ANS Member Research: “To Translate or not to Translate: The Case of Arabic and Foreign Shop Names” by Reima Al-Jarf

Recently presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society, Reima Al-Jarf’s work explores Arabic and foreign shop names in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You can watch the presentation here:

Watch this video on YouTube here:



The translatability of shop names constitutes a problem for translation students. To find out the status of shop name translation in Saudi Arabia, a corpus of 500 shop names (clothing, accessories, beauty products, restaurants, cafes… etc.) was collected and analyzed to find out which shop names are translated, which are not, and which should be translated. Results showed that 24% of the shops have pure Arabic names, 25% have international brand names such as Starbucks, Burger King, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Monsoon, Zara, Sony which are not translated, i.e., used as they are. 39% have English names created by the shop owners such as أو ﺑ ﺮﯾ ﺸﻦ ﻓ ﻼﻓ ﻞ , ﺑﺮ اﻧﺪ ﺳﻨﺘﺮ , ﺑﯿﺒ ﻲ ﺷ ﻮ ب which were not translated. Some foreign shop names were transliterated using Arabic letters although such names have Arabic equivalents as in دﻛ ﺘ ﻮرﻧﯿ ﻮﺗ ﺮﯾ ﺸﻦ , ﻧﺎﺗ ﺸ ﺮ ا ل ﺗﺎﺗ ﺶ , ﻧﺴﻜﺎﻓﯿﮫ دوﻟ ﺲ ﻗ ﻮﺳﺘ ﻮ , أد ﻓﻨﺘ ﻮرا , ﺟﺎ رﻟﯿ ﺸﻮز ﻻو ﻧ ﺞ , أﻣ ﯿ ﺮﯾ ﻜﺎ ن إﯾ ﺠﻞ أ وﺗﻔﺘ ﺮز , ﻛﯿ ﺴﺮ ي ﻛﺎﻓﯿ ﮫ , إﺳ ﺒ ﺮﯾ ﺖ , أﻛﺴﺴﻮرﯾ ﺰ , ﺑﺎﯾ ﻠﯿ ﺲ , ﺑﺎر ﺑ ﻜﯿ ﻮﺗ ﻮﻧﺎﯾ ﺖ . Names in this category should be translated as they were difficult for the subjects to decode. However, subjects could decode ﻣﺎ ﻛﺪوﻧﺎﻟ ﺪ ر، ﺑﯿ ﺮﻏﺮ ﻛﯿﻨ ﺞ، ھﺎ ردﯾ ﺰ، ﻛﻮﺳﺘﺎ، ﺳﺎ رﺑ ﻜ ﺲ . . Shop workers believe that use of foreign names without translation is more prestigious, attracts shoppers’ attention more than Arabic names, and more customers can be reached. They also gave globalization factors that affect the preference for foreign words to Arabic equivalents and poor knowledge of Arabic equivalents, especially for new coinages. Guidelines for translating foreign and native shop names will be given based on the views of a sample of translation students and instructors.


Prof. Reima Al-Jarf is professor of English and translation studies. She has 700 publications and conference presentations in 70 countries. She reviews Ph.D. theses, promotion works, conference and grant proposals, and articles for numerous peer-reviewed international journals including Web of Science and Scopus journals. She presented at ANS and CNS twice.


Find our YouTube channel here:

Watch the rest of the 2024 Annual Meeting videos here:

Join the American Name Society:

ANS Member Research: “The Concept of ‘UL’ (son, child) in Kazakh Anthroponomy” by Zhazira Agabekova

Recently presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society, Zhazira Agabekova’s work explores the concept of “UL” (son, child), in Kazakh anthropology. You can watch the presentation here:

Watch this video on YouTube here:



In the Kazakh language, there are many names with the root “ul” (meaning “son”, “child”), such as Ulbosyn (let it be a son), Ulzhalgas (next will be a son), Ultusyn (wishing to give birth to a son). These names are given if a family had only daughters, and with the intention that after several girls born in a family, the next child will be a boy (names that indicated the family’s expectation of having boys). This is because historically, the boy was treated as the main breadwinner of the family and the protector of the people, the continuation of the generation, and the birth of a son in the family was important. This shows that the concept of patriarchy still prevails in Kazakh culture. Beyond that lies gender inequality. Although the number of names in the “ul” (son) context has decreased somewhat, the process has not stopped. This article hypothesizes that the use of names in the context of “ul” indicates that the role of men in the Kazakh society is higher than that of women. In order to prove it, linguistic lexemes and proverbs in the culture of the people are considered as the main linguistic facts. The number of these names changes in the different regions of Kazakhstan. These differences (frequency) are based not only on the population density, but also depends on the fact of observing Kazakhs traditions. The findings of this research will help better understand the concept of “ul”, and the analysis shows the importance of studying Kazakh names with root “ul”, which refers to existing gender inequality and gender norms in Kazakh society.


