Anthony Shore on Naming: Explore Concepts, not Words

Anthony Shore is Chief Operative of Operative Words and was formerly Global Director of Naming and Writing for Landor Associates. In this blog post, he offers advice about creative brand names, starting with the concept “To name well, you must name abundantly.”

To create the many name candidates needed for a new brand name, Shore counsels that you should explore concepts, not words:

Concepts are intrinsically more generative than specific words because concepts can include other concepts.

Read More

“Hello, death”: Coca-Cola’s te reo marketing blunder

Photo from @waikatoreo on Twitter

A Coke vending machine with the words “Kia Ora, Mate” is doing the rounds on Twitter, with social media users pointing out the dangers of mixing te reo and English. “Mate” is Māori for “death” which brings a whole new meaning to the sentence – and definitely not the one Coca-Cola intended.

An article at the New Zealand Herald rounds up the responses, which were kicked off by a tweet. Twitter user @waikatoreo posted the photo on Sunday, saying “Coke got an unexpected result when they mixed Māori and English”. Click through to see what people had to say!

About Names: A name that’s managed to stay in our good Grace(s) for centuries

Superstar Miss Grace Jones

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his October 25th column, he looks at the history of the name Grace.

Grace is from Latin “gratia,” “favor, good will.” In Christian theology, it means “God’s unmerited favor or love.”

Medieval Catholics occasionally used the term as a girl’s name. One example is St. Grace of Lérida in Spain. Born the daughter of a Muslim caliph, she was martyred in 1180. Normans brought the name Grece when they invaded England in 1066. This was probably from a Germanic word meaning “gray,” also found in the first syllable of “Griselda.” Early medieval records used “Grecia” as Grece’s Latin form. By 1250, this changed to “Gracia.” Soon, the everyday English form was “Grace.”

Grace peaked again at 13th in 2003 — though with names more varied today, it accounted for only 0.64 percent of girls born then as opposed to 1.13 percent back in 1890.

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

Registration opens for the 2019 ANS Conference, New York City, NY, January 3-6, 2019

American Name SocietyRegistration is now open for the 2019 ANS Conference in New York City, NY. The ANS conference will take place in conjunction with the Linguistics Society of American (LSA) Conference from January 3-6, 2019.

To register, you must join the ANS or renew your ANS membership.

LSA Registration is now open! Go to the LSA Meeting page to register. You must be a member of the LSA (as well as the ANS) in order to attend.

You can also reserve your room at the Sheraton in New York City via the LSA. Use the LSA link to receive a special discounted room rate.

Note that to renew your ANS membership, you will be redirected to the Taylor & Francis website where you will need to enter information from your renewal notice.

Once your membership is up to date, you can register online here, or download a PDF of the Conference Registration Form and mail it to ANS Treasurer Saundra Wright, as per the instructions on the form.

For more information about the ANS Conference and the LSA Conference, including rate and hotel information, please visit our Conference Page.

Call for Papers: Childhood: Literature and Culture

A new children’s literature journal based in Poland called Childhood: Literature and Culture is accepting articles in either English or Polish. They are devoting the first issue of the journal Dzieciństwo: Literatura i Kultura to consideration on the 21st century trend of adaptation of children’s literature – both film and TV series, presented on cinema and television screens and on streaming platforms (such as Netflix). What are the transformations of childhood constructs relative to literary prototypes? What tendencies are visible in film and TV series adaptations understood as reinterpretations of pre-text books? What literary works are the modern adapters most willing to use and what could be the reasons for their choices? Who is the hypothetical recipient of contemporary film and TV series adaptations?

The deadline for submitting articles is November, 30th 2018.

Interested authors should visit the website for more information, in English and Polish.


About Names: From Welsh roots, Gladys has worked its way through the grapevine

Gladys Knight

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his October 9th column, he looks at the history of the name Gladys.

Gladys is the modern form of Welsh Gwladus. Medieval records in Latin used “Claudia” as its equivalent. Experts disagree on whether Gwladus was just the Welsh form of Claudia or from Welsh gwlad, “countryside.” The first historical Gwladus was St. Gwladus, a princess of Brycheiniog. Kidnapped by Gwynllyw, king of Gwynllwg, she became his queen.

The modern form was spread by the novels “Gladys of Harlech” (1858) by Louisa M. Spooner and “Gladys the Reaper” (1860) by Anne Beale. Both authors were English women living in Wales. Spooner’s tale features a medieval noblewoman and Beale’s a simple country girl. Both show the Welsh as good people oppressed by corrupt Englishmen. The 1870 census includes 128 Gladyses, almost all born during the 1860s in the North. (Perhaps the novels didn’t make it to the South during the Civil War.)

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

Should you trademark a greeting?

