The Second Battle for the Name “Josh”

Pool Noodles (Photo by Emma Craig, CC-BY-2.0)

Last year, hundreds of people with the name “Josh” gathered in a park in Nebraska. They battled one another with pool noodles for the right to the name “Josh”. This year the Joshes returned with their pool noodles to the park for another battle. This time the Joshes raised over $21,000 for the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. The winner was 5-year-old Josh Vinson Jr., who held his “No. 1 Josh” title from last year.

Congressional Commission Reveals Nine Proposals for New Base Names

The proposed name “Fort Liberty” will replace the name “Fort Bragg” (Public domain image of the entry to the Fort)

The congressional naming commission revealed proposals to rename nine military bases this Tuesday. CNN outlines all nine possible name change proposals. The writers share, “The proposed names include women, African-American, Native American and Latino service members, a nod to the diverse ranks the US military has benefited from over the years. The commission, however, also recommended renaming a few of the bases after White men.”

Read more about each of the name changes and their respective rationales over at CNN.

Italian Constitutional Court: Children Should Receive Mother’s and Father’s Surnames

Italy’s Constitutional Court in Rome (Public Domain)

The Italian Constitutional Court recently ruled that all children should be given both their mother’s and their father’s surname. The court argued that to be given the father’s surname name alone was “discriminatory and harmful to the identity” of the child. As a result of the ruling, both parents’ surnames will be included on the child’s birth certificate. Read more over at USAToday.

About Names: “Liam and Sophia are the Top Baby Names of 2021”

Van Gogh’s “Madame Roulin and Her Baby” (1888)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his May 22nd column, he looks at the top baby names in the United States in 2021.

Liam’s finally No. 1 no matter how you spell it.

May 6 the Social Security Administration released the United States’ top baby names of 2021.

On SSA’s lists, Liam and Olivia rank first, as they did in 2019 and 2020.

SSA counts every spelling separately. I prefer to add together spellings pronounced the same, creating lists I believe more accurately indicate popularity.

From 2013 through 2020, when alternative spellings like Jaxon and Lyam were added in, Jackson ranked first. In 2021, Liam grew 3.14% to finally beat Jackson for No. 1.

Liam, an Irish short form of William, wasn’t even used as an official name in Ireland itself until around 1890. A top 10 name in England in 1995, Liam’s since spread around the world. It now ranks No. 1 in Quebec, No. 2 in Switzerland, No. 3 in Sweden, No. 5 in Belgium, No. 6 in Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands, and No. 7 in Slovenia.

After Jackson, the rest my 2021 male top 10 were Noah, Oliver, Aiden, Elijah, Lucas, Grayson, James and William — the same names as 2020, with Oliver, now No. 1 in England, Australia and New Zealand, moving up a spot.

Luca was the top 100 boy’s name with the biggest leap, soaring 37% from 37th to 15th. Luca is the Italian and Romanian form of Luke, with Luka the same in Balkan Slavic languages.

The huge popularity of Noah and Elijah made parents used to boys’ names ending with Luca’s final vowel. Since 2000 it’s risen as a “different but not too different” alternative for Lucas and Luke.

In 2021 Pixar’s animated “Luca,” about an Italian sea monster boy who leaves the ocean to win a Vespa scooter, became the most-watched streaming film. This surely caused Luca to skyrocket. Luca joins Ariel and Elsa as animated characters inspiring baby names. In total there were 55% more boys named Lucas, Luca or Luke in 2021 than Liams.

About Names: “Iris loved as a flower, worshipped as a goddess”

A Blue Iris flower (Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his May 8th column, he looks at the history of the name Iris.

Give someone a rainbow of flowers for Mother’s Day.

May 8 is Iris Day, celebrating flowers of the genus Iris. It’s also a legal holiday in Brussels, Belgium, where the regional flag features a yellow iris.

Iris is the Greek word for “rainbow.” Linguists trace it back to an Indo-European word for “bend,” referring to a rainbow’s distinctive curve in the sky.

Ancient Greeks personified Iris as a goddess. Iris was messenger for the chief Greek deities and served them nectar on Mount Olympus. Romans adopted her into their pantheon as special agent of goddess Juno. Iris is featured in both the Iliad by Greek poet Homer and the Aeneid by Latin poet Virgil, two of literature’s most famous works.

The flower’s been called iris since medieval times because it comes in a rainbow variety of colors. “Iris” has also been the colored part of the eye since the early 15th century.

Many assume Iris’ use as a girl’s name was taken from the flower, just as names like Hazel, Heather and Holly were inspired by plants. However, British historian George Redmonds believes the first rare use of Iris in the 18th century was after the goddess. Iris fit in with Doris and Phyllis, Greek names revived by 17th century poets. Iris then helped inspire other “flower” names.

Redmonds’ theory is supported by the oldest Iris in the 1850 United States census (first listing all free residents by name), 88-year-old Iris Amelotte, a Black woman born in Africa living with a white family in New Orleans. Iris was probably a freed slave named by a former owner. Some slave owners showed off their learning by giving slaves classical names like Hercules and Venus.

Seeking New ANS Officers for 2023

Ever thought about getting more involved with the American Name Society?  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 in 2023, new officers will be needed to fill the positions listed below.

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

 

Vice President (2023-2025)

The person elected to this position is primarily responsible for co-organizing the ANS annual conference in close cooperation with the ANS President. As conference co-chair, the person in this position will issue an official call for papers, organize a team of reviewers, design the program of paper presentations, and coordinate with the Linguistic Society of America and the other linguistic affiliates or “Sister Societies”: the American Dialect Society (ADS), the Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL), the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the America (SSILA), The Association for Linguistic Evidence (TALE), and the North American Association for the History of Language Sciences (NAAHoLS). In addition to these duties, the VP also serves as a voting member of the Executive Council and, as such, is actively involved in the legislative process of the ANS. The person selected for this office has the option of running for the office of ANS President, at the end of his/her term. Candidates for this position are expected to have superior organizational, time-management, and communication skills.

 

Allied Conference Coordinator (2023-2025)

The person elected to this position is principally responsible for organizing the ANS session at the annual conference of the Modern Language Association. This activity involves issuing a call for papers, assembling a team of abstract reviewers, selecting three authors whose work will be presented at the MLA conference, and coordinating the presentation of the three winning abstracts with the MLA administration. In addition to these duties, as a voting member of the ANS Executive Council (EC), the Allied Conference Coordinator participates in the legislative decision-making of the Society. Although the term of service for this position is for two years, the holder of this office may be re-elected pending approval by the EC. Given the fact that this position requires close communication with the MLA, candidates who have a demonstrated expertise in literary onomastics will receive preference.