Ophthalmia and the toponymy of outback Australia

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.

The Most Common Last Names in North America

To determine the most common last name in every country, NetCredit analyzed surname data from genealogy portal Forebears.io, various country censuses and other sources. Etymological information came from the Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names, the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, and a number of other sources.

The United States is representative of the mix of surnames found throughout the North American continent. Brown, the most common surname in Jamaica, is the fourth most popular U.S. surname. Rodriguez, the most common surname in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama and the Bahamas, is also very common in the U.S. The list of the top 25 surnames in the United States includes the most common surname in two-thirds of North American countries.

Geographical Names Board calling for feedback on Medowie public reserve name

The Port Stephens community (New South Wales, Australia) is being called on by the Geographical Names Board to have their say about a proposal to formally name a Medowie reserve after the iconic Bower bird.

Board chair Narelle Underwood said feedback was being sought on Port Stephens Council’s proposal to name a public reserve located north of Topaz Avenue, within The Bower residential estate, as Bower Reserve. “It is important that place names reflect the character and history of the local area and community,” Mrs Underwood said. They want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to provide their feedback on the proposed name. According to the submission, the name is derived from the estate name that the reserve is located in.

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Names of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the Names of the Year for 2019. The names selected will be ones that best illustrate, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States. It is not necessary, however, for a nominated name to have originated in the US. Any name can be nominated as long as it has been prominent in North American cultural discourse during the past year. For example, the Overall Names of the Year for 2017 and 2016 were Rohingya and Aleppo. Jamal Khashoggi was chosen the Name of the Year for 2018. Charlie Hebdo, the title of the French satirical magazine, won Trade Name of the Year in 2015.

Nominations are called for in the five following categories:

  • Personal Names: Names or nicknames of individual real people or individual animals.
  • Place Names: Names or nicknames of any real geographical location, including all natural features, political subdivisions, streets, and buildings. Names of national or ethnic groups based on place name could be included here.
  • Trade Names: Names of real commercial products, as well as names of both for-profit and non-profit incorporated companies and organizations, including businesses and universities.
  • Artistic & Literary Names: Names of fictional persons, places, or institutions, in any written, oral, or visual medium, as well as titles of art works, books, plays, television programs, or movies. Such names are deliberately given by the creator of the work.
  • E-Names:  Names of persons, figures, places, products, businesses, institutions, operations, organizations, platforms, and movements that exist in the virtual world.
  • Miscellaneous Names:  Any name which does not fit in the above five categories, such as names created by linguistic errors, names of particular inanimate objects, names of unorganized political movements, names of languages, etc. In most cases, such items would be capitalized in everyday English orthography.

Winners will be chosen in each category, and then a final vote will determine the overall Name of the Year for 2019. Anyone may nominate a name. All members of the American Name Society attending the annual meeting will select the winner from among the nominees at the annual ANS meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 3, 2020. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.

Advance nominations must be received before January 1, 2020. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, by e-mail to either Dr. Cleveland K. Evans: <cevans@bellevue.edu> or Deborah Walker:<debwalk@gmail.com>

The Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

About Names: Has Elsa become a more popular name due to ‘Frozen?’

Elsa the character is so ubiquitous, helping to sell everything from lamps and Lego to pillows and piggy banks, that parents might be avoiding the name.

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his November 23rd column, he looks at the history of the name Elsa.

 Elsa is a Germanic short form of biblical saint’s name Elizabeth, which is Hebrew for “my God is an oath.” The first famous Elsa was also a fictional princess. Around 1200, German knight Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote “Parzival.” This epic poem includes the story of Lohengrin, Parzival’s son. When the Duke of Brabant leaves his throne to daughter Elsa, Lohengrin arrives in a boat pulled by a swan, promising to defend Elsa’s reign if she never asks his name. He weds Elsa. They rule Brabant for years until she finally asks the forbidden question, when he glides away in the swan boat.

The 1850 United States census included 1,169 Elsas. Elsa was still mostly a nickname. Immigration increased the number of Elsas and established it as a separate name. On Social Security’s yearly lists, Elsa peaked at 215th in 1890. After “Frozen” was released, newborn Elsas more than doubled in 2014, ranking the name 286th, but that was a flash in the pan. By 2018, Elsa plummeted to 888th, a startling reversal.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Elsas in history!

Renaming climate change: can a new name make us take action?

 

As a professional namer, Aaron Hall found himself thinking about the terms “climate change” and “global warming.” Are these scientific terms too neutral? Could the tools of branding and brand naming create a more resonant, powerful name to grab attention and inspire people to take action?

