Publication Announcement — Names and Naming: Multicultural Aspects

Several members of the American Name Society have contributed to a new publication at Palgrave Macmillan titled Names and Naming: Multicultural Aspects. The book is further described:

“This edited book examines names and naming policies, trends and practices in a variety of multicultural contexts across America, Europe, Africa and Asia. In the first part of the book, the authors take theoretical and practical approaches to the study of names and naming in these settings, exploring legal, societal, political and other factors. In the second part of the book, the authors explore ways in which names mirror and contribute to the construction of identity in areas defined by multiculturalism. The book takes an interdisciplinary approach to onomastics, and it will be of interest to scholars working across a number of fields, including linguistics, sociology, anthropology, politics, geography, history, religion and cultural studies.”

Purchase a copy at the publisher’s website by clicking here!


Valparaiso University “Crusaders” to be renamed “Beacons”

The latest university to update their team name is the private Lutheran Valparaiso University. Once known as the “Crusaders”, the sports teams will now be the “Beacons”. According to an associated press report, “School officials announced in February that they had retired the Crusaders name following input from students, faculty and alumni. That decision came after a decades-long debate that has recently intensified because groups such as the Ku Klux Klan began using the words and symbols of the Crusades, which were a series of bloody religious wars starting in the 11th century between Christians and Muslims.”

Publication announcement: Names: A Journal of Onomastics 69, no. 3 is now available

The latest issue of Names: A Journal of Onomastics is now available online! Click here to read the latest in onomastics scholarship in volume 69, number 3 of Names. A table of contents appears below.

Volume 69 marks the first year that Names is published as an open access journal available to all via the Journal’s new home at the University of Pittsburgh. All journal content, including the content found in previous volumes, is now available for free online as downloadable PDF files.

Subscribers to the print version of the journal will receive their copies within the next few weeks.


Table of Contents


A Note of Remembrance in Honor of Edwin David Lawson (December 23, 1923—July 3, 2021)“, by Aaron Demsky


Usernames on a Finnish Online Marketplace for Illegal Drugs“, by Lasse Hämäläinen, Ari Haasio, and J. Tuomas Harviainen

Corpus-Based Methods for Recognizing the Gender of Anthroponyms“, by Rogelio Nazar, Irene Renau, Nicolas Acosta, Hernan Robledo, Maha Soliman, and Sofıa Zamora

“Boundary-Maintenance” or “Boundary-Crossing”? Name-Giving Practices among Immigrants in Germany“, by Jurgen Gerhards and Julia Tuppat

The Use of a Matching Preference Index to Empirically Examine Distribution Imbalances in Beijing Citizens’ Names“, by Ziming Zhao, Xiaomeng Li, and Qinghua Chen

Book Reviews

Naming, Identity, and Tourism“, by I. M. Nick

Dictionary of French Family Names in North America“, by André Lapierre


In Memoriam: Edwin D. Lawson (1923-2021)“, by Thomas Gasque

View All Issues 

In the age of space tourism, who can hold the title “Astronaut”?

A photo of Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong, two individuals who hold the title “astronaut” (Public domain)

A piece in Time Magazine raises an interesting question: in the age of space tourism, who can hold the title “astronaut”? Some believe that only those who pilot a spacecraft should be given the title, whereas others believe anyone who crosses into low earth atmosphere—regardless of the role they have on the flight—should be given the moniker. Regardless, one point is clear, as Jeffrey Kluger writes:

“Hansen agrees, and warns that playing with astronaut nomenclature risks not only denying the title to people who may deserve it, but stripping it from those who historically earned it. The original NASA Mercury astronauts, after all, often complained that their missions were overly automated, with much of the flight run by computer, and the astronauts themselves there mostly to observe and intervene if needed.”

Read more at Time Magazine.

About Names: “The romantic — and rebellious — history of Guy”

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

Right now on movie screens a Guy is saving his world.

“Free Guy” premiered Friday. In this fantasy film, a new program makes Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a minor nonplayer character in video game “Free City,” self-aware. He then must save his virtual world from being erased.

Guy is the French form of Wido, an ancient Germanic name from either witu (“wood”) or wit (“wide”). Brought to England in 1066, it stayed in use partly because of the legend of Guy of Warwick, retold in ballads since around 1200.

In his story, Guy is a lowly cupbearer who loves Felice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick.

To become worthy of her, he travels the world slaying dragons and other monsters. After wedding Felice, Guy makes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, returning just in time to save Winchester from Danish invaders by defeating giant Colbrand in single combat.

The name’s heroic reputation was ruined by Guy Fawkes (1570-1606).

In 1605, Fawkes joined several other Catholics in the Gunpowder Plot, planning to blow up King James and Parliament on Nov. 5. Though Fawkes wasn’t the leader, he was first arrested, and his name came to exemplify treason.

Parliament declared Nov. 5 an annual celebration. Effigies of Fawkes made of old rags were tossed into bonfires. Soon these were called “guys”. Around 1830 “guy” became slang in England for any shabbily dressed man.

Two New Publications on Anglo-Indian Names, Christian Names in India by ANS Member Smita Joseph

ANS Member Smita Joseph published two books recently: The Anglo Indians In Hyderabad: Socio-Linguistic, Historical And Anthropological Perspectives (2020) and A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Indian Christian Names: The Case of Telugu Catholics and Syrian Christians (2022).

The Anglo Indians In Hyderabad: Socio-Linguistic, Historical And Anthropological Perspectives is described as giving “a fascinating account of how the Anglo-Indians of Hyderabad maintain their ethnic identity through the use of proper names and slang. The data on slang and names has been elicited through a combination of interview, survey and ethnographic methods.”

Due out in 2022, A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Indian Christian Names: The Case of Telugu Catholics and Syrian Christians “gives a sociolinguistic account of Syrian Christian and Telugu Catholic personal names. Unlike previous works on the linguistic or sociolinguistic analysis of the personal names of Indian Christians, which have mainly used a reflexive approach to analyse names, this book takes a constitutive approach by analysing the personal names of two Indian Christian communities (Telugu Catholics and Syrian Christians) from the perspective of community members. This novel approach provides greater insights into individuals’ motivations for naming and how names are used to create social identities.”

Both books can be purchased on Amazon India or via the publisher’s links above.