Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his August 29th column, he looks at the history of hurricane names.
During World War II American meteorologists commonly gave women’s names to storms they tracked. This was practical: Using names is quicker and less error-prone than the previous latitude-longitude identification method. It reduces confusion when two or more tropical storms are active — as illustrated recently with Laura and Marco.
In 1951 and 1952, the National Hurricane Center used a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie, etc.) to name tropical storms. In 1953, it began using lists of women’s names. In 1979, male names were added, six rotating lists were created and the task of maintaining the lists turned over to a committee of the World Meteorological Organization.
How do hurricanes affect baby names? Names of infamous hurricanes often bump upward for babies in the year they occur, and then fall back. Katrina, which had been receding, rose 13% in 2005. Since 2005, it’s nosedived as “Katrina” has become an ongoing symbol of disaster. Similar if less sharp rises and falls occurred with Camille (1969), Celia (1970), Mitch (1998), Lili (2002), Charley (2004), Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012).
From 1788-1790 the first settlement in the area was called Losantiville. This name was given to the settlement by John Filson, one of the founders of Cincinnati. The name is a compilation of “L” for the Licking River, “os” from the Latin meaning “mouth”, “anti” from the Greek meaning “opposite”, and “ville” from Anglo-Saxon, meaning “city” or “town”. This comes out as “The Town Opposite the Mouth of the Licking”.
In 1790 General Arthur St. Clair, the first governor of the Northwest Territory and a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, did not like the name Losantiville and changed it to Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Society was named in honor of the Roman general Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. He lived in the Fifth century BC. While plowing his fields one day he was told to take command of Rome’s army. Within 15 days he led the army to victory over the enemy. He then went back to his plowing. The Society of the Cincinnati was started by, and consisted of, Continental Army officers of the American Revolution.
On the Baby Names Podcast, ANS Member Jennifer Moss interviews Dr. Karen Pennesi!
This is the first of a two-part episode on Changing your Name. Mallory and Jennifer discuss why a person might want to change their name-first or last-and how to do so. They talk with Dr. Karen Pennesi, linguistic anthropologist at the University of Ontario, on name changing pertaining to immigration and cultural assimilation.
Check out Universal Design for Belonging: Living and Working with Diverse Personal Names by Dr. Karen Pennesi.
What accounts for name choices in a transnational context? What does the choice of ethnic or English names reveal about global identities and the desire to fit into a new culture? Drawing on the sociology of culture and migration, Philip Jun Fang and Gary Fine examine the intersection of naming, assimilation, and self-presentation in light of international student mobility. Based on 25 semi-structured interviews with mainland Chinese students enrolled in an elite Midwestern university, they find that these students make name choices by engaging in both transnational processes and situated practices. First, Chinese international students negotiate between multiple names to deal with ethnic distinctions. While ethnic names can signal distance from other ethnic communities, they also distinguish individuals from others. For these students, names are multi-layered and temporal: their name choices evolve throughout school lives, shaped by power relations in American cultural contexts and channeled by images of their home country. Second, multiple names allow these students to practice situated performance, incorporating the reflective self, the distinctive self, and the imagined self. The authors address “cross-cultural naming” that accounts for identity in transnational social spaces.
Fang, J., Fine, G.A. Names and Selves: Transnational Identities and Self-Presentation among Elite Chinese International Students. Qualitative Sociology (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-020-09468-7
At its first appearance in records by explorers, the Chicago area was inhabited by a number of Algonquian peoples, including the Mascouten and Miami. The name “Chicago” is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum, from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as “Checagou” was by Robert de La Salle around 1679 in a memoir. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the wild garlic, called “chicagoua”, grew abundantly in the area. According to his diary of late September 1687: “when we arrived at the said place called Chicagou which, according to what we were able to learn of it, has taken this name because of the quantity of garlic which grows in the forests in this region.”
Swiss food and beverage giant Nestlé has been forced to rebrand its plant-based Incredible Burger as Sensational following a legal challenge from U.S. meat startup Impossible Foods.
The District Court in The Hague ruled that Nestlé had infringed on Impossible Foods’ trademarks and could confuse consumers and so must change the name of its Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger across the European Union. The Dutch court gave Nestlé four weeks to withdraw the old product name from retail shelves or face a daily fine of €25,000.
Nestlé’s Incredible Burger, made from soy and wheat protein, launched in April 2019 and is sold in 15 countries across Europe. In the U.S., Nestlé sells a meatless patty called “Awesome Burger,” which is largely made of yellow pea protein.
The recent global events of civil and political unrest that started in the US have brought to the fore the complex dynamics of urban memorialisation. The protests have, in some places, led to renewed scrutiny of certain urban symbols such as commemorative statues – what they represent and how they are perceived and interpreted.
Unlike monuments and statues, place names (toponyms) are intangible, and less imposing, but nevertheless, an indispensable part of the urban symbolic landscape. Their inscription, erasure and re-inscription is highly political.
In a study of toponymy in Nairobi, Kenya, Kosuke Matsubara and Melissa Wanjiru (University of Tsukuba, Japan) analysed how streets got their names. It’s important to examine this as street naming and renaming allows to remember and forget events and people in history. It also articulates what values exist in pursuit of political or national interests.
Eskimo Pie announced it will be changing its name and retiring its eponymous character by the end of the year. The decision came within days of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat, and Mrs. Butterworth’s announcing brand overhauls in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and a broader racial reckoning across the United States.
Eskimo Pie, the chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar, was invented about a century ago under the name I-Scream Bar, but was renamed Eskimo Pie after founder Christian Kent Nelson partnered with chocolate maker Russell C. Stover. The brand’s character — a little boy with dark hair and a fur-lined parka, sometimes depicted riding a qamutiik-like sled in the past — and name were meant to evoke the chilly north and the indigenous people who lived there. The term “Eskimo” is widely considered to be a derogatory name for native peoples of the Arctic regions.
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his July 4th column, he looks at the history of the name Nathaniel.
Nathaniel is the modern form of a Hebrew name meaning “gift of God.” Ten minor Old Testament characters bear the name, spelled “Nethanael”. In the New Testament’s Gospel of John, Nathanael is one of Jesus’s 12 disciples. In the other three gospels, one of the disciples is Bartholomew (“son of Talmai”). Since the ninth century, Christians have believed Bartholomew and Nathanael were the same person.
In medieval England, the disciple was almost always called St. Bartholomew, and men named Nathanael hardly existed. After the Protestant reformation, parents searching the Bible for new names took it up.
The connection with Nathan is reinforced by many Nathaniels born since 1990 using Nate as their nickname instead of Nat or Natty, common in earlier generations. Nathaniel Turner (1800-1831) led Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, the most famous slave insurrection before the Civil War. Lithographer Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) founded famous printmakers Currier & Ives.
The New York Times reports on the movement to remove many types of slurs from Scrabble tournaments. Some players have objected, because many slurs are short words and therefore have a high point value:
Hasbro, which owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, said the Scrabble players association had “agreed to remove all slurs from their word list for Scrabble tournament play, which is managed solely by NASPA and available only to members.”
Julie Duffy, a spokeswoman for Hasbro, also said the company will amend Scrabble’s official rules “to make clear that slurs are not permissible in any form of the game.”
The game that Hasbro sells in retail stores has not included slurs in its dictionary since 1994. But the players association, one of the most prominent governing bodies in competitive Scrabble, had still allowed them. The agreement could also affect what words may be played in online versions of the game.
Interestingly, the author of the article, , manages to write about slurs without actually citing any of them; the closest is “n-word”, which appears in a direct quote. Quite a linguistic feat!
A PDF version of the article is available here.