Bula Kafe in Florida Photo: Facebook / Bula Kafe

According to this article at Radio New Zealand, Pacific leaders meeting in New Zealand are outraged by the commonly-used Fijian greeting, “bula” being trademarked by a US businessman who runs and owns three businesses spread across Florida – Bula Kafe, Bula on the Beach and Bula Coco Beach. Many people have left negative reviews of the businesses on Facebook. The “bula” logo has appeared on many of products and advertising, from signage and bottle branding, to “bula babe shorts”. It is not the first time US businesses have been accused of cultural appropriation. For example, Illinois restaurant chain “Aloha Poke Company” has recently copped criticism for sending cease and desist letters to other restaurants using the word “aloha”. The New Zealand Minister for Pacific Peoples said: “This is a disturbing revelation and will be distressful not only to Fijians in New Zealand but to all Fijians throughout the world. It is unbelievable that a company from another country can trademark what belongs to another group of people.”

Names in the Economy VI: Values, Branding and Globalization , Uppsala, Sweden, 3–5 June 2019

Together with the Department of Scandinavian Languages at Uppsala University, the Institute for Language and Folklore will host the Sixth International conference on Names in the Economy in Uppsala, Sweden, on 3–5 June 2019. This conference will focus on the economy or the economic aspects that are hidden or evident in various types of names; how names can hold different values and how names can be used or mis-used to create values, how names are used in branding and how names can be means in a global world. More details in Swedish about this event can be found here:

Call for Papers: GfN-Conference “Names in motion”, University of Münster, Germany, September 11-13 2019

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Namenforschung e.V. (German Association for Name Research eV) has announced a call for papers for their next conference, “Names in motion: Adaptation processes of person and place names in areal, diachronic, and social fields of tension”. The conference will be held at theUniversity of Münster, Germany, September 11-13, 2019.

As proper names refer directly to individual objects, they crucially depend on stable, fixed relationships between form and referent. However, such fixed references open up fields of tension when contexts change for people who bear and use the names. Changing contexts may prompt names to be formally adapted, meaning that – at least temporarily – names may lead a double life. The aim of this conference is to identify factors that motivate, condition, and constrain adaptation processes of person and place names to changing or varying circumstances.

As most of the proposed topics and questions are best addressed from a multidisciplinary perspective, contributions and approaches from social scientists, culture geographers and other disciplines are also welcome, in addition to linguistic-onomastic approaches. Talks (20 minutes + 10-minute discussion) or posters can be presented in German or English. The deadline for abstracts is 30 April 2019.

Find out more at the conference home page.

A downloadable version of the call for papers, in English, can be found here.


Seeking New ANS Officers for 2019

Ever thought about getting more involved with the American Name Society but did not know how?  Here is your opportunity!  The American Name Society is currently looking for a few good people who are interested in joining the Executive Council.  Starting January 2019, new officers will be needed to fill the positions listed below.

To apply for one or more of these positions, please fill out the application form on this page.


ANS Treasurer (2019-2021)

The person elected to this position will be responsible for keeping official record of all funds and securities of the Society; giving and keeping receipts for moneys due and payable to the Society; depositing all moneys in the name of the Society; responding to inquiries from annual conference attendees regarding registration payments; and informing the ANS President, the members of the ANS Executive Council, and the general membership about the financial status of the Society via an end-of-the year fiscal report. The ANS Treasurer will work closely with the ANS President, Vice President, and Membership Officer as well as Taylor & Francis, the current publisher of the ANS Journal NAMES. The person elected to this position is expected to have demonstrable accounting experience and competence in using standard spreadsheets programs (e.g., Excel). Applicants for this position must be long-term ANS members in good-standing.


Member-at-large (2019-2022)

The person elected to this position will serve as a voting member of the Executive Council (EC) and is expected to participate actively in the legislative decision-making involved in resolutions and motions placed before the EC.  In addition to these duties, members-at-large serve on various auxiliary sub-committees to, for example, help with the nomination of new officers, coordination of the annual conference, and organization of allied conferences.  Officers in this position can renew their term of service twice.


Information Officer (2019-2021)

The person elected to this position will be responsible for maintaining the ANS social media presence via our website as well as Facebook and Twitter. The main duties for this position include the following: updating the news page of the ANS website on a weekly basis; posting special alerts (e.g., conference announcements, calls for papers, ANS newsletters); responding to requests made via the Facebook and Twitter accounts; and adding books that are reviewed in NAMES to the ANS Amazon Wishlist. The person chosen for this position must not only be highly computer literate, but also an avid user of social media. Experience in using WordPress is desirable but not mandatory. Training will be provided. The new Information Officer must also have excellent writing and time-management skills as well as a high level of creativity. The Information Officer will work very closely with the ANS President and Vice President throughout the year.