Onomastics Outside Academia Panel at ANS 2017 in Austin

ANS 2017 saw the first ever “Onomastics Outside Academia” Panel, in which professional onomasticians talked about their work and their career paths outside of the university.

The panel included the following presentations:

  • Pamela Redmond Satran (Nameberry.com): Nameberry: Revolutionizing how and what parents name their babies
  • Kemp Williams (IBM Corporation): Computational onomastics in threat and fraud detection
  • Lisa Spira (Ethnic Technologies):  Onomastic data skills
  • Laurel Sutton (Catchword Branding): Creating brand names for fun and profit
  • Jennifer Moss (BabyNames.com): How the internet changed baby names (careers)
  • Deborah Walker (Linguistic Consultant): Product naming reviews: Evaluating names for global readiness

Congratulations on a great panel, and many thanks to all of our speakers!

Pamela Redmond Satran

Lisa Spira


Jennifer Moss

“Aleppo” Chosen 2016 Name of the Year

“Aleppo” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2016 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in Austin, Texas on January 6, 2017.

The name of the largest city in Syria, which has endured over four years of conflict in the country’s civil war, has became a symbol for the horrors of modern warfare. It also figured in the presidential election when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson asked an MSNBC interviewer “What is Aleppo?” in response to a question in September, showing he was not paying attention to international news.

Aleppo was also voted Place Name of the Year for 2016.

Aleppo won the vote in a close contest with Drumpf, which was chosen ANS’s Personal Name of the Year. The original German form of President-elect Donald Trump’s family name became well known when John Oliver, host of HBO’s satirical news show “Last Week Tonight,” urged viewers to refer to the candidate as “Drumpf”.  HBO created DonaldDrumpf.com, which still sells “Drumpf” merchandise. The continued use of “Drumpf” shows the power of naming and name-calling.

Hamilton was chosen as Fictional Name of the Year. The title of this hugely popular Broadway musical was in the news in 2016 both because of winning 11 Tony awards, and because of a statement by cast members to Vice-President-elect Pence when he attended a November 18 performance, stating among other things “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”  Donald Trump later demanded an apology for that in a Tweet.

Brexit and Uber tied for ANS’s Trade Name of the Year.  Uber, the worldwide online transportation network company, was cited because of its influence on the language, now having become a verb. Brexit, the blend of “Britain” and “exit” which is the now universal title of the June referendum where United Kingdom voters decided to leave the European Union, was mentioned in the Presidential election when Trump called himself “Mr. Brexit.” The name Brexit was created on the analogy of the earlier Grexit, coined when Greece was deciding whether or not to leave the European Union in 2015.

The American Name Society is a scholarly organization founded in 1951 devoted to studying all aspects of names and naming. The Name of the Year vote has been held since 2004. “Caitlyn Jenner” was the 2015 Name of the Year. “Ferguson” won for 2014, “Francis” for 2013, and “Sandy” for 2012.

For further information contact Dr. Cleveland Evans, chair of the Name of the Year committee, at cevans@bellevue.edu or 402-210-7458.

Last chance to submit nominations for 2016 Name of the Year!

The Name of the Year selection for 2016 will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 6th, at 12pm (CST) at the annual ANS meeting in Austin, Texas.

Please send any last minute nominations to the American Name Society today!


Email any last minute nominations to info@AmericanNameSociety.org.

Tweet any last minute nominations to @AmNameSociety.



The names selected will be ones that best illustrates, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States and Canada.

Nominations are called for in the four following categories:

Personal Names: Names or nicknames of individual real people, animals, or hurricanes.

Place Names: Names or nicknames of any real geographical location, including all natural features, political subdivisions, streets, and buildings. Names of national or ethnic groups would be included here.

Trade Names: Names of real commercial products, as well as names of both for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations, including businesses, universities, and political parties.

Fictional/Literary Names: Names of fictional persons, places, or institutions, in any written, oral, or visual medium, as well as titles of art works, books, plays, television programs, or movies.

Winners will be chosen in each category, and then a final vote will determine the overall Name of the Year for 2016. Anyone may nominate a name. All members of the American Name Society attending the annual meeting will select the winner from among the nominees at the annual ANS meeting in Austin, Texas on January 6, 2017. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.

