Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 29th column, he discusses the 2022 Name of the Year competition at the annual meeting of the American Name Society.
In 2022 Russia taught us to honor Ukraine and its names.
At its Jan. 22 annual meeting (held online for the third year in a row), the American Name Society voted Ukraine as 2022’s Name of the Year. Though Americans used to call this country “the Ukraine,” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and Ukrainians’ heroic resistance cemented the use of “Ukraine,” which Ukrainians themselves prefer, as the way Americans refer to the country.
ANS chooses Names of the Year for place names, personal Names, artistic-literary names, trade names, Enames and miscellaneous names before picking the overall Name of the Year.
Kyiv won as Place Name of the Year. The capitol city of Ukraine used to be called “Kiev” in English, a version still used in terms like “Chicken Kiev.” In 2022 American media almost all switched to “Kyiv”, which more accurately represents the Ukrainian language name of the city. Kyiv’s main competitors in the category were Mariupol, another Ukrainian city largely destroyed by Russian forces before they occupied it last May; and Uvalde, name of the Texas town which became a symbol of gun violence after the mass shooting at an elementary school last May 24 killed 19 children and two teachers.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was declared Personal Name of the Year. When he was elected President of Ukraine in 2019, many American publications called him “Vladimir Zelensky,” the Russian form of his name. Here also we’ve learned to use the correct Ukrainian form. Other nominees in the category were Ketanji Brown Jackson, who became the newest justice on the Supreme Court June 30; and King Charles III. When he succeeded to the British throne upon Queen Elizabeth’s death, some were surprised he designated himself “King Charles”, despite his lifetime as Prince Charles, thinking it “unlucky” since King Charles I (1600-1649) was beheaded during the English Civil War.
“Encanto” triumphed as Artistic-Literary Name of the Year. The title of this Disney animated film, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature last March, means “charm, charming, enchantment” in Spanish. It was a fitting name for a magical village in Colombia, setting of this Disney film which, unusually, was not based on another source. The name helped the film set box office records throughout Latin America.