Zhazira Agabekova is Assistant Professor of Nazarbayev University, Candidate of Philological Sciences. Her scientific area is Turkic Studies, Linguistics, Onomastics, Gender studies. Currently, Zhazira is focused on gender issues in onomastics. She is a member of the Onomastic Commission under the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


Find our YouTube channel here:

Watch the rest of the 2024 Annual Meeting videos here:

Join the American Name Society:

ANS Member Research: “Ludic Representation of Toponyms in Riddles” by Olga Chesnokova

Recently presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society, Olga Chesnokova’s work explores ludic representations of toponyms in riddles. You can watch the presentation here:

Watch this video on YouTube here:



Each culture possesses riddles about toponyms. The hypothesis of this study is that riddles about cities and their names create a ludic image of toponyms, and each riddle text acts as a topographical image and a sign of collective memory, actively developing nowadays on the internet. The investigation of Spanish, Argentinian and Russian riddles about cities proves that they form a system of internal architectonics and create a ludic image in the range from the direct question “What city”: What city is located on 101 islands? (Saint-Petersburg), to diverse metaphors and personifications: En el mapa de Argentina ¿cuál es la provincia que nunca camina?’ (Salta), and complex sound symbols riddles with a fictional plot: El rey Alí /Fue con su can/A tomar té/¿a qué ciudad? (Alicante). Riddles about cities typically praise the cities; no critical or derogatory features of the ludic descriptions were found. The city image in riddles is always positive and combines real topographical features, elements of touristic discourse, cultural associations; all together creating a system of topographic images on the principles of direct questions, polysemy, homonymy, folk etymology, sound symbolism, and allusions to well-known proverbs. Descriptive riddles are typical for all studied cultures; however, a greater diversity was found for the Spanish and Argentinian cultures. Riddles based on sound symbolism are also more characteristic of the Hispanic tradition, which is obviously due to the letter-sound structure of the Spanish place names.


Olga Chesnokova (Doctor in Romance Philology) is Full-time Spanish Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages at RUDN University and author of more than 200 publications on Hispanic Onomastics, Literary Text translation, and particularities of Spanish in Latin America.


Find our YouTube channel here:

Watch the rest of the 2024 Annual Meeting videos here:

Join the American Name Society:

ANS Member Research: “American and Russian Nicknames of Persons” by Anna Tsepkova

Recently presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society, Anna Tsepkova’s work explores American and Russian Nicknames. You can watch the presentation here:

Watch this video on YouTube here:



Nicknames of persons coined by means of mixing linguistic and extralinguistic motives form a unique group of unconventional anthroponyms performing identifying and characterizing functions by means of combining a person’s official name with lexemes referring to qualities, attributes, situations associated with nickname-bearers. These nicknames are formed by means of:

  • substituting a name by an appellative sounding similar (false etymology): Madison from Maddie + “always mad at something” (US); Парадокс / Paradox from Paradovsky + an irregular person (Rus);
  • substituting a last name by an appellative reviving its etymology: Blood from Trueblood + “a cool head under stressful situations” (US); Goose from Goosev + appearance (Rus);
  • blending a name with an appellative: Encyclo’pete’ia from Pete + “no matter what you talked about he thought he was an expert on it…” (US); Olgushonok from Olga + lyagushka [frog]: cold limbs (Rus);
  • inevitable associations with a famous name / person: Marco Polo from Mark + “always looking for an adventure” (US);
  • meaningful abbreviations of first, middle/patronymic, last names: M&M: “because I love M&Ms and m is the first letter in my first and last name” (US); ОМ from initials of the teacher of physics / reference to Ohm (Rus).

If small in number (46 nicknames / 5.5% in the American sample; 54 / 1.5% in the Russian sample), this group is the most diverse in terms of coinage patterns, demonstrating the phenomenon of linguistic creativity, aimed at catching and carrying multifaceted audio-visual and emotional experiences of human interaction.


Anna Tsepkova is an Associate Professor in the English Language Department at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University (Siberian region of Russia) and has a PhD in Philology. She is a Fulbright Alumna, a member of ICOS and the ANS. She is currently working on “A Cross-Cultural Dictionary of American and Russian Nicknames”


Find our YouTube channel here:

Watch the rest of the 2024 Annual Meeting videos here:

Join the American Name Society:

Call for Papers: The 2025 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society


Call for Papers

The 2025 Annual Meeting of the

American Name Society

ONLINE (via Zoom)

22 February 2025

The American Name Society is now inviting proposals for papers for its next annual conference. The one-day event will be held virtually via Zoom, allowing for the attendance of onomastics scholars from around the world. The 2025 ANS conference will not be held in conjunction with the Linguistics Society of America conference.

Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome: personal names, place names, business and institutional names, names theory, names in literature, among others.

Proposals require these elements:

  • Title of proposed paper
  • 250-word abstract
  • Shorter 100-word abstract suitable for inclusion in conference program
  • 50-word biography suitable for inclusion in conference program

To submit a proposal, complete the 2025 Author Information Form found here:

Email completed forms to Dr. Michel Nguessan at:

For organizational purposes, place “ANS2025” in the subject of your email.

The DEADLINE for receipt of abstracts is July 31, 2024.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Notification of proposal acceptances will be sent by September 30, 2024. Authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of ANS and must register for the annual meeting. Please contact Dr. Michel Nguessan at the above email address if you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Download a PDF copy of this call for papers here.

