Translating the Untranslatable: Proper Names in the Septuagint and in Jerome’s Vulgate

The lectureTranslating the Untranslatable: Proper Names in the Septuagint and in Jerome’s Vulgate” may be attended at Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri) on February 18, 2020. It will be given by Christophe Rico (Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities).

With translation of proper names, we reach the limits of what is translatable. What is the meaning of a proper name? Does it have a meaning? Taking some concrete examples (Adam, Havah, Babel, Moriah, Beer Shevah, Shear Yashuv, Baal Hamon), we will compare St Jerome technique to the Septuagint technique in order to show the extraordinary skills that the author of the Vulgate was able to display in his translation.

Documentary Film on Changing Slave Names to Screen at ANS 2020 in New Orleans

A documentary film by first-time film maker and director Nware Rahsaan Burge will be screened at the 2020 ANS Conference. The event will be held on Friday evening, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Steering Room of the Hilton Riverside Hotel, New Orleans. Titled “DNA—Using Genealogy to Change my SLAVE Last Name,” the film poses the question, “Should Black people change their White last name?”

The film features Dr. Gina Paige of African-Ancestry.Com as well as New York State Senator Kevin Parker and other university scholars who provide their responses to what Burge terms “this complex and sensitive” question. Nware’s film proposes that people of African descent in the Americas should contemplate using DNA genealogy test results to change their European surname to one of African ethnic origin.

With his film, Burge hopes to facilitate a global discussion on this subject. He states, “Regardless of personal opinion, the legacy of chattel slavery, specifically plantation ownership, will forever live when the current surnames of African-Americans are passed from generation to generation without much grievance.”

As a result of the transatlantic slave trade, thousands of Africans were stripped of their names and their identities. Burge notes, “Many of the surnames that were given or forced, if not all, were of European ancestry. So instead of African-Americans having surnames such as Diallo, Agbaje, or Nkrumah, African-Americans carry surnames such as Smith, Johnson, or O’Connor.” Burge recommends that African-Americans use DNA genealogy test results to change their European surnames to those of African ethnic origin. In fact, Burge plans to use DNA genealogy test results to decide on a new surname for himself. “

“DNA—Using Genealogy to Change my SLAVE Last Name” has already garnered critical acclaim. It received the Yaa Asantewaa award for Best Documentary at the Black Star International Film Festival in Accra, Ghana and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Newark International Film Festival in Newark, New Jersey. He has been interviewed by the BBC-radio in London to discuss his work. This past April, Nware was invited to screen his film at the Festival International Du Film Pan-African in Cannes, France.

In addition to being a documentary filmmaker, Burge is an Adjunct Professor at Kean University in Union, New Jersey and a history and special education high school teacher in Newark, New Jersey. He also co-owns Good Vibes Clean, an all-purpose organic cleaner and is a clothing model. Nware earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts/Political Science from Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York and an M.S. in Education from Brooklyn College, in Brooklyn, New York. Nware has worked and taught in urban public schools for more than 15 years. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, Nware currently resides in Newark.

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Names of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the Names of the Year for 2019. The names selected will be ones that best illustrate, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States. It is not necessary, however, for a nominated name to have originated in the US. Any name can be nominated as long as it has been prominent in North American cultural discourse during the past year. For example, the Overall Names of the Year for 2017 and 2016 were Rohingya and Aleppo. Jamal Khashoggi was chosen the Name of the Year for 2018. Charlie Hebdo, the title of the French satirical magazine, won Trade Name of the Year in 2015.

Nominations are called for in the five following categories:

  • Personal Names: Names or nicknames of individual real people or individual animals.
  • 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 based on place name could be included here.
  • Trade Names: Names of real commercial products, as well as names of both for-profit and non-profit incorporated companies and organizations, including businesses and universities.
  • Artistic & 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. Such names are deliberately given by the creator of the work.
  • E-Names:  Names of persons, figures, places, products, businesses, institutions, operations, organizations, platforms, and movements that exist in the virtual world.
  • Miscellaneous Names:  Any name which does not fit in the above five categories, such as names created by linguistic errors, names of particular inanimate objects, names of unorganized political movements, names of languages, etc. In most cases, such items would be capitalized in everyday English orthography.

