ANS Member Research: “American and Russian Nicknames of Persons” by Anna Tsepkova

Recently presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society, Anna Tsepkova’s work explores American and Russian Nicknames. You can watch the presentation here:

Watch this video on YouTube here:



Nicknames of persons coined by means of mixing linguistic and extralinguistic motives form a unique group of unconventional anthroponyms performing identifying and characterizing functions by means of combining a person’s official name with lexemes referring to qualities, attributes, situations associated with nickname-bearers. These nicknames are formed by means of:

  • substituting a name by an appellative sounding similar (false etymology): Madison from Maddie + “always mad at something” (US); Парадокс / Paradox from Paradovsky + an irregular person (Rus);
  • substituting a last name by an appellative reviving its etymology: Blood from Trueblood + “a cool head under stressful situations” (US); Goose from Goosev + appearance (Rus);
  • blending a name with an appellative: Encyclo’pete’ia from Pete + “no matter what you talked about he thought he was an expert on it…” (US); Olgushonok from Olga + lyagushka [frog]: cold limbs (Rus);
  • inevitable associations with a famous name / person: Marco Polo from Mark + “always looking for an adventure” (US);
  • meaningful abbreviations of first, middle/patronymic, last names: M&M: “because I love M&Ms and m is the first letter in my first and last name” (US); ОМ from initials of the teacher of physics / reference to Ohm (Rus).

If small in number (46 nicknames / 5.5% in the American sample; 54 / 1.5% in the Russian sample), this group is the most diverse in terms of coinage patterns, demonstrating the phenomenon of linguistic creativity, aimed at catching and carrying multifaceted audio-visual and emotional experiences of human interaction.


Anna Tsepkova is an Associate Professor in the English Language Department at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University (Siberian region of Russia) and has a PhD in Philology. She is a Fulbright Alumna, a member of ICOS and the ANS. She is currently working on “A Cross-Cultural Dictionary of American and Russian Nicknames”


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Call for Papers: The 2025 Annual Meeting of the American Name Society


Call for Papers

The 2025 Annual Meeting of the

American Name Society

ONLINE (via Zoom)

22 February 2025

The American Name Society is now inviting proposals for papers for its next annual conference. The one-day event will be held virtually via Zoom, allowing for the attendance of onomastics scholars from around the world. The 2025 ANS conference will not be held in conjunction with the Linguistics Society of America conference.

Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome: personal names, place names, business and institutional names, names theory, names in literature, among others.

Proposals require these elements:

  • Title of proposed paper
  • 250-word abstract
  • Shorter 100-word abstract suitable for inclusion in conference program
  • 50-word biography suitable for inclusion in conference program

To submit a proposal, complete the 2025 Author Information Form found here:

Email completed forms to Dr. Michel Nguessan at:

For organizational purposes, place “ANS2025” in the subject of your email.

The DEADLINE for receipt of abstracts is July 31, 2024.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Notification of proposal acceptances will be sent by September 30, 2024. Authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of ANS and must register for the annual meeting. Please contact Dr. Michel Nguessan at the above email address if you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Download a PDF copy of this call for papers here.

Call for Abstracts: On Names, Naming, and Diversity in Youth Literature

Call for Abstracts

Call for Book Chapter Proposals On Names, Naming, and Diversity

in Youth Literature

Recent years have seen a significant increase in works of fiction that champion and celebrate diversity and inclusion for young readers.  This literary evolutionary literature has also introduced children, to the enormous diversity of.  The current call is for book chapters that examine how youth literature use names to present that child, adolescent, teen, and tween readers ethnic, cultural, linguistic, neurological, religious, diversity.  Proposals centered on the use of names and naming in youth literature dealing with individuals, families, and communities from the following groupings are particularly, but by no means exclusively welcomed:

  1. ethnoracial minorities, including those with mixed heritage
  2. The differently abled
  3. LGBTQ+
  4. communities of faith
  5. Immigrants and asylum-seekers

Although the proposals must be in English, the works selected for examination may include other languages. Proposals will be judged upon their thematic fit and potential to make a substantive contribution to the fields of onomastics and literary studies.  All Interested authors are asked to submit formal proposals using the following guidelines.

