The 2019 Session of the “new” United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) will be convened from 29 April to 3 May 2019 at the UNHQ, in New York.
The session, organized by the United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, brings together over 150 experts from national naming authorities and academia. The 2019 session heralds the first session of the new body, with a new agenda and over 90 papers for information and discussion, covering topics such as toponymic training, place names supporting sustainable development, toponymic data files and gazetteers, romanization systems, exonyms, geographical names as cultural heritage, and toponymic guidelines for map and other editors for international use.
The Cook Islands in the South Pacific is considering a name change to reflect its Polynesian heritage. The nation was named after British explorer James Cook who landed on the islands in the 1700s.
A committee is considering 60 options in Cook Islands Maori including Rangiaroa, meaning Love from the Heavens and Raroatua which translates as We Stand Under God. The updated name should reflect the country’s history, its religious beliefs and its people. A referendum was held in 1994, when voters opted against a name change.
However, the name-change may take a while. There would probably have to be a new referendum and the process could take two years.
In this thematic session, linguists, geographers, sociologists, ethnographers and representatives from related disciplines are invited to contribute presentations revolving around the following questions:
(1) What are the new trends in place / street (re-)naming practices? Who are the agents behind these (re-)namings? How do these renamings influence the “ideological robe of the city” ?
(2) How are these changes reported, legitimized and critiqued in the media?
(3) How can various disciplines researching place/street (re-)namings contribute to our understanding of these semiotic changes?
Deadline for abstract submission is March 22, 2019. Abstracts should be submitted via the Poznań Linguistic Meeting (PLM) Easy Chair system.
The City of Brussels joins the call for more ‘women in the streets’. The inhabitants of Brussels can suggest female heroes who deserve a place in the public space, but they can also propose places, squares and parks that do not yet have a name.
The rules are simple:
- the person may no longer be alive
- the proposal must be submitted by the City to the Royal Commission for Toponymy and Dialectology
All proposals are welcome on the:
Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in French)
Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in Dutch)
ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference
January 9-12th, 2020 in Seattle, WA
The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Semantic relations and personal names.” Names have meanings. They bear specific semantic connotations that, albeit forgotten by their users, are exploited by authors to evoke subsequent layers of interpretation. Papers of this panel will explore this practice and investigate how meanings of names are employed and to what ends, with a focus either on specific authors or with a broader scope. Examples of themes that can be addressed may be semantics of names in literary theory, name choices due to semantic connotations, intertextual relations based on the meaning of names, etc.
For more information about MLA 2020, check out the official website.
Proposal submission process:
- Abstracts proposals of up to 400 words should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr. Andreas Gavrielatos (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Proposals should include “MLA proposal” in the subject line of the email.
- 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.
- DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 5pm GMT on 31 March 2019. Authors will be notified about results of the blind review on or by 03 April 2019.
- Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers.
- For further information, please contact Dr A. Gavrielatos (email@example.com).
More information about ANS and MLA conferences in available on the Conferences page of this website.
The Quebec government will rename a bridge on Highway 50 in the Outaouais to honour Jean Alfred, the first black member of Quebec’s national assembly. The Pont Jean-Alfred will span the Petite-Nation River about 20 kilometres east of Lochaber, in the heart of the riding Alfred represented, Quebec’s Toponymy Commission confirmed this week.
“Jean Alfred devoted a part of his life to build bridges between Quebecers and the Haitian community here,” Minister of Culture Nathalie Roy said in a February release. Born in Haiti, Alfred went to the University of Ottawa for studies and received a PhD in education.
On the Baby Names Podcast, ANS Member Jennifer Moss interviews Laurel Sutton, ANS Vice President and founder of Catchword, one of the top naming companies in the world. Laurel discusses how the process of naming people is not that different than naming companies and products.
Jennifer and Mallory also gab about the current celebrity baby news and take listener questions on names and naming!
Names mentioned in this episode: Praxidike, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hannah Hart, Nova, Homer, Igor, Mallory
Levi Strauss button
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 26th column, he looks at the history of the name Levi.
The first Levi was Jacob and Leah’s third son in the Bible’s book of Genesis. At his birth, Leah says “Now my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Hebrew “lawah” means “joined.” Levi’s descendants became priests and attendants at Jerusalem’s temple.
Before the Reformation, Levi was only used by Jews. Then some Protestant parents took it up. Unlike other Old Testament names such as Abraham and Joshua, Levi didn’t become generally popular in England, appealing only to more radical Puritans. Britain’s 1851 census found 4,727 Levis. In the 1850 United States census (when the nations had about the same population), there were 36,624, most descendants of New England Puritans living in the North.
Modern Levis now gaining fame include Levi Leipheimer (born 1973), the U.S. national champion road racing cyclist in 1999 and 2007, and Levi LaVallee (1982), winner of seven gold medals in snowmobile racing at the Winter X games between 2004 and 2014.
Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Levis in history!
At the meeting on the 25th February 2019, the school board unanimously approved a resolution to create a committee to suggest new names for Lee Middle, in Silver Spring, and asked for a review of existing school names to “ensure that all names are appropriate candidates for school facilities.” County Council President Nancy Navarro is pushing for a change based on Lee’s history that included implementing racist housing policies, forcing minorities from buying or renting homes in some subdivisions.
There are 206 public schools in Montgomery County serving about 163,000 students. Staff members have begun researching school facility names and the history of the people. Although a timeline for the review wasn’t given, it is an “in-depth process that will take a little time.”
The Austrian Board on Geographical Names is celebrating the 50 year anniversary and invites to the GeoNames19 Symposium “Place Names and Migration” in Vienna, 6-8 November 2019.
Migration is a global and all-time phenomenon. Related to place names, this prompts a number of delicate questions: How do migrants deal with place names? Do they accept the place names they find? Do they adapt them to their own language by translation, morphological or phonetic adaptation? Do they create new names of their own for already named places? And how do long-term residents of the place react to these attitudes?
Submit the title of your paper until the 31st March 2019.