How Atlanta got its name

Atlanta was named by J. Edgar Thomson, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad. The city was named for former Governor Wilson Lumpkin’s daughter’s. Her middle name was Atalanta, after the fleet-footed goddess.

Early settlers called the area Canebreak or Canebrake. In 1835, the federal government recognized the area with the Whitehall Post Office. Hardy Ivy was an early citizen and it was on his property that Stephen Long established the end of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Colonel Abbott Hall Brisbane, Chief Engineer of the W&A named the area Terminus in September, 1837. The name Terminus was never an official name and between 1837 and 1842 the area was also called Deanville (for Lemuel Dean) and Thrasherville (for John J. Thrasher).

In 1842 former governor Wilson Lumpkin, then president of the W&A suggested either the name Lumpkin or Mitchell for the town (Samuel Mitchell had given land to build the actual terminus). On December 23, 1842, the tiny town was incorporated as Marthasville in honor of his daughter, Martha Atalanta.

In the name of science: animal appellations and best practice

 

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.

Long-term sociolinguistics trends and phonological patterns of American names

 

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.

About Names: Leona: A tribute to a mother who set a good example by always helping others

Leona Frances Evans, mother of names columnist Cleveland Evans. She died April 2, 2020, in Tennessee. She was 98. This photo was taken at Christmas 2016.

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 11th column, he tells the story of his mother, Leona Frances Evans.

This column was first published in November 2009. It’s being reprinted in memory of Evans’ mother, Leona Frances Evans. She died April 2 in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. She was 98.

Leona is the feminine form of Leo or Leon, Latin and Greek forms of an ancient name meaning “lion.” Leo became a famous name in 440 when Leo I was elected pope. Called Leo the Great, he was the first to assert the primacy of Rome within the Catholic Church.

During the early 1800s Leona turned up occasionally as a baby name in England and Germany, but it became popular only in the United States. Between 1896 and 1921, Leona was among the top 100 names for American girls, peaking at 69th place in 1905.

Want to know more? Read on to find out!

Call for Papers: ANS 2021, San Francisco, CA, January 7-10, 2021

The American Name Society (ANS) is now inviting proposals for papers for its next annual conference. The 2021 conference will be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America. Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is June 30, 2020. To submit a proposal, simply complete the 2021 Author Information Form.

Please email this completed form to ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton using the following address: <laurelasutton@gmail.com>. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2021” in the subject line of your email.  Presenters who may need additional time to secure international funding and/or travel visas to the United States are urged to submit their proposal as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT: Because of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether the conference will proceed as planned. If the LSA decides against an in-person meeting, we will consider online alternatives so that scholars may still present their important research. We will provide updates on the conference status at the ANS website and through email.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before August 30, 2020. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS and need to register with both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton should you have any questions or concerns.

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

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Etymology Map Of London Place Names

 

How did your bit of London get its name? The Londonist has made a map. This shows significant places from all over Greater London, represented to show how they got their names.

Etymology can be a game of probabilities. Many place names were shaped so long ago that nobody can be certain if any one explanation is correct. Croydon, for example, is usually said to get its name from ‘valley of crocuses’, but other suggested derivations include ‘settlement near fresh water’, ‘crooked valley’ or ‘chalk hill’. For that reason, the labels they’ve put on the map are not universally accepted, and are open to debate.

If you’d like to make a suggestion regarding the map, be it a new addition or an alteration to an existing location, please contact Matt Brown on matt@londonist.com.

 

About Names: It’s not the popular name it used to be, but Rita is the patron saint of lost causes

Rita Moreno, actor

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 28th column, he looks at the history of the name Rita.

Rita is a short form of Margherita or Margarita, Italian and Spanish forms of Margaret, from Greek margarites (pearl). The fame of legendary St. Margaret of Antioch, swallowed by a dragon that burst open because of her holiness, made her name common across medieval Europe.

Rita became a name in its own right through St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457). Born Margherita Lotti, Rita was married against her will at age 12 to wealthy but violently abusive Paolo Mancini. Over 18 years, her patience and prayers reformed him. After Paolo was stabbed to death in a vendetta, Rita’s example of forgiveness ended the feud. She entered a convent at Cascia, legendarily levitated into its courtyard by her patron saints.

Rita ranked between 52nd and 60th all through the 1940s. As Rita Hayworth’s reign as “Love Goddess” waned, the name began its inevitable retreat, finally leaving the top 1,000 in 2003. Novelist Rita Mae Brown (1944), recording artist Rita Coolidge (1945) and comedian Rita Rudner (1953) are famous Ritas born during Hayward’s heyday. Actress and film producer Rita Wilson (1956) is newsworthy now, as she and husband Tom Hanks were among the first celebrities to announce that they had tested positive for COVID-19.

Rita Moreno, now 88, won a best supporting actress Oscar in 1961 for “West Side Story.” She went on to win a Grammy, a Tony and two Emmys, one of only 12 artists to win all four.