Call for Papers: Special Issue of NAMES on “Name Bias and Prejudice”

Call for Papers: Special Issue of NAMES


The American Name Society (ANS) is now issuing its first call for abstracts for an upcoming Special issue of the Society’s journal, NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics.  The theme for the 2024 Special Issue is “Name Bias and Prejudice”.  From anthroponyms to commercial names, toponyms to zoonyms, proposals focusing on any name type, in any language or culture, from any time period, and utilizing any analytical method are welcome. Proposals examining name bias and prejudice in the arts (e.g., literature, music, film, etc.) are also strongly encouraged.    However, all proposals must include a clearly articulated theoretical framework, research question(s), and a preliminary reference list.  All submissions will be subjected to blind review. The following criteria will be used in the review process: innovation; writing style and organization; argumentation; potential to make a substantive contribution to onomastic research; and adherence to the NAMES Style Sheet.  Detailed instructions for the submission process are provided below.

Proposal Submission Process

  • Abstract proposals (max. 800 words, not including references) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Professor I. M. Nick (;
  • Proposals must include a preliminary reference list that follows the formatting regulations of the NAMES Style Sheet;
  • Proposals must include “Bias” in the subject line of the email;
  • All proposals must include an abstract, a tentative title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the accompanying email and NOT within the body of the abstract;
  • DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 15 July 2024. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 15 August 2024.

For further information about this call, please feel free to contact Professor I. M. Nick (


We look forward to receiving your submission.

The Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin is Now Available!

Click here to download the Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin.

In this issue, you will find:

  • The 2023 Names of the Year
  • ANS Has a New VP!
  • ANS Bylaws Revisions
  • And the Winner is… 2023 NAMES Best Article of the Year Award
  • An Interview with the Winner of the 2023 Best Article of the Year Award
  • Names: A Journal of Onomastics Reviewers Needed
  • Call for Proposals: High Desert Linguistics Society Conference
  • In Memoriam: Honoring the Legacy of ANS Members
  • ANS Executive Council 2023 End-of-Year Reports
  • 2024 ANS Executive Council

Read more in the Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin!

ANS 2024 Conference YouTube Videos

We are pleased to announce that all recorded presentations from the 2024 Annual meeting have now been uploaded to our YouTube channel. There are 14 videos, representing outstanding onomastics scholarship from members all over the world. Please visit our YouTube channel to view these videos, as well as those from the previous Annual Conferences!

Publication Announcement — Names: A Journal of Onomastics 72, no. 1 (2024) is now available!

The latest issue of Names: A Journal of Onomastics is now available online! Click here to read the latest in onomastics scholarship in volume 72, number 1 of Names. A table of contents appears below.

Names is published as an open access journal available to all via the Journal’s home at the University of Pittsburgh. All journal content, including the content found in previous volumes, is available for free online as downloadable PDF files.


Table of Contents


Uniqueness and agency in English Naming Practices of Mainland Chinese Students by Robert Weekly, Shih-Ching (Susan) Picucci-Huang

Chinese Onomasticons of Posthumous Names: Between Ritual Practice and Historical Exegesis by Yegor Grebnev

Actant Models of Kazakh Anthroponyms-Composites with Substantive and Verb Components by Zifa Temirgazina, Gulnara Abisheva, and Rumaniyat Aselderova

Navigating Linguistic Similarities Among Countries Using Fuzzy Sets of Proper Names by Davor Lauc

Book Reviews

The Names of the Wyandot by Rebekah R. Ingram

Place Names: Approaches and Perspectives in Toponymy and Toponomastics by Daniel Duncan



2023 Award for Best Article in NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics by I.M. Nick

Name of the Year Report 2023 by I.M. Nick

View All Issues

Call for Papers: “Literary Name Games: Onomastic Indices, Icons, and/or Symbols” ANS @ MLA 2025

Literary Name Games: Onomastic Indices, Icons, and/or Symbols

Writers the world over play with names of characters, places, and more to create mood, further plot, and expand meaning. In this panel, we will consider the ways in which names of characters (charactonyms), places (toponyms), and other components function as affective identifiers, as visual or aural icons, and/or as figurative symbols in literature from any era, from any narrative genre, in any media, and for readers of any age. Useful resources might include, the archives of NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics (, the ANS list of terminology (, Dorothy Dodge Robbins’ edited collection Literary Onomastics (2023), and the Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming (2018).

Proposal Submission Process:

  1. Email Dr. Anne W. Anderson (  Please place  “MLA 2025 proposal” in the subject line.   In the email body, include the title and first line of the abstract, the full name(s) of the author(s), their affiliation(s), and their email address(es).  Attach a PDF file that includes the proposal title, abstract of up to 350 words, and a brief list of works cited. Do NOT include author identification.
  2. DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 11:59 pm EST on Friday 15 March 2024. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 25 March 2024.
  3. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers; MLA membership must be obtained by 7 April 2024;
  4. Questions? Please contact Dr. Anne W. Anderson (