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
An article with this title has just been published at the Swiss “Linguistik Online” (2020) by Márcia Sipavicius Seide and Marcelo Saparas.
This article brings together recent onomastic investigations developed in Brazil between 2011 and 2018. In the field of toponomastics there is some degree of uniformity resulting from both the use of the same research paradigm and the development of projects dedicated to the production of toponymic atlases in several regions of the country. In the field of anthroponomastics, however, there is dispersion and fragmentation of anthroponymic studies due to non-affiliation with the field by some sociolinguistics and literature researchers The comparison between research papers in this review and a number of onomastic studies in Europe reveals that the socio-onomastic field is an emerging one in both Brazil and Europe. There are investigations that relate the studies of linguistic settings to toponymic studies and socio-anthroponomastic investigations based on data collection in written documents or data generation through field investigations. The existence of comparative anthroponomastic research and studies dealing with theory, methodology and literature review in the field of anthroponomastics can be observed. Studies about Brazilian indigenous onomastics and secondary non-official personal names used by Brazilian city councilors has been found just in Brazil in the literature review presented in this paper.
The practice of giving animal research subjects proper names is frowned on by the academic scientific community. While researchers provide a number of reasons for desisting from giving their animal subjects proper names, the most common are that (1) naming leads to anthropomorphising which, in turn, leads to data and results that are unobjective and invalid; and (2) while naming does not necessarily entail some mistake on the researcher’s part, some feature of the research enterprise renders the practice impossible or ill-advised.
Jessica du Toit (Western University, Canada) aimed to assess whether the scientific community’s attitude towards naming animal research subjects is justified. That is, he wishes to consider whether the practice of naming animal research subjects is good or bad for the purposes of scientific research. After reviewing the extant literature, he constructed a list of the main arguments researchers provide for desisting from naming their animal research subjects. He then analysed these arguments, with a view to determining whether they in fact provide good reasons to avoid naming animal research subjects. Read more here.
This paper (published in Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America, Vol 5, No 1 (2020) identified macro trends and phonological patterns of 348 million American baby names over 137 years from 1880 to 2017. The analysis showed that sociolinguistic trends have significantly influenced naming over time, as seen in the rise of individualism and unisex names, the impact of public figures and pop culture, and the substantially higher count of unique female names compared to male names. In addition, phonological analysis showed significant differences between male and female names in the number, type, and location of vowels as well as the number of syllables. On average, female names had more vowels, less consonants, and more syllables than male names. Also, names with certain wordfinal vowels and consonants were identified to be mostly-female or mostly-male. These findings demonstrated an inherent correlation between phonology and the perceived gender of names.
Congratulations to McGill BA student, Marielle Côté-Gendreau, who was recently awarded the American Name Society Emerging Scholar Award, which recognizes “outstanding scholarship of a names researcher in the early stages of his/her academic or professional career”. She received the award for her submitted article “Tracking Napoleon, his name and his myth in 19th century French Canada: Sociodemographic regard on a revealing naming pattern“, at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society, which meets concurrently with the Linguistics Society of America, last week in New Orleans. Congratulations Marielle!
The new publication on religious toponyms has been recently published by Anna Mambelli and Valentina Marchetto.
At what point is a place perceived as holy? And when does it become officially so in its definition? Inspired by the UNESCO debate and decisions made concerning holy places, the authors seek answers to these questions. “Naming the Sacred” is a diachronic excursus into the issues of perception and denomination of holy places. The volume examines historical cases in which names and places have been modified or literally eliminated and others where places were subject to policies of protection and tutelage. The work appertains to an ongoing, evolving global debate where the challenge of the reciprocal recognition of holy sites has become increasingly complex.
Two men — one a 19th century explorer and the other a 20th century surveyor of the Australian outback — suffered blinding ophthalmia during crucial times in their exploits. Each then undertook a distinctive step in toponymy by naming places in the Australian landscape after their afflictions, each place given a different name. Ophthalmia Range was named by Ernest Giles in 1876 after suffering debilitating conjunctivitis, known as ophthalmia in the 19th century. Sandy Blight Junction was named by Len Beadell in 1960 when he too suffered from this disease, also known as “blight” or “sandy blight”. While there has been speculation that what these men suffered was actually trachoma, this cannot be proven. This is both the story of how these places acquired their names and a study of what motivated these men to undertake such unique acts.
Changing Names investigates, in relation to the ancient Greek world, the ways in which preferences in personal name-giving change: through shifts in population, cultural contact and imperialism, the popularity of new gods, celebrity status of individuals, increased openness to external influence, and shifts in local fashion.
Several major kinds of change due to cultural contact occurred: Greek names spread in regions outside Greece that were subject to Greek cultural influence (and later conquest), while conversely the Roman conquest of the Greek world led to various degrees of adoption of the Roman naming system; late in antiquity, Christianisation led to a profound but rather gradual transformation of the name stock.
This freshly released 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 events of modern history: the Holocaust. More specifically, this book examines 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, this work stands alone in its investigation of the importance of naming both for this horrific period and for other genocidal periods of human history.
The author, I. M. Nick, is a researcher in sociolinguistics, editor-in-chief of Names: The Journal of the American Name Society, and president of the Germanic Society for Forensic Linguistics. She is the Immediate Past President of the American Name Society.
Onomastic Experts Sought for the NAMES Editorial Board
To compensate for the growing number of submissions NAMES is receiving, the number of article reviewers for the Editorial Board is being expanded. Toward that end, NAMES Editor-in-Chief Dr. I. M. Nick is currently soliciting applications for new Board members. Members of the Board are expected to critically assess submissions on the following points: 1) scientific contribution to onomastic studies; 2) interest for NAMES readers; and 3) adherence to the stylistic, grammatical, and formatting regulations of the NAMES Style Sheet. Members of the board typically review two submissions per month by providing detailed evaluations of ca. 500 words. Onomastic experts are particularly needed in the areas of place names, literary onomastics, brandnames, and trade names. Along with their reviewing duties, once a year, the members of the Editorial Board also vote to select the Best Article of the Year.
If you are interested in applying to become a member of the Board, please complete and return the application via the following link: <https://nick662.typeform.com/to/P6dzaz>. All members of the Board are expected to be members of the ANS in good-standing. Should you have any questions about the Board, please do not hesitate to contact, NAMES Editor-in-Chief, Dr. I. M. Nick (firstname.lastname@example.org).