Boston Globe on ANS

By Burt Alper

January 11, 2005

‘WHAT DO CANADIAN transvestite Carlos Bomp Bomp, Nabokov alias Vivian Darkbloom, and the Elizabethan put-down Lord Lackbeard have in common? Perhaps not much. But each of these invented names has been scrutinized in recent years by onamasticians.

Onomastics — the study of proper nouns — may not be quickening any pulses with its steady stream of papers on topics like “The Sociolinguistics of the `S-Word”‘ or “The Overlooked and Understudied Onomastic Hyphen.” When the American Name Society (ANS) convened last week in Philadelphia for its annual meeting, it considered the names given to Nebraska babies and recipes in colonial South Carolina, as well as literary naming from Shakespeare to Harry Potter.

But when the ANS held its annual sessions with the American Dialect Society in Oakland, Calif. this week, on the agenda were the stage names of porn stars and drag kings, the nicknames of Zimbabwean guerillas and runaway slaves, and the evolution of Ashley as a male moniker.” What’s in a Name? Inquiring Onomasticians want to know by Jascha Hoffman, Boston Globe, January 9 2005

I was there and gave a paper on geographical indicators. I’m sorry I missed Zwicky’s talk on porn star names – I bet that was a ton of fun. Support the ANS!

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