the Communication of Traditional Ecological Knowledge”, London, UK, Sept. 19 2017

On Tuesday, the 19th of September 2017, the English Place-Name Society will hold their AGM at the offices of the British Academy. Dr. Richard Jones from the Centre for English Local History will give a formal presentation, “Old English place-names and the Communication of Traditional Ecological Knowledge” before the meeting. This event is open to all. RSVP before 12 September 2017 to reserve your place. More on this event can be found at the website.

About Names: Once big, Deborah had a fall from grace

Debra Messing co-starred as Grace Adler on NBC’s “Will & Grace” from 1998 to 2006. Her name in all its forms — Deborah, Debra, Debbie, Deb — once dominated the baby boomer names lists. / Associated Press

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his August 15 column, he looks at the history of the name Deborah.

The name Debra is just as amazing. It’s an alternate spelling of Deborah, which is derived from the Hebrew word for “bee.” The name wasn’t used by Christians until after the Reformation. Then parents searching the Old Testament discovered it.

In England, Deborah first joined the top 50 names in 1610, peaking at 24th in the 1660s. The name was even more popular with Puritans and Quakers of colonial New England and Pennsylvania.

When yearly baby names data start in 1880, Deborah ranked 499th. It bottomed out at 892nd in 1912, and barely rose until 1928. What happened to Deborah after that? Read on to find out more about Deborahs in history!


Call for Papers: Faulkner and Slavery, Oxford, Mississippi, July 22-26 2018

From the 22nd to the 26th of July 2018, a conference on “Faulkner and Slavery” will be held at the Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha 2018 conference. Interested presenters are encouraged to send in abstract proposals for conference papers. The deadline for submission is January 31, 2018. Selected presentations will be included in an edited volume to be published by the University Press of Mississippi. All abstracts, inquiries, manuscripts, and proposals should be sent to Jay Watson, Department of English, The University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848. E-mail: jwatson AT Decisions for all submissions will be made by March 15, 2018.

The call for papers can be found here.

A bar named Opium

The state of Maine has been hit hard by the nation’s opioid addiction crisis. About every 24 hours, another state coroner declares that someone’s son or daughter died from a drug overdose. Given that frightening statistic and the family tragedies related to it, many Maine residents are outraged when they heard that a new bar in Portland would be named “Opium”. While the bar owners’ argue that they picked the name as a “metaphor for relaxing and having a happy time”, activists and family members who have lost someone to drugs say the name is in very poor taste. More on this controversy can be found in this article at the Portland Press Herald.

Call for Papers: Hamsa: The Journal of Judaic and Islamic Studies

The editors of Hamsa: The Journal of Judaic and Islamic Studies are currently accepting proposals for its 5th volume on Muslims and Jews in Latin America. Submissions addressing the names and naming within this subject area are welcome. The main aim of the Hamsa Journal of Judaic and Islamic Studies is to create a virtual multi-disciplinary space in which all perspectives of the History, Language and Literature of Jews and Muslims can converge, as well as themes on Judaism and Islam in general. The deadline for submission is April 30, 2018. More details about the journal and the call are available here.

About Names: August, a name with ancient roots, is again in robust usage

Queen Latifah portrayed August in “The Secret Life of Bees.”

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his August 1 column, he looks at the history of the name August.

In the year 8 B.C. the Roman Senate renamed the month Sextilis after the first Roman emperor, Augustus, whose great military victories came in that month. Around the year 1500, noble families in Germany and Poland, inspired by the emperor’s fame, began using the name. In German and Polish the name was “August,” but these men were usually called “Augustus” in English.

German immigrants brought the form August to the U.S., where, in 1850, the census found 10,320 Augustuses and 3,049 Augusts. There were also 776 men named Auguste, the French form.

2008 was the first year that more than 100 baby girls were named August. In 2016, 222 arrived. If 265 arrive this year, August will make the top thousand for girls as well as boys. Read on to find out more about Augusts in history!


Call for Papers: /grafematik/ 2018, Brest, France, June 14-16 2018

“Graphemics in the 21st Century: From Graphemes to Knowledge” is the official theme of an international interdisciplinary conference to be held in Brest, France from the 14th to the 16th of June, 2018. The specific aim of the conference is to collectively explore the growing importance of Unicode with regard to the future of reading and writing. Among the many topics invited for possible presentation include, the cross-disciplinary historical onomastic epistemology of graphemics. The deadline for submission is November 6, 2017.  The conference will be held at IMT Atlantique (formerly Télécom Bretagne). Abstract submission details can be found here.

Call for Papers: Categories and Units in Language and Linguistics (CULL), Wałbrzych, Poland, April 9-10 2018

From the 9th to the 10th of April 2018, a conference entitled “Categories and Units in Language and Linguistics” will be held in Wałbrzych, Poland, at the Angelus Silesius University of Applied Sciences. The purpose of the conference is to bring together scholars of varied disciplines to explore categories and units used in language study, language pedagogy, psychology of language and psychology from a range of perspectives. More specifically, this interdisciplinary conference will address how categories and units influence and/or possibly constrain theory and model-building. The deadline for scientific abstracts is December 20, 2017. The primary language of the conference is English, but presentations in Polish are also welcome. More details about this special event can be found at the website.