REVISED Call for Papers for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, Toronto, Canada, January 7-10, 2021

ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference

January 7-10 2021, Toronto, Canada

Please note the revised deadline: MARCH 31, 2020

The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Toponyms and Literaryscapes”. Although toponyms are often taken for granted in our daily lives, they bear considerable potential for acquiring personal and social meanings depending on their contexts and co-texts of use. These multi-layered meanings are often utilized by authors as a literary resource to evoke associations or invoke evaluative positioning. Papers accepted for this panel will explore how the meaning potential of place-names—be they real or fictional—is effectively harnessed to shape literary settings within specific works or by specific authors. Examples of themes that can be addressed include toponyms choice/invention and their connotations; toponyms in translation; toponyms in literary theory; and toponyms and intertextuality.

For more information about the MLA, check out the official website.

Proposal submission process:

  1. Abstracts proposals (350 words) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr. Luisa Caiazzo (>
  2. Proposals should include “MLA 2021 proposal” in the subject line of the email;
    All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract
  3. REVISED DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 8pm GMT on 31 March 2020. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 3 April 2020
  4. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers
  5. For further information, please contact Dr. Luisa Caiazzo <>.

A downloadable version of the Call for Papers can be found here.

More information about ANS and MLA conferences is available on the Conferences page of this website.


Here’s how storms are named in the UK

While the US has been naming its storms since the 1950s, the UK only adopted the practice in 2014. Not all storms are given names – only those big enough to cause significant damage. Giving a storm a name also holds the added benefit of making it easier for people to follow the storm’s progress via news updates and social media.

In the UK, the Met Office is responsible for selecting each storm’s name, although they have asked members of the public to make suggestions as well. The 2015 campaign called #NameOurStorms prompted more than 10,000 suggestions in its very first year, providing a diverse list of potential names.

Suggestions are also taken from the Met Office’s Irish counterpart, Met Eireann. This year, they have also teamed up with the Dutch weather organisation, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) to provide the most eclectic list yet.

Once names have been submitted by the public, the Met Office takes the most popular entries to form a list, with one name beginning with each letter of the alphabet. They then move though the list in alphabetical order, alternating between male and female names as they go – that’s why Ciara was followed by Dennis this year. The Met Office also rejects names which are not “proper names” and these ones have been disregarded on that basis: Apocalypse, Baldrick, Big Boss, Bluetooth, Forkbeard, Gnasher, Hot Brew, Megatron, Noddy, root ripper, Stormageddon, Ssswetcaroline, Vader, Voldermort and branch wobbler.

Call for papers: Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, November 18-22, 2020

AAA General Call for Papers Now Open!

From Wednesday, November 18 through Sunday, November 22, thousands of anthropologists and friends of the discipline will gather in St. Louis, MO for the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

We are thrilled to announce the theme of the 2020 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in St. Louis, MO: Truth and Responsibility. “Truth and Responsibility” is a call to reimagine anthropology to meet the demands of the present moment. The imperative to bear witness, take action, and be held accountable to the truths we write and circulate invites us to reflect on our responsibility in reckoning with disciplinary histories, harms, and possibilities. To whom are we giving evidence and toward what ends? For whom are we writing? To whom are we accountable, and in what ways?

The 2020 Annual Meeting submission portal is open for the General Call for Papers. We have a variety of proposal submission types available, so use our interactive video to determine the best one for you, and submit your proposal today!

Pre-Submission Deadlines

March 18: Guest Presenter Registration request deadline (formerly Membership Exemption) for non-anthropologists or anthropologists living outside of the US or Canada who wish to present. Also the deadline to submit a Program Chair Waiver Application.

March 19: Annual Meeting registration prices increase

April 3 (3:00 p.m. EDT): New submission cutoff. Proposals must be started in the portal prior to 3:00 p.m. EDT on April 3 for consideration. The portal will not allow new submissions after this time.

April 8 (3:00 p.m. EDT): Submission deadline for submitters with active submissions.

Canadian town of Asbestos pins hopes on name-change

For nearly 150 years, the Jeffrey asbestos mine in the town east of Montreal was one of the world’s largest – and the biggest employer in town. Over the years, however, as experts learned of the dangers associated with asbestos, the town’s name has become somewhat tarnished. Amid growing frustration from residents, officials have launched a bold plan: renaming the town.

The new effort marks the second time Asbestos has tried to rebrand itself. In 2006 town councillors proposed the idea but received little support. While the current attempt will probably cost nearly $100,000, there is hope the contest will bring attention – and potential investment – to the region.


Some residents have advocated names that pay homage to the region, including City of Three Lakes. Other suggested reaching out to Indigenous groups to guidance on the traditional names for the region. Most, however, have been tongue-in-cheek, including Poumontousse (a portmanteau of “lung” and “cough”), the Hole and Asbestos 2.0.