Proposal Submission Process

  • Abstract proposals (max. 500 words, excluding the title and references) should be sent as a PDF email attachment to Professor I. M. Nick (
  • For organizational purposes, the proposals must include “DIVERSITY” in the subject line of the email
  • All proposals must include an abstract, title, and a preliminary list of references;
  • The full name(s) of the author(s) and their affiliation(s) must appear in the body of the email. These details should NOT appear in the attached proposal.
  • In the case of multi-authored submissions, one person must be clearly designated as the primary contact
  • The DEADLINE for proposal submissions is August 15, 2024. All proposals will be submitted to a double-blind review process. Authors will be notified about acceptance on or by September 15, 2024
  • Final chapters (max 7,000 words, excluding abstracts and references) will be due February 15, 2025

For further information about this call, please feel free to contact Professor I. M. Nick ( We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Boy Scouts rebranded “Scouting America”

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (Image: Public Domain)

According to an article on NPR, the Boy Scouts of America have rebranded as “Scouting America”. The 114-year-old organization embraced LGBTQ members in 2013 and opened its membership to girls in 2017. President Roger Krone is quoted in the article: “I think it’s time that we have a game that reflects the youth that we serve today and frankly, the youth that we want to welcome in the future as part of our post-bankruptcy plan for scouting.”

Read more over at NPR!

Call for Papers: Special Issue of NAMES on “Name Bias and Prejudice”

Call for Papers: Special Issue of NAMES


The American Name Society (ANS) is now issuing its first call for abstracts for an upcoming Special issue of the Society’s journal, NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics.  The theme for the 2024 Special Issue is “Name Bias and Prejudice”.  From anthroponyms to commercial names, toponyms to zoonyms, proposals focusing on any name type, in any language or culture, from any time period, and utilizing any analytical method are welcome. Proposals examining name bias and prejudice in the arts (e.g., literature, music, film, etc.) are also strongly encouraged.    However, all proposals must include a clearly articulated theoretical framework, research question(s), and a preliminary reference list.  All submissions will be subjected to blind review. The following criteria will be used in the review process: innovation; writing style and organization; argumentation; potential to make a substantive contribution to onomastic research; and adherence to the NAMES Style Sheet.  Detailed instructions for the submission process are provided below.

Proposal Submission Process

  • Abstract proposals (max. 800 words, not including references) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Professor I. M. Nick (;
  • Proposals must include a preliminary reference list that follows the formatting regulations of the NAMES Style Sheet;
  • Proposals must include “Bias” in the subject line of the email;
  • All proposals must include an abstract, a tentative title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the accompanying email and NOT within the body of the abstract;
  • DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 15 July 2024. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 15 August 2024.

For further information about this call, please feel free to contact Professor I. M. Nick (


We look forward to receiving your submission.

About Names: “Tammy” is now a Rare Name for Newborns

Tammy Wynette (Photo: Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his May 5th column, he discusses the name “Tammy”.

“Stand By Your Man.” “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad.” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” Country singer Tammy Wynette (1942-1998), who made these songs huge hits, was born Virginia Wynette Pugh 82 years ago today.

Tàmhas is a Scottish Gaelic form of Thomas (Aramaic “twin”). Lavinia Derwent’s children’s stories about slippery talking fish “Tammy Troot” have helped keep Tammy a male nickname for Thomas in Scotland.

In medieval England, Thomasin, a feminine form of Thomas, developed into Tamsin, which remained popular in southwestern England long after disappearing elsewhere.

In 1841, England’s first census found 68 female Tammys, all but one born in southwestern England’s Devon or Cornwall. Though Tammy might also come from Old Testament name Tamar (Hebrew “date palm”), only three of England’s 840 Tamars in 1841 were born in Devon and none in Cornwall, so Tammy was surely from Tamsin there.

