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 (https://ans-names.pitt.edu/ans/issue/archive), the ANS list of terminology (https://ans-names.pitt.edu/ans/keywords), 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 (awanderson.editing@gmail.com).  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 (awanderson.editing@gmail.com)

Register for the ANS Annual Meeting 2024 (via Zoom, February 17, 2024)

Registration is open for ANS 2024, which will be held on February 17, 2024. You can register online by clicking here or the following link:

https://www.americannamesociety.org/conferences/ans-2024-annual-conference-registration/

The American Name Society Annual Meeting for 2024 will be held online using the Zoom platform. It is accessible via Mac or PC. The meeting will require a passcode, which will be sent via email to all registrants and presenters by February 16th.

We have been working hard to set up a schedule that will work globally, and this means that some presenters will be scheduled at times outside of normal working hours. The schedule below is subject to change depending on speaker availability.

The Book of Abstracts will be available before the conference.

Keep apprised of any changes to the annual meeting schedule here.


Saturday, February 17, 2024

ALL TIMES ARE UTC -8:00, PACIFIC STANDARD TIME

Conference Opening Address

5:45 AM Laurel Sutton (Catchword Branding, USA), Welcome and Opening Remarks

First Session

6:00 AM Anna Tsepkova (Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University, Russia): American and Russian Nicknames of Persons, Motivated by a Combination of Linguistic and Extralinguistic Factors

6:30 AM Olga Chesnokova (RUDN University, Moscow, Russia): Ludic Representation of Toponyms in Riddles

7:00 AM Zhazira Agabekova (Nazarabayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan): The Concept of “UL” (son, child) in Kazakh Anthroponomy

Second Session

7:30 AM Halyna Matsyuk (Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, Ukraine): The linguistic landscape of Ukraine: Decolonization of geographical names associated with Russia

8:00 AM Reima Al-Jarf (King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia): To Translate or not to Translate: The Case of Arabic and Foreign Shop Names

8:30 AM Sara Racca (University of Zurich, Switzerland): From the Countryside to the Urban Outskirts: The Displacement of Old Microtoponyms in Contemporary Urbanization. An Italian Case-Study

9:00 AM Break

9:30 AM ANS Committees Meeting

Third Session

10:00 AM Deborah Ball (University of Oxford, UK): Exploring the landscape of proper names and their grammatical characteristics to understand how brand names fit in

10:30 AM Tristan Alphey (St Cross College at the University of Oxford, UK): Nicknames Maketh Man? Performing Masculinity in the Gesta Herewardi

11:00 AM Jane Pilcher (Nottingham Trent University, UK): Surnames and surnaming in families formed though adoption

Fourth Session

11:30 AM Cari Didion and Michel Nguessan (Governors State University, USA): Names, Immigration Trends and Cultural Identity: A Study Ethnic Restaurant and Grocery Store Names in Greater Chicago

12:00 PM Star Medzerian Vanguri (Nova Southeastern University, FL, USA) and Maggie M. Werner (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY, USA): Portmanteau Names as Ideographs

12:30 Mary Ann Walter (University of the Virgin Islands, USVI): The Persistence of Morphou: Diachronic Awareness and Usage of Toponyms in Northern Cyprus

1:00 PM Michael Akinpelu (University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada), Hasiyatu Abubakari (University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana) and Michel Nguessan (Governors State University, USA): Names of God and Divinities in African Languages and the Myth of Polytheism

1:30 PM ANS Annual Business Meeting and Awards Presentation 

Fifth Session

2:30 Evangeline Nwokah (Our Lady of the Lake University, USA): Clowning around with names: A linguistic comparison of hospital clown and entertainment clown names

3:00 Thomas Wickenden (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, retired): Reverse Reinterpretation in Dictionaries of English Place-Names: Why the origin and identity of the Hwicce remain so obscure

3:30 Sarah Bunin Benor (Hebrew Union College, USA) and Alicia B. Chandler (Wayne State University, USA): Perceptual onomastics: Survey data on Americans’ Jewishness ratings of personal names

About Names: Dr. Evans on the name “Elijah”

Elijah Wood standing outside of a fan-built replica of the Hobbit Hole from the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (Photo: public domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 28th column, he discusses the name “Elijah”.