How the name “Karen” became an insult — and a meme

This article at Vox examines the use of names like “Karen” to identify a class of people in American society. Increasingly, “Karen” in particular has emerged as the frontrunner for the average “basic white person name” — a pejorative catchall label for a wide range of behaviors thought to have connections to white privilege.

Former ANS President Dr. Iman Nick, as well as long-time member and Name of the Year Coordinator Cleve Evans, are quoted in this article, providing a scholarly and historical view of this phenomenon. Here’s a sample:

This trend might have also gotten a boost from social media, according to Dr. I.M. Nick,a nomenclature scholar and former president of the American Name Society. “The general tendency which social media users have been shown to manifest is a high frequency of shortenings and abbreviations,” she said in an email, though she hesitated to speculate on how this tendency might apply to specific names.

Click through to read more!

Call for papers: The 8th International Symposium on Linguistics, Bucharest, Romania, 22 – 23 May 2020

The “Iorgu Iordan – Alexandru Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics of the Romanian Academy invites you to participate at THE EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON LINGUISTICS (Bucharest, 22 – 23 May 2020. Symposium, as part of the traditional scientific reunions organised by the “Iorgu Iordan – Alexandru Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics, is open for national and international researchers, who are invited to participate and present papers on topics related to the Romanian language and the Romance languages from a synchronic and, in particular, diachronic perspective, as well as issues in general linguistics.

Invited speaker: Prof. Michele Loporcaro, University of Zürich

– History of Romanian language
– Philology
– Morphology and syntax
– Lexicology, lexicography, phraseology
– Dialectology, geo-linguistics and onomastics
– Phonetics, phonology
– Romance linguistics
– Pragmatics and stylistics

The duration of a presentation: 20 minutes (+ 10 minutes for discussion).

Papers can be presented in Romanian, English and French.

Those willing to participate should send the participation form no later than 8 March 2020.

All submissions are to be reviewed by the members of the scientific committee, who will decide on their inclusion in the final programme of our conference.

Deadline for acceptance: 20 March 2020.

Consultations show low support for renaming Winnipeg streets

A report heading to Winnipeg’s city council shows low support for changing street or park names or removing historical markers despite the sometimes problematic history of people they’re named after.

Community consultations for Welcoming Winnipeg: Reconciling our History shows 49 per cent of respondents did not want historical markers removed, even if, from a modern perspective, the actions of the honouree was controversial. However, 23 per cent of respondents were fine with changing or removing names.

The city of Winnipeg embarked on the community consultations after Mayor Brian Bowman announced last January that the city would review how it names streets and places, acknowledging the lack of Indigenous history in the city’s naming systems.

About Names: A famed French saint aided the name Lorraine’s reign

Actor Lorraine Toussaint (Photo Source: Caitlin Watkins)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 31st column, he looks at the history of the name Lorraine.

Lorraine is a region in northeastern France. It’s the modern form of Lotharingia, a medieval kingdom named after its first ruler, Lothair II (835-869), a great-grandson of Charlemagne. France and England fought to control northern France for centuries. In the 1300s, prophecies claiming France would be saved by “a virgin from the borders of Lorraine” began to spread. Today in English, that virgin is called St. Joan of Arc (1412-31). Though in France, she’s most often “Jeanne d’Arc,” she’s sometimes called “Jeanne de Lorraine.”

A few American parents named daughters Lorraine, probably as a variation of Laura, in the early 19th century. The 1850 census found over 30, most in upstate New York. Publicity about the Franco-Prussian War helped the name rise. This accelerated after American novelist Robert W. Chambers published “Lorraine: A Romance” in 1897. There, Lorraine, daughter of the Marquis de Nesville, is saved by (and marries) American adventurer Jack Marche after her father is killed piloting a military balloon.

Though Lorraine stayed in the top 100 until 1949, it then swiftly receded except for a minor uptick in 1985, when Lea Thompson played Marty McFly’s mom, Lorraine, in “Back to the Future.”

13th Workshop on Building and Using Comparable Corpora

If you are interested in extracting proper names and named entities from comparable corpora, do not hesitate to submit your paper for the 13th Workshop on Building and Using Comparable Corpora in Marseille (France, May 11 2020).

In the language engineering and the linguistics communities, research in comparable corpora has been motivated by two main reasons. In language engineering, on the one hand, it is chiefly motivated by the need to use comparable corpora as training data for statistical NLP applications such as statistical and neural machine translation or cross-lingual retrieval. In linguistics, on the other hand, comparable corpora are of interest in themselves by making possible cross-language discoveries and comparisons.  As such, it is of great interest to bring together builders and users of such corpora.

Call Deadline: 25-Feb-2020

Submission Information: Please see the BUCC 2018 website at