Winners will be chosen in each category, and then a final vote will determine the overall Name of the Year for 2019. 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 New Orleans, Louisiana on January 3, 2020. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.

Advance nominations must be received before January 1, 2020. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, by e-mail to either Dr. Cleveland K. Evans: <> or Deborah Walker:<>

The Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

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 ( and this year’s ESA Chair, Dr. Jan Tent ( 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.


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.

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

Call for Papers: SLA 2020, Future Imperfect: Language in Times of Crisis and Hope, Boulder, Colorado, April 2-5 2020,

The Society for Linguistic Anthropology, in partnership with graduate students in the Program in Culture, Language, and Social Practice (CLASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, is pleased to announce the SLA 2020 Conference, to be held April 2-5, 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. The theme is “Future Imperfect: Language in Times of Crisis and Hope”. Please see the conference website for more information on the theme.

It will take place at the Hilton on Canyon in Boulder, Colorado, on April 2-5, 2020. The SLA Conference Steering Committee welcomes all submissions advancing the study of language and society, but we are especially interested in work that engages the 2020 conference theme.

The SLA will prioritize submissions for organized panels, individual presentations, roundtables, posters, and installations that engage productively with our conference theme and involve creative and diverse participation across methods, disciplines, institutions, and professional levels. We especially welcome panels that involve graduate students, activists, and/or public figures in addition to faculty. We also encourage conference participants to consider presenting new or in-progress research in order to take full advantage of SLA’s interdisciplinary community of scholars. To that end, we encourage participants who have an innovative proposal that does not readily fit into the conference format to contact the conference organizers at for independent consideration.

The submission portal will open on Tuesday, October 8.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2019.

ANS2020 Conference – Banquet Information

The American Name Society will hold its annual banquet during the conference in New Orleans at the Grand Isle Restaurant, 575 Convention Ctr. Blvd, New Orleans, LA, 70130. The banquet will be held Saturday evening, January 4, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. We will have a private room.


The Grand Isle has made a number of “best of” and “top ten” lists in the city for its fine New Orleans cuisine. The restaurant is two blocks from the conference hotel. If someone is not able to make the short walk, there are transoms that travel from the hotel to the restaurant for a reasonable fee.

The Barataria Pass Menu includes a choice of starters (seafood gumbo or house
salad), a choice of entrees (baked fish, roasted chicken, or vegetarian option), and lemon ice box pie for dessert; coffee is included.

Rather than prepaying, this year we ask that members pay onsite at the restaurant, either by cash or check. Each of the individual meals will be $50, which covers dinner, sales tax, and a 20% tip. Drink tabs for additional beverages will be separate for guests and paid separately.

We hope to see you at the banquet!

Call for Papers: CSSN: Joint Session, Canadian Society for the Study of Names and the Canadian Association of Hispanists (CAH), Ontario, Canada, May 30-31 2020

The Canadian Society for the Study of Names (CSSN) / Société canadienne d’onomastique (SCO) and the Canadian Association of Hispanists (CAH) will hold their annual meetings as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Canada, May 30-31, 2020, at Western University in London, Ontario.

They welcome abstract proposals on any onomastic theme in the Spanish-speaking world, including but not limited to:

  • Personal names (e.g. family names, nicknames, naming trends and systems, etc.)
  • Place names (e.g. streets, settlements, rural names, rivers, etc.)
  • Names in literature
  • Names in society (e.g. identity, power, perceptions, attitudes, forms of address, etc.)
  • Names and linguistic landscape (e.g. public road signs, advertising billboard signs, street signs, commercial shop signs, etc.)

Please see the official call for papers for more details.

DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by January 25, 2020.