Nursultan, not Astana — Kazakhstan renames capital to honor ex-president

Kazakhstan’s second post-independence president wanted to rename the country’s capital after its first president, who served for 30 years.

 

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was sworn in as Kazakhstan’s president on Wednesday, a day after longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his surprise resignation. Tokayev, who had served as senate speaker, was the designated interim replacement according to the Kazakh constitution. He is expected to serve the rest of Nazarbayev’s term until elections in April 2020.

In his inaugural speech, Tokayev praised Nazarbayev as “an outstanding reformer” and called for renaming the capital city, Astana, “Nursultan.”

Mandela clan backs renaming of Cape Town airport

The Royal House of Mandela has thrown its weight behind renaming Cape Town International Airport after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. At Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral in Soweto last year, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (a far-left South African political party) Julius Malema made the first call for the name change, having said that if the African National Congress (governing party) was serious about honouring maWinnie and her legacy, it should name the Mother City’s airport after her.

Political parties disagreed in Parliament over the name change of the airport, with the ANC saying all names of Struggle heroes and heroines needed to be considered. The Airports Company South Africa has given the public until June 6, 2019 to submit names for the change. Once the public process is complete, a report of conclusions and recommendations will be compiled. Other names put forward include Struggle icons Albertina Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Robert Sobukwe and Alex La Guma.

 

Claiming the History in Family Names

Raffi Joe Wartanian told an amazing story of his family by pointing out their interesting family name. His immigrant father Ghevont Vartanian, who left his hometown, Beirut, in 1974, thought adopting an American name was a prudent measure to avoid mispronunciations. To his son it felt like admitting defeat.

Raffi Joe describes how he cringed whenever his father called himself George. He wanted him to declare his name rather than defer to its otherness. He wanted him to teach people how to pronounce his name and appreciate its Armenian origins. History echoed within his father’s name: Ghevont is a canonized orator; Vartan, an honored warrior. Both served as Armenian leaders in the fifth-century Battle of Avarayr. But the name of George silenced that history.

About Names: Stella’s star is shining bright again

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 12th column, he looks at the history of the name Stella.

Stella is the Latin word for “star.” Its first use as a woman’s name came in 1591 in “Astrophil and Stella,” a book of sonnets and songs by Philip Sidney (1554-86). Astrophil (“star lover”) describes his beloved as “Stella, Star of heavenly fire, Stella, loadstar of desire; Stella, in whose shining eyes are the lights of Cupids skies.”

German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) wrote “Stella: A Play for Lovers” in 1776. It created a huge scandal when hero Fernando resolves his love for both Stella and Cecilia by living in a ménage à trois. Goethe rewrote the play with Stella committing suicide at the end in 1806. Both versions spread the name across northern Europe. By 1770, romantic parents were naming real girls Stella in America. The 1850 United States census, the first listing all residents by name, found 548 Stellas.

In Social Security’s yearly baby name lists, Stella peaked at 55th in 1889. It gradually declined, leaving the top hundred after 1923.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Stellas in history!

Cook Islands considers name change

The Cook Islands in the South Pacific is considering a name change to reflect its Polynesian heritage. The nation was named after British explorer James Cook who landed on the islands in the 1700s.

A committee is considering 60 options in Cook Islands Maori including Rangiaroa, meaning Love from the Heavens and Raroatua which translates as We Stand Under God. The updated name should reflect the country’s history, its religious beliefs and its people. A referendum was held in 1994, when voters opted against a name change.

However, the name-change may take a while. There would probably have to be a new referendum and the process could take two years.

Female street names wanted in Brussels

The City of Brussels joins the call for more ‘women in the streets’. The inhabitants of Brussels can suggest female heroes who deserve a place in the public space, but they can also propose places, squares and parks that do not yet have a name.

 

The rules are simple:

  • the person may no longer be alive
  • the proposal must be submitted by the City to the Royal Commission for Toponymy and Dialectology

 

 

All proposals are welcome on the:

Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in French)
Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in Dutch)

Bridge named to honour the first black member of Quebec’s national assembly

The Quebec government will rename a bridge on Highway 50 in the Outaouais to honour Jean Alfred, the first black member of Quebec’s national assembly. The Pont Jean-Alfred will span the Petite-Nation River about 20 kilometres east of Lochaber, in the heart of the riding Alfred represented, Quebec’s Toponymy Commission confirmed this week.

“Jean Alfred devoted a part of his life to build bridges between Quebecers and the Haitian community here,” Minister of Culture Nathalie Roy said in a February release. Born in Haiti, Alfred went to the University of Ottawa for studies and received a PhD in education.

ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton on the Baby Names Podcast, with Jennifer Moss

On the Baby Names Podcast, ANS Member Jennifer Moss interviews Laurel Sutton, ANS Vice President and founder of Catchword, one of the top naming companies in the world. Laurel discusses how the process of naming people is not that different than naming  companies and products.

Jennifer and Mallory also gab about the current celebrity baby news and take listener questions on names and naming!

Names mentioned in this episode: PraxidikeBenedict Cumberbatch, Hannah Hart, NovaHomerIgorMallory

About Names: Levi’s genes can be traced to the Bible and denim

Levi Strauss button

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 26th column, he looks at the history of the name Levi.

The first Levi was Jacob and Leah’s third son in the Bible’s book of Genesis. At his birth, Leah says “Now my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Hebrew “lawah” means “joined.” Levi’s descendants became priests and attendants at Jerusalem’s temple.

Before the Reformation, Levi was only used by Jews. Then some Protestant parents took it up. Unlike other Old Testament names such as Abraham and Joshua, Levi didn’t become generally popular in England, appealing only to more radical Puritans. Britain’s 1851 census found 4,727 Levis. In the 1850 United States census (when the nations had about the same population), there were 36,624, most descendants of New England Puritans living in the North.

Modern Levis now gaining fame include Levi Leipheimer (born 1973), the U.S. national champion road racing cyclist in 1999 and 2007, and Levi LaVallee (1982), winner of seven gold medals in snowmobile racing at the Winter X games between 2004 and 2014.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Levis in history!

Names of All Montgomery Schools Will Be Reviewed

At the meeting on the 25th February 2019, the school board unanimously approved a resolution to create a committee to suggest new names for Lee Middle, in Silver Spring, and asked for a review of existing school names to “ensure that all names are appropriate candidates for school facilities.” County Council President Nancy Navarro is pushing for a change based on Lee’s history that included implementing racist housing policies, forcing minorities from buying or renting homes in some subdivisions.

There are 206 public schools in Montgomery County serving about 163,000 students. Staff members have begun researching school facility names and the history of the people. Although a timeline for the review wasn’t given, it is an “in-depth process that will take a little time.”