Dave? Brigit? Why banking apps and startups suddenly all have human first names

When you need some money to make it to your next paycheck, you can always call on Dave. If you need budgeting help, reach out to Brigit. And for a personal loan to get you out of credit card debt, try Marcus.

That’s not to presume the names and financial situations of the people in your life: DaveBrigit, and Marcus are all money-related apps and services that have human first names. Personable products aimed at your wallet are a definite mini-trend. There’s also Frank (student loans), Alice (automated pre-tax spending), Clyde (insurance), Oscar (also insurance), and Albert (savings, investment, and overdraft protection).

What’s behind all these names? ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton spoke to journalist   at Vox to provide some insight. Here’s a sample of the article:

Laurel Sutton, a senior strategist and linguist at the naming agency Catchword, agrees. “They’re trying to take [the brand] away from a faceless institution,” Sutton told Vox. “That kind of branding seems very much on point for millennials or post-millennials.”

While chatbot names are even more complicated — humanoid enough to be friendly, singular enough that you’re not constantly triggering your Samsung “John” device — they’ve primed consumers to expect the products they work with intimately, the ones they trust with sensitive information, to feel like a buddy.

One thing Sutton notes about these names is the gender breakdown, the smattering of what she calls, “everyman white guy names.” Not all of these financial brand names follow this rule, but they certainly seem more masculine than the chatbot space with its A and I endings. “The patriarchy will tell you that you want a guy to help you with your money and you want a woman to do stuff for you,” Sutton says.

Want to find out more? Head over to Vox to read the whole article!

Invitation to Apply for the ANS Emerging Scholar Award 2019

ANS Logo final 1 img onlyThe Emerging Scholar award recognizes the outstanding scholarship of a names researcher in the early stages of their academic or professional career. To be eligible for this award, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be an entry-level professional, an untenured academic, or a student;
  2. Have had their single authored abstract accepted for presentation at the ANS annual conference; and
  3. Be a member of the ANS.

To be considered for this award, applicants must submit the full text of their paper by midnight (E.S.T.) the 5th of December 2019 to both ANS President Dr. Dorothy Dodge Robbins (drobbins@latech.edu) and this year’s ESA Chair, Dr. Jan Tent (jan.tent@mq.edu.au). Submissions must be sent as an email attachment in either a .doc or .docx format. For ease of processing, please be sure to include the keyword “ESA2019” in the subject line of your email.

The submission may not exceed 2,500 words (including the references, notes, and keywords but excluding any charts, graphs, or tables).

All submissions must include the following text elements in the order listed below:

  • 100-word abstract
  • 5 key words
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Notes (not to exceed 5 in number nor contain more than a total of 100 words)
  • List of references

In addition to these basic organizational guidelines, authors are asked to use the formatting rules listed in the official style sheet of NAMES, the journal of the American Name Society. Submissions will not only be judged upon the quality of the writing and the scientific merit of the study presented, but also on their adherence to these formatting regulations.

Papers previously published are not eligible for consideration. However, papers based on unpublished theses or dissertations are eligible. The Emerging Scholar Award Selection Committee will judge all submissions for their methodological soundness, innovation, and potential contribution to the field of onomastic research. The awardee will not only receive a cash prize, but will also be mentored by a senior onomastics scholar who will assist the awardee in preparing their paper for submission and possible publication in the ANS journal, NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics. Past recipients of the Emerging Scholar award are eligible to re-apply for this award for an entirely new piece of scholarship which examines a different area of onomastic research. However, preference may be given to applicants who have not yet received the award. In addition, the Selection Committee reserves the right to refrain from giving this award in those years in which no submission is deemed to have met the above-mentioned requirements.


Kansas City Removed Martin Luther King’s Name From Boulevard

After contentious debate, the Missouri city christened a street after the civil rights leader this year. Residents decided to revert it to Paseo Boulevard.

Voters decided to strip the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name from a street in Kansas City, Mo., nine months after city leaders dedicated a major thoroughfare to the civil rights leader. The decision caps more than a year and a half of contentious debate over how to honor Dr. King. It once again makes Kansas City the rare major American city without a street named for him.

But those who wanted the street returned to its former name, Paseo Boulevard, heralded the result as a win for a black community that they say was ignored when the decision to change the name to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was first made.

Lecture “Place-names and the medieval landscape in the Manchester area”, Manchester, UK, November 6 2019

This lecture focuses on the place-names of Greater Manchester and adjacent area, looking at the elements or linguistic building blocks which make up the names themselves, and showing how they may be mapped, plotted and interpreted. We will look at examples of medieval documents which give us early forms of the names, showing how the methodologies for interpretation have evolved over the past 200 years.

Place-names are among the defining markers of modern society – and they have much to tell us about how the society developed.

About the speaker: Alan Crosby read geography at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and has a doctorate from Oxford University. He is one of Britain’s leading local and regional historians, and since 2001 has been the editor of The Local Historian, the national journal for the subject.

Call for papers: Grapholinguistics in the 21st Century, Paris, France, June 17-19 2020

G21C (Grapholinguistics in the 21st Century) is a biennial conference bringing together disciplines concerned with grapholinguistics and more generally the study writing systems and their representation in written communication. The conference aims to reflect on the current state of research in the area, and on the role that writing and writing systems play in neighboring disciplines like computer science and information technology, communication, typography, psychology, and pedagogy.

They welcome proposals from all disciplines concerned with the study of written language, writing systems, and their implementation in information systems: epistemology of grapholinguistics, history, onomastics, topics, interaction with other disciplines, etc.

Submission deadline: January 13, 2020

You are invited to submit original contributions in the form of extended abstracts (not exceeding 1,000 words), written in English and anonymized.

Stories Behind Georgia Place-Names, Cumming, GA, November 4 2019

Ever wonder how Rough and Ready got its name? Or what Stonesthrow is a stone’s throw from? The curious Georgian can’t help pondering the seemingly endless supply of head-scratching place names that dot this state.

Luckily, the intrepid Cathy Kaemmerlen, author of Georgia Place-Names from Jot-Em-Down to Doctortown, stands ready to unravel the enigmas – Enigma is, in fact, a Georgia town – behind the state’s most astonishing appellations. Cow Hell, Gum Pond, Boxankle and Lord a Mercy Cove? One town owes its name to a random sign that fell off a railcar, while another memorializes a broken bone suffered by a cockfight spectator. And just how many place names were inspired by insolent mules? Come on in to find out.

Copies of Georgia Place-Names from Jot-Em-Down to Doctortown will be available for purchase and signing.

When: Mon, Nov. 4, 2019 at 6:30 PM
Where: Forsyth County Public Library – Hampton Park Library, 5345 Settingdown Road, Cumming, GA, 30041

Name Change Reflects Shift in United Nations Approach to Communications

Renaming the Department of Global Communications was a reflection of a shift in the way in which the United Nations approaches communications, the departmental head told the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) after it approved three draft resolutions on decolonization issues before taking up questions relating to information.

Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, told the Committee that the newly renamed entity — formerly the Department of Public Information — aims to make the public care about multilateralism through storytelling and by humanizing its work. She went on to say that coverage of the General Assembly’s recent high-level period demonstrated the Department’s strategic advance planning, which — alongside its more integrated multimedia production — helped to create multilingual content that was distributed in real time across multiple platforms.