The One You Can’t Pronounce: ANS Name of The Year for 2010

By Laurel Sutton

January 10, 2011

Hooray! The American Name Society (of which I am a proud, dues-paying member) has announced their name of the year – it’s the Icelandic volcano that shut down Europe for a couple of weeks. Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatl̥aˌjœkʰʏtl̥] ( listen)) — is Icelandic for “island-mountain glacier”. Outside of Iceland, it’s generally known as “that damn volcano”.

On to the press release.


Eyjafjallajökull voted Name of the Year

The American Name Society voted Eyjafjallajökull Name of the Year for 2010 at its annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA on January 7.

Eyafjallajökull is the name of the volcano in Iceland whose eruptions last spring disrupted air travel throughout Europe.

Kemp Williams, incoming president of the American Name Society, said “Eyjafjallajökull is a great choice because the name itself and how hard it was to pronounce was a major part of the news coverage about the volcano.”

The society also chose Eyjafjallajökull as its Place Name of the year for 2010.

Quinn and Finn, the names of two teenage characters on the television show “Glee”, were chosen as Fictional Names of the Year. Both have risen in use as names for babies in the USA because of the popularity of the show and its characters.

Tea Party was chosen Trade Name of the Year. The name of this political movement, which dominated news coverage during the recent elections, is significant because of how its historical associations were used to energize the movement’s followers.

Lady Gaga was chosen personal name of the year. The stage name of the singer who was born Stefani Germanotta was chosen because of how its image and memorability have contributed to her success.

The American Name Society, founded in 1951, is professional organization devoted to the study of names and their role in society. In 2009 “Salish Sea” was the ANS Name of the Year, and in 2008 “Barack Hussein Obama” was chosen.

For more information on ANS or the Name of the Year vote, contact Cleveland Evans at [email protected], or 402-210-7458.

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