Call for Papers: ANS 2021, San Francisco, CA, January 7-10, 2021

The American Name Society (ANS) is now inviting proposals for papers for its next annual conference. The 2021 conference will be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America. Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is June 30, 2020. To submit a proposal, simply complete the 2021 Author Information Form.

Please email this completed form to ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton using the following address: <laurelasutton@gmail.com>. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2021” in the subject line of your email.  Presenters who may need additional time to secure international funding and/or travel visas to the United States are urged to submit their proposal as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT: Because of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether the conference will proceed as planned. If the LSA decides against an in-person meeting, we will consider online alternatives so that scholars may still present their important research. We will provide updates on the conference status at the ANS website and through email.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before August 30, 2020. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS and need to register with both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton should you have any questions or concerns.

A downloadable PDF of the Call for Papers can be found here.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Czech Prime Minister didn’t know the country’s name was changed

The Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš in the interview with The Wall Street Journal said he didn’t know that his country had officially changed the name of his country to Czechia. He didn’t like it at all and called it “a stupid idea” because of possible confusions between Czechia and Chechnya.

President Zeman prefers Czechia, a centuries-old name that he said sounds nicer, and more evocative. But Mr. Babiš, the prime minister is strongly against and that is why he stationery retains the name Czech Republic. Mr. Babiš heads the government and constitutionally holds more power than President Zeman. “The prime minister has a different opinion than the president. This is freedom and democracy. That is all,” said the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček.

U.S. Ambassador Stephen King recently said that the Americans rarely use the short name and he personally couldn’t remember the last time he had used it in his remarks. He added that in all official communications they use Czech Republic as most Czechs.

REVISED Call for Papers for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, Toronto, Canada, January 7-10, 2021

ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference

January 7-10 2021, Toronto, Canada

Please note the revised deadline: MARCH 31, 2020

The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Toponyms and Literaryscapes”. Although toponyms are often taken for granted in our daily lives, they bear considerable potential for acquiring personal and social meanings depending on their contexts and co-texts of use. These multi-layered meanings are often utilized by authors as a literary resource to evoke associations or invoke evaluative positioning. Papers accepted for this panel will explore how the meaning potential of place-names—be they real or fictional—is effectively harnessed to shape literary settings within specific works or by specific authors. Examples of themes that can be addressed include toponyms choice/invention and their connotations; toponyms in translation; toponyms in literary theory; and toponyms and intertextuality.

For more information about the MLA, check out the official website.

Proposal submission process:

  1. Abstracts proposals (350 words) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr. Luisa Caiazzo (luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it>
  2. Proposals should include “MLA 2021 proposal” in the subject line of the email;
    All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract
  3. REVISED DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 8pm GMT on 31 March 2020. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 3 April 2020
  4. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers
  5. For further information, please contact Dr. Luisa Caiazzo <luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it>.

A downloadable version of the Call for Papers can be found here.

More information about ANS and MLA conferences is available on the Conferences page of this website.

 

How the name “Karen” became an insult — and a meme

This article at Vox examines the use of names like “Karen” to identify a class of people in American society. Increasingly, “Karen” in particular has emerged as the frontrunner for the average “basic white person name” — a pejorative catchall label for a wide range of behaviors thought to have connections to white privilege.

Former ANS President Dr. Iman Nick, as well as long-time member and Name of the Year Coordinator Cleve Evans, are quoted in this article, providing a scholarly and historical view of this phenomenon. Here’s a sample:

This trend might have also gotten a boost from social media, according to Dr. I.M. Nick,a nomenclature scholar and former president of the American Name Society. “The general tendency which social media users have been shown to manifest is a high frequency of shortenings and abbreviations,” she said in an email, though she hesitated to speculate on how this tendency might apply to specific names.

Click through to read more!

Call for Papers for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, Toronto, Canada, January 7-10, 2021

ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference

January 7-10 2021, Toronto, Canada

The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Toponyms and Literaryscapes”. Although toponyms are often taken for granted in our daily lives, they bear considerable potential for acquiring personal and social meanings depending on their contexts and co-texts of use. These multi-layered meanings are often utilized by authors as a literary resource to evoke associations or invoke evaluative positioning. Papers accepted for this panel will explore how the meaning potential of place-names—be they real or fictional—is effectively harnessed to shape literary settings within specific works or by specific authors. Examples of themes that can be addressed include toponyms choice/invention and their connotations; toponyms in translation; toponyms in literary theory; and toponyms and intertextuality.