Frodo’s 43 today.

Actor Elijah Wood, famous for playing hero hobbit Frodo Baggins in the “Lord of the Rings” films, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jan. 28, 1981.

Elijah’s the modern English version of Hebrew ‘Eliyyahu, “my God is Yahweh.” The Bible’s Elijah was one of ancient Israel’s greatest prophets, preaching against wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Carried to heaven in a fiery chariot, in the New Testament he and Moses appear to Jesus in the Transfiguration.

Because of that, Elijah was the Hebrew prophet most revered by early Christians. St. Elias of Jerusalem, a fifth century patriarch, bore the Latin form of his name.

In medieval England, boys were named Ellis after the prophet and the patriarch. Families with surnames Ellis, Ellison, or Elkins descend from them.

The form Elijah didn’t occur until English Bible translations appeared during the Reformation. It was primarily used by Puritans in England. In Britain’s 1841 census, there were 4,444 Elijahs in England and only 17 in Scotland.

Elijah was even more popular with Puritans in New England. In 1851, there were 5,993 Elijahs in all of Britain, while in 1850, 22,937 lived in the United States, though total populations were similar. Puritan Massachusetts was the birthplace of 4,651 of 1850’s American Elijahs, while only 1,069 were born in Scots Irish and Quaker Pennsylvania, though Pennsylvania had more than double Massachusetts’ population.

Announcement: Best Article of the Year 2023 in Names: A Journal of Onomastics

Russell Fielding, author of the NAMES 2023 Article of the Year (Photo by Josee Cole)

The 2024 Winner of the NAMES Best Article of the Year is Dr. Russell Fielding (Photo by Josee Cole) of HTC Honours College and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA. The title of his article is “‘A Change of Name During Sickness’: Surveying the Widespread Practice of Renaming in Response to Physical Illness”  [NAMES vol. 71, no. 1: 11-28].

The second place winner is “Using the ANPS Typology to Unearth the Relationship Between Japanese Sign Language (JSL) Endonymic Toponym Distribution and Regional Identity” by Johnny George of Meiji University, Department of Political Science and Economics, Tokyo, JAPAN [NAMES vol. 71, no. 3 :1-19]. The third place winner is “A Case Study of De-Russification of Ukrainian Hodonyms: Rigged Trial or Justice Restored?” by Oleksiy Gnatiuk and Anatoliy Melnychuk of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in Ukraine [NAMES vol. 71, no. 4: 40-55].

ANS Annual Meeting 2024 Schedule

The American Name Society Annual Meeting for 2024 will be held online using the Zoom platform. It is accessible via Mac or PC. The meeting will require a passcode, which will be sent via email to all registrants and presenters by February 16th.

We have been working hard to set up a schedule that will work globally, and this means that some presenters will be scheduled at times outside of normal working hours. The schedule below is subject to change depending on speaker availability.

The Book of Abstracts will be available before the conference.

Keep apprised of any changes to the annual meeting schedule here.

Register for the conference here!

.


 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

ALL TIMES ARE UTC -8:00, PACIFIC STANDARD TIME

Conference Opening Address

5:45 AM Laurel Sutton (Catchword Branding, USA), Welcome and Opening Remarks

First Session

6:00 AM Anna Tsepkova (Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University, Russia): American and Russian Nicknames of Persons, Motivated by a Combination of Linguistic and Extralinguistic Factors

6:30 AM Olga Chesnokova (RUDN University, Moscow, Russia): Ludic Representation of Toponyms in Riddles

7:00 AM Zhazira Agabekova (Nazarabayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan): The Concept of “UL” (son, child) in Kazakh Anthroponomy

Second Session

7:30 AM Halyna Matsyuk (Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, Ukraine): The linguistic landscape of Ukraine: Decolonization of geographical names associated with Russia

8:00 AM Reima Al-Jarf (King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia): To Translate or not to Translate: The Case of Arabic and Foreign Shop Names

8:30 AM Sara Racca (University of Zurich, Switzerland): From the Countryside to the Urban Outskirts: The Displacement of Old Microtoponyms in Contemporary Urbanization. An Italian Case-Study

