In Memoriam: Iona Opie, Folklorist and Children’s Literature Expert

Iona Opie. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

On the 23rd of October 2017, Iona Opie, internationally recognized folklorist of children’s literature and childlore passed away at the age of 94. Along with her husband, Peter, her legacy includes such publications as The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951) and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959).

Their first publication was I Saw Esau (1947), a slim precursor of the wide spine of The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book (1955). The Opies applied years of rigor to an oral culture too commonplace to have received attention before: their scholarship, informally communicated, was important to the postwar discovery of the words of ordinary people. “It took 50 generations to make up Mother Goose,” Iona said. “Nursery rhymes are the smallest great poems of the world’s literature.”

The Stories Behind High-End Brand Names

Nike, UNIQLO, Ray-Ban – just some of the familiar names for fashion lovers. Ever wonder where the names come from? Did you know that NYX should be pronounced “nicks” after the Greek goddess of the night? Or that ASOS stands for the company’s original name “As Seen On Screen” and “ghd” simply stands for “good hair day”? Check out the infographic at Beauty Flash for more information on how some of the top brands got their names.

Special Issue: 50th Anniversary of the Western Association of Map Libraries

The Western Association of Map Libraries is an independent association of map librarians and other people with an interest in maps and map librarianship. The November issue of the WAML Information Bulletin is a special issue commemorating the organization’s 50th Anniversary.  Along with articles, book reviews, and new mapping of Western North America, this issue features a special segment dedicated to the late Mary Larsgaard. The issue can be found at the WAML website here.

Call for Papers: Names in Writing, NORNA 48th symposium, Gothenburg, Sweden, Nov 29-30 2018

From the 29th to the 30th of November 2018, a conference devoted to the subject of “Names in Writing” will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden. It will give scholars a chance to reflect on the significance of writing in the study of names and provide a platform to discuss approaches from different fields. Among the many themes to be addressed at this event are the graphemes of names; names an orthography; written names in language contact; written names in the public sphere. The deadline for 300 word (excluding references) abstract submissions is February 20, 2018. 

The conference is arranged by the Department of Languages and Literatures, Gothenburg University, and Institute for Language and Folklore, Gothenburg. Venue: Olof Wijksgatan 6, Gothenburg (“Gamla hovrätten”).

The call for papers can be found here.

Call for Nominations for the 2017 Name of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the “Names of the Year for 2017”. The names selected will be ones that best illustrates, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States and Canada.

Nominations are called for in the four following categories:

Personal Names: Names or nicknames of individual real people, animals, or hurricanes.

Place Names: Names or nicknames of any real geographical location, including all natural features, political subdivisions, streets, and buildings. Names of national or ethnic groups would be included here.

Trade Names: Names of real commercial products, as well as names of both for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations, including businesses, universities, and political parties.

Fictional/Literary Names: Names of fictional persons, places, or institutions, in any written, oral, or visual medium, as well as titles of art works, books, plays, television programs, or movies.

Winners will be chosen in each category, and then a final vote will determine the overall Name of the Year for 2017. Anyone may nominate a name. All members of the American Name Society attending the annual meeting will select the winner from among the nominees at the annual ANS meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 5, 2018. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.

Advance nominations must be received before January 2, 2018. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, to Dr. Cleveland K. Evans at cevans[@]

The Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

Call for Papers: “Languages Memory”, Language Acts and Worldmaking, London, UK, June 13-14 2018

The first conference by Language Acts and Worldmaking will be held at Bush House, London from the 13th to the 14th of June 2018. This conference, called “Languages Memory”, will be devoted to exploring the ways in which languages are experienced, taught, and researched. The call for papers is now open and can be found here. The deadline for the call for papers is 15 December 2017.

Here are some key themes and ideas for proposals:

  • Worldmaking and languages
  • History, legacy and future of UK, EU and international languages policies and comparative perspectives
  • Language ideologies and pedagogies
  • Languages in moments of crisis
  • New ecologies of memory
  • Digital methods and memory practices in relation to Modern Languages
  • Technologies of language learning across time
  • Languages and coloniality; the postcolonial and the transnational
  • Languages and the archive; mnemonics and memory palaces
  • Lost languages, linguicide, and future languages
  • Remembering language as play
  • Diasporic communities and language memory

How Do Baby Names Become Popular? Featuring Cleve Evans

The ANS’ own Cleve Evans, a recognized expert in baby names, is featured in an online article called “How Do Baby Names Become Popular?” in Romper magazine.

He explains that naming trends in the U.S. are driven by the desire of most parents to choose a name that’s “different, but not too different.” Parents achieve this, consciously or not, by slightly shifting the sounds of names that were popular a decade ago. The impact, while subtle, is absolutely visible in the yearly baby name round-up.

Read on to get the rest of the story!

About Names: Mining for names and striking Goldie

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his November 21st column, he looks at the history of the name Goldie.

Goldie Hawn turned 72 on November 21st. Hawn won a best supporting actress Oscar for “Cactus Flower” and was nominated for best actress for “Private Benjamin.”

In Old English, boys were called Golda and girls Golde. These were names in their own right, and also short forms of compounds like Goldburg (“gold fortress”), Goldrich (“gold ruler”) and Goldwin (“gold friend”).

Golda and Golde were common girls’ names among Yiddish-speaking Jews in Eastern Europe. Between 1880 and 1925, Jewish immigrants brought them to America. The most famous Golda was Golda Meir (1898-1978), prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. Born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev, Ukraine, she came to Milwaukee in 1906 and moved to Palestine in 1921.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Goldies in history!

BBC name change stirs language dispute in Afghanistan

The BBC is facing an angry reaction in Afghanistan after it changed the name of one of its local language Facebook pages to BBC Dari, one of the official names of the Afghan version of Persian or Farsi but one rejected by many local Persian speakers. Many Persian speakers say the name Dari has been imposed historically by the traditionally dominant Pashto ethnic group, as an implicit denial of Afghanistan’s place in the wider Persian-speaking world.

The head of the BBC’s Afghan service, Meena Baktash defended the use of the term Dari, noting that it was the official name of the language in Afghanistan. She said the change was intended to link the Facebook page to the BBC Dari radio service, which was launched in 2003 and which, together with the BBC Pashto service, occupies an important place in the crowded local media landscape.

Click through to read more of Al Jazeera’s coverage of this politically charged onomastic issue.

Call for Papers: The Newness of “Little Women”, American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, CA, May 24-27 2018

The American Literature Association will offer a roundtable session on “The Newness of Little Women” in celebration of the novel’s 150th anniversary in 2018. The conference will take place in San Francisco, CA, from May 24-27 2018.  Some of the questions to be explored include In what ways did Alcott’s book revolutionize the novel as a genre or form? In what ways did Alcott’s slangy diction transform the language of American literary realism? What are Little Women’s most distinctive contributions to the development of literary or popular culture? How did the novel change the ways writers could represent young people, mothers and families, art and ambition? How does Little Women represent in unique or ephemeral ways its own moment in history? Interested participants are encouraged to send in 300-word abstracts by email to Gregory Eiselein and Anne K. Phillips . The deadline for proposals is Friday, January 19, 2018. Early submissions welcome. The call for papers can be found here.