For more information about the MLA, check out the official website.

Proposal submission process:

  1. Abstracts proposals (350 words) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr. Luisa Caiazzo (luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it>
  2. Proposals should include “MLA 2021 proposal” in the subject line of the email;
    All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract
  3. DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 8pm GMT on 31 March 2020. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 8 May 2020
  4. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers
  5. For further information, please contact Dr. Luisa Caiazzo <luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it>.

A downloadable version of the Call for Papers can be found here.

More information about ANS and MLA conferences is available on the Conferences page of this website.

 

Book Announcement: Personal Names, Hitler, and the Holocaust by Dr. I.M. Nick

ANS Editor-in-Chief and former President Iman Nick has just published a new book, Personal Names, Hitler, and the Holocaust: A Socio-Onomastic Study of Genocide and Nazi Germany (from 2019 Lexington Books: An Imprint of the Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.). The book is available now in hardcover and Kindle editions.

Synopsis:

This book provides readers with an increased understanding of and sensitivity to the many powerful ways in which personal names are used by both perpetrators and victims during wartime. Whether to declare allegiance or seek refuge, names are routinely used to survive under life-threatening conditions. To illustrate this point, this book concentrates on one of the most terrifying and yet fascinating periods of modern history: the Holocaust. More specifically, this book will examine the different ways in which personal names were used by Nationalist Socialists and targeted victims of their genocidal ideology. Although there are many excellent scientific and popular works which have dealt with the Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, to my knowledge, there are none which have examined the importance of naming during this period. This oversight is significant when one considers the incredible importance of personal names during this time. For example, many people are aware of the fact that Jewish residents were forced to wear a yellow star (the Star of David) on their outermost apparel to distinguish them from the Aryan population. It is also generally known, albeit much less so, that as of 1938, all Jewish citizens living within Nazi German or one of its occupied territories were also required to have either the word “Jewish” or the letter “J” stamped in their passports.

However, comparatively few people realize is that before those regulations were implemented, Nazi leaders had decreed that all Jewish women and men must add the names ‘Sara’ and ‘Israel’ respectively to their given names. Once the deportations began, the perfidious logic behind this naming (onomastic) legislation became clear: it made it that much easier to pinpoint Jewish residents on official governmental listings (e.g. housing registries, voting rosters, pay rolls, labor union registers, bank accounts, school, university, military, and hospital records, etc.). Once the Jewish residents were identified, new lists of names were drawn up for people designated for relocation to a deportation center; relocation to labour camp; or transportation to an extermination center.

By using first-hand accounts of Holocaust survivors, the direct descendants of Nazi war criminals, and chilling cases extracted from international and national archival records, this book presents a harrowing depiction of the way personal names were used during the Third Reich to systematically murder millions to achieve Hitler’s dream of a society devoid of cultural diversity. Importantly, the practice of using personal names and naming to identify victims is not an historical anomaly of World War II but is a widespread sociolinguistic practice which has been followed in modern acts of genocide as well. From Rwanda to Bosnia, Berlin to Washington, when normal governmental controls are abridged and ethical boundaries designed to protect the human rights and liberties are violated, very quickly something as simple as a person’s name can be used to determine who lives and who dies.

International Society for Humor Studies – Free Publications

Don and Alleen Nilsen, co-founders of the International Society for Humor Studies and long time ANS members, are offering two of their publications entirely free:

Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Humor by Alleen and Don Nilsen (Oryx Press, 2000)

Literature for Today’s Young Adults, Eighth Edition by Alleen Nilsen and Kenneth Donelson (Pearson Publishing, 2009)

If you’re interested in receiving a free copy of either or both of the following books, please let them know which book(s) you want to receive, and include your mailing address. Email them at <Don.nilsen@asu.edu> or <alleen.nilsen@asu.edu>

You also may want to check out the web site for the International Society for Humor Studies.

“Arrokoth” Chosen 2019 Name of the Year, “Brexit” Name of the Decade

Composite image of primordial contact binary Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 from New Horizons Spacecraft Data

Arrokoth” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2019 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in New Orleans on January 3, 2020.

The winner was also chosen ANS’s Place Name of the Year. In November NASA announced this as the name of “minor planet 486958.” Before the New Horizons probe flew over it on January 1, 2019, NASA received about 34,000 name suggestions. Their initial selection, Ultima Thule, was abandoned when it turned out that Ultima Thule was used by Nazi occultists as the mythical home of the “Aryan race.” Arrokoth means “sky” in Powhatan an extinct Algonquian language formerly spoken in eastern Virginia.