9:00 AM Break

9:30 AM ANS Committees Meeting

Third Session

10:00 AM Deborah Ball (University of Oxford, UK): Exploring the landscape of proper names and their grammatical characteristics to understand how brand names fit in

10:30 AM Tristan Alphey (St Cross College at the University of Oxford, UK): Nicknames Maketh Man? Performing Masculinity in the Gesta Herewardi

11:00 AM Jane Pilcher (Nottingham Trent University, UK): Surnames and surnaming in families formed though adoption

Fourth Session

11:30 AM Cari Didion and Michel Nguessan (Governors State University, USA): Names, Immigration Trends and Cultural Identity: A Study Ethnic Restaurant and Grocery Store Names in Greater Chicago

12:00 PM Star Medzerian Vanguri (Nova Southeastern University, FL, USA) and Maggie M. Werner (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY, USA): Portmanteau Names as Ideographs

12:30 Mary Ann Walter (University of the Virgin Islands, USVI): The Persistence of Morphou: Diachronic Awareness and Usage of Toponyms in Northern Cyprus

1:00 PM Michael Akinpelu (University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada),  Hasiyatu Abubakari (University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana) and Michel Nguessan (Governors State University, USA): Names of God and Divinities in African Languages and the Myth of Polytheism

1:30 PM ANS Annual Business Meeting and Awards Presentation

Fifth Session

2:30 Evangeline Nwokah (Our Lady of the Lake University, USA): Clowning around with names: A linguistic comparison of hospital clown and entertainment clown names

3:00 Thomas Wickenden (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, retired): Reverse Reinterpretation in Dictionaries of English Place-Names: Why the origin and identity of the Hwicce remain so obscure

3:30 Sarah Bunin Benor (Hebrew Union College, USA) and Alicia B. Chandler (Wayne State University, USA): Perceptual onomastics: Survey data on Americans’ Jewishness ratings of personal names

 

 

“Gaza” and “Barbie” Chosen as Joint 2023 Names of the Year

“GAZA” AND “BARBIE” CHOSEN AS JOINT 2023 NAMES OF THE YEAR

“Gaza” and “Barbie” were chosen as the joint winners of the Name of the Year for 2023 by the American Name Society at its annual Name of the Year discussion and vote on January 4, 2024. The pairing of these names neatly captures the dichotomy of 2023: the reality of Gaza, the tragedy of another war in the Middle East, and the escapism of Barbie, a comedy movie about a classic toy that imagines a doll embracing feminism. Despite runoff votes, ANS members could not choose a winner, a rare event in the Name of the Year vote; these two names perfectly represent the zeitgeist of 2023, as well as two different types of contested spaces.

“Swiftie” was chosen as Personal Name of the Year. “Swiftie” is the self-identifying term for fans of Taylor Swift, a neologism that is a modification of Swift’s name. The term was quickly picked up and used by the media. Linguistically, it employs the diminutive ending “-ie”, which is a particularly productive pattern in pop culture (e.g., Trekkie for Star Trek fans, Durannie for Duran Duran fans); unlike many new words in pop culture, it has shown impressive longevity, being first attested in 2010. In 2017, Taylor Swift even trademarked the name for commercial usage, making it an interesting brand name as well. Other candidates in this category included Taylor Swift, Vivek Ramaswamy, George Santos, and Sheynnis Alondra Palacios Cornejo.

“Gaza” was voted Place Name of the Year. Gaza is the name for the stretch of land between Egypt and Israel, and has become shorthand for the ongoing Israel/Hamas War. Its Hebrew name is “Azzah”, meaning “strength” and its Arabic name is “Ghazzah”. It refers not only to the geographic region, but is now regularly used to refer to the current humanitarian disaster happening there. Other candidates in this category included Maui, Palestine, and Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

“ChatGPT” won the title Brand Name of the Year. The name of OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tool is a compound of the word “chat”, referring to the chatbot, and the initialism “GPT”, for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer”. It promises an interaction with AI as simple and casual as having a chat with a friend, while retaining the mystery of technical jargon that most people do not understand. Other candidates in this category included Discord, Ozempic, and OceanGate.

