Twitter Again!: ANS Names of 2009

By Laurel Sutton

January 8, 2010

“Salish Sea” is Name of the Year

“Salish Sea” was chosen Name of the Year by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on January 9, 2010.

Salish Sea was also the Place Name of the Year. This name, created by marine biologist Bart Webber in 1988, was officially adopted as the collective name for the interior ocean waters of British Columbia and Washington state. The Salish Sea stretches from Olympia, WA to Desolation Sound in BC and includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia. The US Board on Geographic Names approved the name on November 12, 2009, after it had previously been accepted by the Geographic Names board of Canada. Webber wanted a single name for this entire body of water because forms a connected marine ecosystem. “Salish” was chosen because most of the Native American nations who lived in the area spoke languages that were part of the Coast Salish family.

Twitter was chosen as Trade Name of the Year. Although Twitter was launched in 2006, this was the year it was taken seriously as a global phenomenon. It played a major part in the protests in Iran after the disputed June election. “Twitter” was the year’s fastest-rising Google search, and it made Google’s global list (at #4) for the first time ever.

Max was voted Fictional Name of the Year because of the child hero of the classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and the 2009 film based on it. The fact that many young parents were read the book as a child helps account for Max, Maxwell, and similar names being popular baby names today.

Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III was voted Personal Name of the Year. The name of the pilot who safely landed an airliner on the Hudson River last January illustrates how a name some might find odd and even nerdish can gain a heroic image from current events.

ANS members also voted to created a special Miscellaneous Name of the Year for H1N1, the name of the influenza virus that caused worldwide concern in 2009. The replacement of the term “swine flu” by this scientific clinical term was an unusual example of government pronouncements successfully changing a popular public term.

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