Saturday, November 24, 2012

Professor of Onomastics Richard Coates

The next "hero of Onomastics" is Professor Richard Coates. Firstly, I have the privilege to know him personally, and in October 2012 I have been even invited for a job interview within his project FaNUK, which I will present a bit later. Secondly, as far as I know, in the European tradition and context, Prof. Coates is actually one among only two Professors of Onomastics in the UK (another one is already presented Prof. Carole Hough from the University of Glasgow, see below). For the rest of the Europe I can mention just some names with the same title: Prof. Jürgen Udolph, Prof. Enzo Caffarelli, etc

From wiki:

"Richard Coates (born 16 April 1949, in Grimsby, Lincolnshire) is an English linguist. He is professor of linguistics (alternatively professor of onomastics) at the University of the West of England, Bristol. From 1977 to 2006 he taught at the University of Sussex, where he served as professor of linguistics (1991–2006) and as Dean of the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences (1998-2003). From 1980-9 he was assistant secretary and then secretary of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain. He has been honorary director of the Survey of English Place-Names since 2003, having previously (1997–2002) served as president of the English Place-Name Society which conducts the Survey.

From 2002 to 2008, he was secretary of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences, a body devoted to the promotion of the study of names, and elected as one of its two vice-presidents from 2011-14. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1992 and of the Royal Society of Arts in 2001.
His main academic interests are proper names (from both the historical and the theoretical perspective), historical linguistics in general, the philology of the Germanic, Romance and Celtic languages, regional variation in language, and local history. He is editor of the Survey of English Place-Names for Hampshire and principal investigator of the AHRC-funded project Family Names of the United Kingdom (FaNUK), running from 2010-14, of which Patrick Hanks is lead researcher.

Prof. Coates has written books on the names of the Channel Islands, the local place-names of St Kilda, Hampshire and Sussex, the dialect of Sussex, and, with Andrew Breeze, on Celtic place-names in England, as well as about 400 academic articles, notes, and collections on related topics. In 1998, he introduced a new etymology of the name London, deriving it from the pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonidā, meaning 'boat river' or 'swim river', i.e. 'river too wide or deep to ford', and suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London; from this, the settlement gained the Celtic form of its name, *Lowonidonjon, by suffixation. His main contribution to linguistic theory is The Pragmatic Theory of Properhood, set out in a number of articles since 2000. (By the way, I have been the first who explained and introduced this theory in French in my PhD thesis of 2009!!!)

He is also the author of Word Structure, a students' introduction to linguistic morphology (Routledge), and of online resources on Shakespeare's character-names and on the place-names of Hayling Island.

Coates has often been cited as a lookalike of former The Velvet Underground singer Lou Reed, with whom he shares a striking resemblance."

The last sentence sounds interesting enough. Let's compare. Here is Lou Reed:

Well, well, well, I doupt a lot. There are some resemblant features, but they are not so striking like that...