“Barbenheimer” was chosen Artistic Name of the Year. It is portmanteau of the movie titles Barbie and Oppenheimer, which opened on the same weekend in 2023. The name arose organically and captured the trend of people going to see both movies sequentially, and inspired Halloween costumes, memes, and fake movie trailers. It became a cultural phenomenon because of the huge success of both films, along with their wildly contrasting images of a fantasy comedy built on the Barbie doll vs. a very serious Oppenheimer biopic dealing with nuclear holocaust. Other candidates in this category included The Eras Tour, Barbie, and Renaissance (Beyoncé’s tour and movie).

“X” was voted E-Name of the Year. The attempted—and mostly failed—rebranding/debranding of Twitter by new owner Elon Musk illustrates the extreme difficulty of using a single letter as a brand. It was also a case study in the sacrifice of a tremendously valuable brand (the name Twitter, the verb “tweet”, the blue bird iconography) for the sake of a purportedly “edgy” and “disruptive” brand. Other candidates in this category included the hashtag #freepalestine, OpenAI, and Lu Do Magalu (a popular Brazilian virtual influencer).

The American Name Society is a scholarly organization founded in 1951 devoted to studying all aspects of names and naming. The Name of the Year vote has been held since 2004.

The 2022 Name of the Year was “Ukraine”, and “Great Resignation” won for 2021.

The 2020 Name of the Year was jointly held by “Kamala” and “COVID-19.” “Brexit” was Name of the Decade and “Arrokoth” was the 2019 Name of the Year. “Jamal Khashoggi” won for 2018, “Rohingya” for 2017, “Aleppo“ for 2016 , “Caitlyn Jenner” for 2015, “Ferguson” for 2014, “Francis” for 2013, and “Sandy” for 2012.

For further information contact Laurel Sutton, ANS President and Chair of the Name of the Year committee, at laurel@suttonstrategy.com, 510-501-2580.

A downloadable PDF of this press release is available here.

About Names: Dr. Evans on the name “Tristan”

Tristan et Iseult, by Louis Bouquet (1921, Photo: Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 31st column, he discusses the name “Tristan”.

Tristan’s off to war, but “Creatures” goes on.

In the Dec. 24 Christmas episode of “All Creatures Great and Small” on PBS, young veterinarian Tristan joined Britain’s World War II military. On Jan. 7 the new season starts, with brother Siegfried and colleague James overworked due to Tristan’s absence.

Tristan’s a name from medieval legend. Since the 12th century the story of how Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, tragically falls in love with Iseult (or Isolde), Mark’s bride, has been retold by multiple authors.

Experts think Tristan was originally Drustan, from Celtic “tumult,” blended with French “triste” meaning “sad.”

Since the 13th century Tristram’s been an alternate form. After 1770 Tristram was more common, partly because of “Tristram Shandy” (1767), a comic novel by Laurence Sterne. Tristram’s father claims names exert enormous influence over one’s fate, and the worst possible name is Tristram. He wanted his son named Trismegistus, “three times great,” after the mystical founder of alchemy, but his mother mistakenly had him baptized Tristram.

The 1850 United States census found 279 Tristrams and 36 Tristans. Tristram was especially common in Massachusetts, probably because Tristram Coffin (1609-1681) was a founding settler on Nantucket. Tristram’s census peak was in 1850 — in 1950, there were 55 Tristrams and 124 Tristans.

In 1950 Tristan was known to opera fans through Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” (1865), where the lovers die like Romeo and Juliet, which didn’t happen in many medieval versions.

“All Creatures Great and Small” is based on Yorkshire vet James Herriot’s memoirs. When he began publishing these in 1970, he chose Siegfried as pseudonym for colleague Donald Sinclair from the hero of other Wagner operas, and decided to use “Tristan” for Donald’s brother Brian since he was “romantic,” like Wagner’s Tristan.

Registration Open: ANS Name of the Year Discussion and Vote (Virtual, 4 January 2024)

ANS Name of the Year Discussion and Vote

Thursday, January 4, 2024 on Zoom, 12 – 2pm PST

REGISTRATION is now open! Click here to register for the discussion and vote.