“Greta Thunberg” was chosen as Personal Name of the Year. Swedish climate activist Thunberg, who turned 17 on January 3, is a leader of the global youth addressing climate change. Chosen by Time magazine as its Person of the Year for 2019, her name itself has become a byword for youth activism. The influence of youth climate activism on politicians is now called “The Greta Effect”, and a documentary film about the movement is titled “Make the World Greta Again.”

#Fridaysforfuture won the title of Ename of the Year. This became the name of Greta Thunberg’s movement, referring to her original protests on Fridays in Sweden. In a relatively short period of time, this e-moniker has spawned many other e-names. It has also become the name for a global movement and has spawned names for analogous protest groups (#Fridaysforfuture→ Fridaysforfuture→Scientists for Future, Parents for Future, All for Future).

TikTok was voted Trade Name of the Year. The TikTok app for making and sharing short videos was launched internationally in September 2017 and now has more than 500 million users. It’s the first Chinese-made app to succeed on a mass scale outside China. The TikTok name, used only outside China, is based on tick-tock, onomatopoeia for clocks and a term for countdowns and minute-by-minute action.

“Baby Yoda” was chosen Artistic Name of the Year. In the Star Wars series “The Mandalorian,” which premiered on the Disney+ channel in November, the recurring character with the saucer eyes and batlike ears is known simply as The Child. However, critics and viewers quickly dubbed him “Baby Yoda.” The character is almost always referred to that way on social media. This is a highly unusual case where the name of a fictional character has been created by fans instead of those writing or producing the program.

“Antivax(x)er” was chosen as Miscellaneous Name of the Year. According to the World Health Organization, one of the ten largest threats to global health is the increasing reticence of adults to receive or allow those in their charge to be given a medical vaccination. People who are opposed to vaccination legislation have been given the name antivaxer or antivaxxer. Although Merriam Webster asserts that the name first was attested in English in 2009, the name reached particular prominence in 2019, when health organizations around the world began to ring the alarm about the deadly re-emergence of many contagious diseases. The highest rate of Google searches ever reached for the name of this resistance movement was in April/March of 2019.

Voters at the meeting spontaneously decided to designate a “Name of the Decade” for 2010-2019. “Brexit” won that title. This name for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European union, created by blending “Britain” with “exit”, was created before the June 2016 referendum on the issue. The term has remained in the news and has continued to spawn similar names. For example, “Grexit” refers to the proposal that Greece leave the European Union. In the United States, those who advocate that Texas and California become independent call their ideas “Texit” and “Calexit”, and the hashtags #Orexit, #Washexit, and #Nevexit are used by those who wish Oregon, Washington, and Nevada to join with California in a new nation. An internet list of terms dealing with Brexit is called “Brexicon”.

The Name of the Year vote has been held since 2004. “Jamal Khashoggi” was the 2018 Name of the Year. “Rohingya” was the 2017 Name of the Year. “Aleppo“won for 2016 , “Caitlyn Jenner” for 2015, “Ferguson” 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 , 402-557-7524, or 402-210-7458.

A PDF version of this press release can be found here.

In Memoriam: Don Orth (1925-2019)

Long-time ANS member and past president of the American Name Society Donald J. Orth died peacefully at his home in Falls Church, Virginia on October 30, 2019 at the age of 94. Donald presented papers at numerous ANS meetings over the years. He served as the executive Secretary of the U. S. Board on Geographic Names, and among his many publications on toponymy was the highly regarded Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Don was a significant contributor to the work of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographic Names.

A native of Wisconsin, Don joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He studied anthropology, cartography, and geography at the University of Wisconsin, knowledge essential for his 39-year career with the U. S. Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado. There he was involved with topographic surveying programs in the Western United States. He was also behind the creation of the automated Geographic Names Information System, the first of its kind in the world. Orth received the U.S. Department of Interior’s Medal and Meritorious Service Award for substantial contributions to cartography through his work in toponymy.

Don taught courses in Geography at George Washington University and Catholic University in Washington D.C. He was a member of the International Congress of Onomastic Sciences. Don engaged in many active hobbies, including mountain-climbing and historic preservation. Don is survived by his wife, Martha B. Orth, five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 17 great-great grandchildren.