A recent article in The Washington Post recounts the decision of Fairfax County leaders to rename two major highways that were once named for Confederate leaders. “Lee Highway” will be known as “Route 29” and “Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway” will be come “Route 50”. Read more over at The Washington Post.
In a recent book review in The Wall Street Journal, Steven Poole explores the origins of the name “metaverse.” The name first appears in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel “Snow Crash” and recurs in the imaginations of its readers ever since. Poole asks: can human life still flourish in the metaverse? Read more over at The Wall Street Journal.
From Grace Gomashie:
“The Executive Committee is pleased to announce Drs. Marcienne Martin and Rebekah Ingram as the next editors of the journal. Dr. Martin is Editor, French Language and Dr. Ingram is Editor, English Language Editor. They will serve for a three-year term, which begins this fall. We look forward to their brilliant leadership in starting this new chapter of the journal.
The appointment of the editors means that Onomastica Canadiana has resumed publication. Onomastica Canadiana is now inviting submissions in English or French. Papers in any area of onomastics are welcome. Please visit the journal’s website to submit your contributions. Please submit any question to Dr. Martin or Dr. Ingram.”
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal details the latest woes at Ford Motor Company: the manufacturer of the iconic blue Ford insignia has slowed production of the logo. The supplier, Tribar Technologies, slowed manufacturing in recent months due to an environmental regulatory order:
“A Michigan-based supplier that has made badges for Ford in the past had to limit operations in August, after disclosing to Michigan regulators it had discharged industrial chemicals into a local sewer system, according to city and state officials.”
The badge shortage is just one of many supply shortages that plagued manufacturers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his September 25th column, he looks at the name Heather.
Happy Birthday to Sammy Jo and Amanda!
Heather Locklear, the actress who played golddigger Sammy on the original “Dynasty” (1981-1989) and manipulative Amanda Woodward on “Melrose Place” (1993-1999), turns 61 today.
In addition, the movie version of musical “Heathers,” based on the 1988 cult teen comedy film featuring three “queen bee” high schoolers all named Heather, premiered on Roku Sept. 16.
Heather is a low-growing evergreen shrub found throughout Europe. It’s especially common in northern England and Scotland, where its purple flowers cover the moors every summer. The plant’s name was originally “hathir.” This probably had a Celtic source, but its spelling was altered through confusion with “heath,” from Old English for “flat shrubby wasteland.”
Many cultures have named girls after flowers. Rose and Violet were used in medieval England, though Rose also came from a Norman name meaning “famous sort.” When the Victorians revived Rose and Violet along with other medieval names, creative parents were inspired to use other plant names. Girls called Lily, Pansy, Hazel, Fern, Daisy and Laurel soon sprang up.
The first British girls named Heather appeared by 1880. Though the flower was common in Scotland, the name was more common in England, probably because Scots didn’t have the same romantic image of heather English and Americans did.
Initially, Heather was one of the rarest flower names. The first Heather in the United States census, Heather Bremer of Dayton, Ohio, was a boy born in 1871. His parents were probably inspired by the rare surname Heather. In later records he’s “Robert Heather Bremer.”
Recently we shared a story about the rise of unique baby names in America over the course of the last few decades. A new study reveals that those same unique and hard-to-pronounce names might have an impact on job callbacks. The Wall Street Journal reports on the study of 1,500 economics PhD’s looking for academic, government, and private sector jobs, and concludes:
“Overall, people with complex names had a 10% lower chance of getting an academic job—generally the most desirable for economics Ph.D. candidates—over the next year. But there was a big split within those results. For candidates from top-ranked doctoral programs, having a complex name only decreased their chance of placing in an academic job by 5%, but for those coming from lower-ranked Ph.D. programs, a complex name decreased their chance by 12%. In other words, the penalty is small for those coming from top programs, but it is large for those coming from lesser ranked programs, Dr. Wu says.”
Ever thought about getting more involved with the American Name Society? Here is your opportunity! The American Name Society is currently looking for a few good people who are interested in joining the Executive Council. Starting in 2023, new officers will be needed to fill the positions listed below.
To apply for one or more of these Executive Council positions, please fill out the application form on this page.
Vice President (2023-2025)
The person elected to this position is primarily responsible for co-organizing the ANS annual conference in close cooperation with the ANS President. As conference co-chair, the person in this position will issue an official call for papers, organize a team of reviewers, design the program of paper presentations, and coordinate with the Linguistic Society of America and the other linguistic affiliates or “Sister Societies”: the American Dialect Society (ADS), the Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL), the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the America (SSILA), The Association for Linguistic Evidence (TALE), and the North American Association for the History of Language Sciences (NAAHoLS). In addition to these duties, the VP also serves as a voting member of the Executive Council and, as such, is actively involved in the legislative process of the ANS. The person selected for this office has the option of running for the office of ANS President, at the end of his/her term. Candidates for this position are expected to have superior organizational, time-management, and communication skills.
Allied Conference Coordinator (2023-2025)
The person elected to this position is principally responsible for organizing the ANS session at the annual conference of the Modern Language Association. This activity involves issuing a call for papers, assembling a team of abstract reviewers, selecting three authors whose work will be presented at the MLA conference, and coordinating the presentation of the three winning abstracts with the MLA administration. In addition to these duties, as a voting member of the ANS Executive Council (EC), the Allied Conference Coordinator participates in the legislative decision-making of the Society. Although the term of service for this position is for two years, the holder of this office may be re-elected pending approval by the EC. Given the fact that this position requires close communication with the MLA, candidates who have a demonstrated expertise in literary onomastics will receive preference.
A recently published guide in the Wall Street Journal helps readers interpret and decipher a wine label. A veritable Rosetta Stone for label readers, grape enthusiasts, and vineyard dilettantes alike, this short guide helps any imbiber get the most out of a wine label.
One fascinating fact: “For a wine to be labeled “estate-bottled,” 100% of the wine must come from grapes grown on land owned or controlled by the winery, and both the winery and the vineyard must be located within the labeled viticultural area.”
Following King Charles III ascension to the throne, a major rebranding effort is underway. Where the phrase “Her Majesty’s” was found on everything including “British coins, flags, post boxes, chocolate wrappers, gin labels and attorney business cards,” now the phrase “His Majesty’s” will appear. For more on this rebranding effort, see this article in the Wall Street Journal.
When Prince Charles became King Charles III last Thursday, he adopted a name with a storied history. A recent article by the Associated Press explores the history of the name “Charles” as it was used by Kings of England. The stories of seventeenth century King Charles I and King Charles II—both of which were defined by civil war and reunion—are featured.