Join us for our annual Name of the Year discussion! We will be nominating, discussing, and voting on eligible names in the following categories:

  • Personal Names: Names of groups or individuals, including nicknames, given names, surnames, or a combination of these.
  • Place Names: Names or nicknames of any real geographical locations (e.g., rivers, lakes, mountains, streets, buildings, regions, countries, etc.).
  • Brand Names: Names of commercial products, companies, organizations, and businesses (both for-profit and non-profit). This category includes personal names used as brands for commerce.
  • Artistic/Literary Names: Names of fictional persons, places, or institutions, in any written, oral, or visual medium (e.g., titles of art or musical works, books, plays, tv programs, movies, games, etc.).
  • E-Names: Names of online platforms, websites, and movements, as well as hashtags, usernames, etc.
  • Miscellaneous Names: Names that do not fit in any of the above five categories.

The discussion will be conducted by Laurel Sutton, ANS President and Name of the Year Coordinator.

If you have not done so already, you can nominate names via this form

Advance nominations must be received no later than December 31st, 2023, at midnight Pacific.

Tickets to this event are free!

The URL to our Zoom room will be sent to everyone who registers for this event.

Please review previous Name of the Year reports, to better understand the type of names that will be accepted:

Name of the Year Report 2022 (PDF)

Name of the Year Report 2021 (PDF)

***

Our first conference of the year will take place February 17, 2024, over Zoom. It will be a one day event. Registration information can be found here.

Registration Open: ANS Name of the Year Discussion and Vote (Virtual, 4 January 2024)

ANS Name of the Year Discussion and Vote

Thursday, January 4, 2024 on Zoom, 12 – 2pm PST

REGISTRATION is now open! Click here to register for the discussion and vote.

Join us for our annual Name of the Year discussion! We will be nominating, discussing, and voting on eligible names in the following categories:

  • Personal Names: Names of groups or individuals, including nicknames, given names, surnames, or a combination of these.
  • Place Names: Names or nicknames of any real geographical locations (e.g., rivers, lakes, mountains, streets, buildings, regions, countries, etc.).
  • Brand Names: Names of commercial products, companies, organizations, and businesses (both for-profit and non-profit). This category includes personal names used as brands for commerce.
  • Artistic/Literary Names: Names of fictional persons, places, or institutions, in any written, oral, or visual medium (e.g., titles of art or musical works, books, plays, tv programs, movies, games, etc.).
  • E-Names: Names of online platforms, websites, and movements, as well as hashtags, usernames, etc.
  • Miscellaneous Names: Names that do not fit in any of the above five categories.

The discussion will be conducted by Laurel Sutton, ANS President and Name of the Year Coordinator.

If you have not done so already, you can nominate names via this form

Advance nominations must be received no later than December 31st, 2023, at midnight Pacific.

Tickets to this event are free!

The URL to our Zoom room will be sent to everyone who registers for this event.

Please review previous Name of the Year reports, to better understand the type of names that will be accepted:

Name of the Year Report 2022 (PDF)

Name of the Year Report 2021 (PDF)

***

Our first conference of the year will take place February 17, 2024, over Zoom. It will be a one day event. Registration information can be found here.

About Names: Dr. Evans on the name “Eileen”

NASA Commander Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a Space Shuttle mission (Photo: Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 17th column, he discusses the name “Eileen”.

Eileen’s creating thrills and chills on screen.

“Eileen,” a dark thriller based on Ottessa Moshfegh’s prize-winning 2015 novel, debuted Dec. 8. Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie) escapes from an alcoholic father by becoming involved in a revenge killing with colleague Rebecca.

Eileen and Aileen are English spellings of Eibhlín, Irish version of Norman French Aveline, brought to Ireland by 12th century Anglo-Norman invaders. Aveline’s from ancient Germanic Avi (perhaps “desired”) with affectionate suffixes -el and -in. In England it became Evelyn.

By the 17th century Ireland’s Norman aristocracy adopted Irish culture, and as Catholics were persecuted by the British. Aristocratic Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill (Eileen O’Connell) (1743-1800) married Captain Art Ó Laoghaire in 1767. In 1773, a Protestant magistrate had Art murdered for refusing to sell him a horse.

Eileen wrote a lament considered one of the greatest Irish poems. In it she tells her husband “Travel that narrow road east where the bushes shall bend before you.”