Linguistics Career Mixer at the LSA/ANS Conference in Austin, January 7th 2017

The Linguistics Outside Academia Special Interest Group of the Linguistics Society of America presents:

Linguistics Career Mixer
Saturday, 7 January, Meeting Room 306, 3:30 – 5:00 PM
Organizers: Laurel Sutton (Catchword Branding), Anastasia Nylund (Georgetown University)


What: The Linguistics Career Mixer is an annual event that brings linguists who have found professional expression of their skills and training in a variety of fields — from research and consulting to writing and education — together with people who are currently trying to learn about their next steps professionally. The idea is to create a context for having exploratory conversations about career paths. Linguists who have found employment in a range of contexts will be on hand to talk about their work as researchers, consultants, writers, editors, trainers, managers, and language and communication specialists in government, education, business and non-profit sectors
(among others). Representatives from 20+ organizations will be in attendance, including the FrameWorks Institute, Georgetown University, the Center for Applied Linguistics, and Catchword Branding just to name a few.

How: The event is designed to be informal, conversational and as a context for learning.

Why: Because the world of work needs our skills and training, but this requires learning ways of talking about skills and training in linguistics that will make sense to those who we would wish to hire us. Networking is key to learning about some of the paths available, to getting feedback on our professional self-presentation, and to meeting the people who can continue to help guide and support us along the way.

Anyone who is interested in being radically curious about career is most welcome to participate including students at all stages of their educational and professional development, professors, grads and any and all careerminded linguists.

How: Participants will draw a handful of questions from a bowl at the door to start them off on the right conversational foot with a few structured ways of talking about work with “career linguists” (those who have found careers outside of academia). Those wearing a
“Career Linguist” name tag indicate that they have come ready to be asked questions and to share their experiences.

The focus is on exploration and networking. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards and questions for specific participants, and to keep in mind that the Mixer is not designed to be a job fair, but instead an opportunity for conversation. The organizers will also collect suggestions from attendees on what type of events and resources they would like to see from the SIG in the coming year.

2017 Emerging Scholar Award Winner

Daniel Duncan (New York University)
Understanding St. Louis’ love for Hoosier.

The 2016 Emerging Scholar Ward Committee is pleased to announce this year’s winner: Daniel Duncan from New York University. The title of Mr. Duncan’s submission is “Understanding St. Louis’ love for Hoosier.”


Danial Duncan is a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics at New York University. His work primarily focuses on language variation and change within suburbs in the United States, using the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area as a case study.


The name Hoosier (‘Indiana resident’) instead means ‘poor, rural, white trash’ in St. Louis (STL), Missouri (Murray 1987). This paper engages in discourse analysis of several texts to explore why its use persists despite less-localized alternatives (redneck, etc.) and why it would become enregistered (Agha 2003) as a feature of the local dialect. Findings show Hoosier is used to police behavior. Unlike similar slurs, its use requires knowledge of STL’s social geography. Hoosier allows speakers to demonstrate localness while positioning themselves and STL as cosmopolitan compared to the derided target. As such, the slur asserts positive values for St. Louisans.

Attendees of the upcoming ANS annual conference in January will have a chance to hear him present his research in person.

As the ESA award-winner, Mr. Duncan will receive a cash award as well as a mentor who will assist him in preparing his research manuscript for possible publication in a future issue of NAMES. Click here for more information about the award.

This year’s ESA Committee was made up of Dr. Jan Tent (committee chair), Dr. Mirko Casagranda, and Dr. Luisa Caiazzo.

Deadline Extension: Emerging Scholar Award Submissions are now due November 23, 2016

The ANS has extended the deadline for the Emerging Scholar Award to November 23, 2016.

Presenters for the 2017 ANS Conference who are eligible for and interested in applying for the ANS Emerging Scholar Award (ESA) should have received all pertinent information.

The information is also available here: ESA Application Invitation

Please send submissions to both ANS President Dr.

Read More

Reminder: Deadline for Emerging Scholar Award Submissions is November 14, 2016

Remember to submit your application for the ANS Emerging Scholar Award.

Presenters for the 2017 ANS Conference who are eligible for and interested in applying for the ANS Emerging Scholar Award (ESA) should have received all pertinent information.

The information is also available here: ESA Application Invitation

Emerging Scholar Award Submissions are due Monday, November 14, 2016.… Read More