With all of this in mind, his team of wordsmiths developed the following new names for climate change: Global Meltdown, Global Melting, Climate Collapse, Climate Chaos, Boiling Point, Melting Point or Scorched Earth.

These options are subtle brand shifts from “global warming,” yet they deliver a more negative image. A meltdown is a disastrous event that draws from the ultimate terror of a nuclear meltdown, an apt metaphor for global destruction. In naming, we call metaphorical names “suggestive names,” and they are one of the most popular types of names.

Which do you like most?

Call for papers “Mapping Space Mapping Time Mapping Texts”, July 16-17 2020, London, UK

This two-day interdisciplinary conference is hosted by the AHRC Funded Chronotopic Cartographies project in partnership with The British Library. It comes out of primary research into the digital visualisation of space and time for fictional works that have no real-world correspondence. Chronotopic Cartographies develops digital methods and tools that enable the mapping of literary works by generating graphs as “maps” directly out of the coded text.

We invite submissions in the form of either 20-minute papers or 5-minute poster sessions. Individuals giving a paper or poster may also wish to run informal workshops for shared knowledge exchange.

Abstract Deadline: 31st January 2020.
E-mail abstracts to Dawn Stobbart: d.stobbart1@lancaster.ac.uk

About Names: Though of German origins, the name Irma really took off in France

Marion Rombauer Becker looks over “Joy of Cooking” with her mother, Irma Rombauer, in 1951. Irma Rombauer first published the cookbook in 1931.

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his November 8th column, he looks at the history of the name Irma.

The ninth edition of “Joy of Cooking” came out. Its first edition was privately published by author Irma S. Rombauer (1877-1962) in 1931.

Irma is a short form of Germanic names starting with “ermen,” meaning “whole” or “all.” Emma was originally a Norman French form of the same name. Several medieval saints in England and Germany had “ermen” names. Sixth-century forest hermit St. Ermelinde (“whole-soft”) is venerated in Belgium. St. Irmgard (“whole-enclosure”) of Chiemsee (830-866) was a great-granddaughter of Charlemagne who became an abbess. St. Ermenburga (“whole-fortress”) was a Queen of Mercia in England who founded a nunnery.

Unlike Emma, Irma wasn’t used as a name in its own right until around 1700. Though this began in Germany, Irma’s first big success came in France.

Homemaker humorist Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) is probably the most famous person with the “E” spelling, though gospel singer Erma Franklin (1938-2002), older sister of Aretha, is also well-known.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Irmas in history!

Voprosy Onomastiki (Problems of Onomastics) publishes Vol. 16 (2019), Issue 3

The editorial board of the journal Voprosy Onomastiki (Problems of Onomastics) is pleased to inform you of the publication of Vol. 16 (2019), Issue 3. The issue is available on the journal’s website.

 

Articles

Litvina, A., Uspenskij, F. Veneration of Baptismal Saints in Russia in the 16th–17th Centuries

Borovik, Iu. V. Personal Names of Newborns in the Old Believer Communities of Ekaterinburg in the Early 20th Century

Plotnikova, A. A. Notes on the Regional Features of Personal Naming among the Old Believers of Latgale

Mullonen, I. I. Motivation vs Remotivation as a Source of Ethnocultural Information (Based on Place Names of Karelia)

Voronina, L. V., Melnikova, Ju. N., Skokova, T. N. Word-Formation Patterns in German Toponymy: A Dynamic Perspective

Podberezkina, L. Z. The Onomasticon of “Stolbists”

Garanin, A. A., Garanina, R. M. The Use of Eponyms in Modern Medical Terminology

Podyukov, I. A. Onomastic Representation of the Otherworld in Russian Popular Language and Culture

Madieva, G., Suprun, V., Boribaeva, G. The Scientific, Folk, and Armchair Etymology of City Names (Based on the Names of the Cities in the Republic of Kazakhstan)

Golomidova, M. V. Use of Product-Naming Techniques for Creating Official City Toponyms: Analysis of Perspectives

Kachalkova, Yu., Ruth, M. “Ideological” Urban Place Names and the Renaming of City Streets

Sudakov, G. V. Settlement Names: Problems of Conventional Usage (with Reference to Oikonyms of the Vologda Region)

Notes

Breeze, A. Doubts on Irish Iubhar ‘Yew Tree’ and Eburacum or York

Sousa, X. Geonomastics on the Web: Visualizing Surname Distributions in a Regional Space

In memoriam

Dmitrieva, T. N. Gábor J. Székely and his Contribution to the Study of Language and Toponymy of the Mansi and Other North-Ural Peoples

A Bibliography of Works by Gábor B. Székely

Academic curriculum

Bekasova, E. N., Yakimov, P. A. 4th All-Russian Conference in Memory of Boris Moiseev