In 1850, the first United States census listing all free residents’ names found 79 female Tammys. Checking other records on, some Tammys were Tamsins, but others, especially in New England, were officially Tamar, Tama or Tamma — the last two perhaps from how Tamar was said in 19th century New England accents.

Many of 1850’s Tammys, though, are “Tammy” everywhere, including on their tombstones.

When Social Security’s baby name data starts in 1880, not even five Tammys a year were being born. In the 1920s Tamara, Slavic version of Tamar, began appearing. Perhaps this brought Tammy back in 1934, when five arrived.

Tammy slowly grew along with Tamara, reaching the top thousand in 1947. Then in 1948, Cid Ricketts Sumner published novel “Tammy Out of Time,” about a rural Mississippi girl falling in love with a professor’s son whose plane crashes nearby.

Tammy says her full name is Tambrey, found in the book “Ladies’ Names and their Significance together with their Floral Emblems,” which says “Tambrey or Ambrey. Significance — immortal. Floral emblem — amaranth.”

In 1852 Sarah Carter published “Lexicon of Ladies’ Names With Their Floral Emblems,” one of the first American name books, which has just such an entry for Ambry — but Tambrey is purely Sumner’s invention.

In 1957 the novel became film “Tammy and the Bachelor” starring Debbie Reynolds. Its theme song, where Tammy’s “heart beats so joyfully, you’d think that he could hear,” was a hit for both Reynolds and the Ames Brothers, whose version was heard during the credits. Soon book and movie sequels appeared.

There were 256 Tammys born in 1956, and 9,987 in 1958 — over 39 times more. Tammy peaked in 1968, when 20,060 arrived, ranking it eighth. When spellings Tammie, Tami, Tammi and Tamie are added in, it ranked fifth. Tamara also took a big jump, though Tammy vaulted over it in popularity.

As States Ban “DEI”, Universities are Rebranding

“Equity, diversity, inclusion” (Photo by Quinn Dombrowski, CC-BY-SA2.0)

According to a report in The New York Times, universities are facing a challenge as local and state governments begin to ban Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives across America. To solve this problem, some universities are turning to “rebranding”: the University of Tennessee, for example, rebranded its DEI program as the “Division of Access and Engagement”. For more details, check out the article over at The New York Times.

The Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin is Now Available!

Click here to download the Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin.

In this issue, you will find:

  • The 2023 Names of the Year
  • ANS Has a New VP!
  • ANS Bylaws Revisions
  • And the Winner is… 2023 NAMES Best Article of the Year Award
  • An Interview with the Winner of the 2023 Best Article of the Year Award
  • Names: A Journal of Onomastics Reviewers Needed
  • Call for Proposals: High Desert Linguistics Society Conference
  • In Memoriam: Honoring the Legacy of ANS Members
  • ANS Executive Council 2023 End-of-Year Reports
  • 2024 ANS Executive Council

Read more in the Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin!

Report: Personal Names and Discrimination Study Results

National Bureau of Economic Research (Photo: Public Domain)

Reported by The New York Times, a National Bureau of Economic Research study of personal names revealed discrimination amongst job applicants: “On average, they found, employers contacted the presumed white applicants 9.5 percent more often than the presumed Black applicants.” “Distinctively white names” (such as “Todd” and “Allison”) and “distinctively black names” (such as “Lakisha” and “Leroy”) included names commonly-used by families of each racial background. The study found that two companies had the largest racial gap amongst their applicants and fourteen companies had the smallest racial gap amongst their applicants. Read the full study from the National Bureau of Economic Research and the report from The New York Times.

ANS 2024 Conference YouTube Videos

We are pleased to announce that all recorded presentations from the 2024 Annual meeting have now been uploaded to our YouTube channel. There are 14 videos, representing outstanding onomastics scholarship from members all over the world. Please visit our YouTube channel to view these videos, as well as those from the previous Annual Conferences!