Thursday, August 11, 2022

Michael Falk (1931-2022)


Dr. Michael Falk, Canadian onomastician, Holocaust survivor; research chemist; piano, tennis, and Go player, passed away on 2nd August 2022. 

Michael (or just Mike for his friends and colleagues) was born in Warsaw, in 1931; he was almost eight when World War II began. Mike and his wife, Lilian, were both child survivors of the Holocaust; each of them survived the war in hiding, protected by Polish friends. Miraculously, Mike and both of his parents survived; they moved to Montreal in the late 1940s. He enrolled at McGill University, graduating with a degree in chemistry, and went on to earn a PhD at Université Laval. He met his wife in London in 1958, and they were married the following year in Israel. In late 1962 they moved to Halifax, where Mike began a long career as a research chemist at the National Research Council. After retiring, Mike kept busy researching linguistics and onomastics.

At the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, he presented the results of his analysis regarding names of the weekly day of rest in various religions and language, research that he started in 2003. In Onomastica Canadiana, he explained the origin of the demonym ‘Haligonian’ signifying an inhabitant of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and clarified why there are so many matronymics among Jewish surnames. Dr. Falk’s hypothesis can be considered as a significant factor for the explanation of the frequent use of Jewish women's surnames in the Russian Empire. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Имена известных казахстанцев получат десятки улиц в Актобе

Имена известных казахстанцев получат десятки улиц в Актобе. По-новому назовут и 20 жилых массивов. Решение приняли на внеочередной сессии городского маслихата, после чего документ направили в Республиканскую ономастическую комиссию. Как только его утвердят, местные власти приступят к реализации плана, рассказывает корреспондент «Хабар 24».

Prize of £1,000 for a research essay on the topography, development or buildings of London



At the suggestion of members, the Council of the London Topographical Society has decided to fund a new prize in honour of the late Dr Ann Saunders (1930-2019). Ann was an enthusiastic and distinguished historian of London and for thirty-five years the Society’s Honorary Editor and in that capacity helped many scholars, both young and old, to achieve publication of their work.

A prize of £1,000 will be awarded annually depending on the response and at the discretion of the Council.

It will be awarded for an original and unpublished research essay on the topography, development or buildings of London in any period.

Submissions are to be no more than 8,000 words including endnotes and should include an additional abstract/summary of about 200 words.

* Entries should be submitted as hard copy and as a Word email attachment.

* They must be accompanied by the name and address/contact details of the author.

Submissions for the prize will be considered for publication by the Society in the London Topographical Record, at the discretion of the Society’s Honorary Editor.

Entries for the prize should be sent to our Hon. Secretary, Mike Wicksteed, by 1 April 2023.  Please email your Word entry to him ( and he will provide an address to which your hard copy version should be sent.

The prize winner will be notified in time to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Society in London to be held in the summer of 2023.

Questions relating to entries should be addressed to Council Member Caroline Barron ( )

41st Annual Conference of the Place Names Society of India

 Glad to share the First Circular of 41st Annual Conference of the Place Names Society of India to be held in the Department of A.I.H.C & Archaeology, Banaras Hindu University for 3 days from 4th - 6th November 2022.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

ICOS 2021 Kraków - Opening ceremony

Speakers: Maciej Eder, Jacek Popiel, Jacek Majchrowski, Milan Harvalík, Gabriela Múcsková, Paula Sjöblom, Urszula Bijak

Today I got a bit nostalgic... 

Conference: Shifting Landscapes of the Medieval World, 14 – 15 September 2022


Conference: Shifting Landscapes of the Medieval World, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 14 – 15 September 2022



Although the word ‘landscape’ entered English in the sixteenth century, the concept of the land as it shapes and is shaped by human activity is much, much older. Much more than a backdrop to narrative, much more than a passive object of knowledge, much more than patches of space to be allocated and appropriated, landscape is revealed as playing an active part in narrative, power, and knowledge. A focus on landscape allows us to ask questions about the division between culture and nature; the boundaries between countries and cultures; the agency of the nonhuman and more than human; the role of the supernatural and the imagination in shaping history; and the ethics of landscape management, naming, and ownership.

This seminar series and follow-on conference comes at a time in which we are all, individually and collectively, rethinking our relationship to the spaces we live in and with, and our responsibility to them: we therefore anticipate a dynamic and stimulating series of conversations.


Our conference focuses on reading medieval landscapes in their multiple manifestations. We will explore themes emerging in the series of preceding seminars, as well as broadening the discussion to include aspects of other dimensions, spatial, temporal and theoretical.

Broad-ranging conceptually focussed papers, as well as explorations of specific case studies are welcomed, addressing the multifarious ways in which landscapes in the Middle Ages were read then and now. Issues addressed will include (but not be limited to):

  • the importance of shared cultural concerns in understanding landscapes;
  • the continual reconfiguration of landscapes through time and space;
  • the centrality of land in their conceptualisation;
  • the local and the cosmos;
  • the rural and urban;
  • the sacred and profane.

Methodologies will be informed by history and archaeology, texts and theory, languages and literatures, ecocriticism and ecologies, disability studies and onomastics (to name but some approaches).

One aim will be to illuminate the relationship between humans of the past and their environment in complementary ways. Another will be an interrogation of the affordances of different kinds of landscapes. The importance of various perspectives, simultaneous and continuous, will also be to the fore, included those occluded, deliberately erased and obscured. In discussing these and other subjects critically and in an open, nuanced manner, we seek to open up new ways of thinking about the shifting landscapes of the medieval world.

For information on topics discussed in the seminar series, see the blogs on the various sessions:

Monday, August 8, 2022

Volkmar Hellfritzsch (1935-2022)


We mourn the loss of our colleague, who passed away unexpectedly a week ago. After graduation from the University of Leipzig, Volkmar Hellfritzsch worked as a teacher for about thirty years. 

Along the way, he conducted studies on a wide variety of onomastic topics, especially on the development of personal names in southwestern Saxony. Two dissertations resulted from this research. From 1992 to 1998 he was a research fellow at the Institute for Slavic Studies at the University of Leipzig for the DFG project "Historical Place Name Register of Saxony" headed by Ernst Eichler and Hans Walther.

Wiki-Page about Volkmar Hellfritzsch 

His most important works: 

  • Vogtländische Personennamen. Untersuchungen am Material der Kreise Plauen und Oelsnitz. Berlin 1969 (= DS 23).
  • mit Ernst Eichler und Johannes Richter: Die Ortsnamen des sächsischen Vogtlandes. I, II. Plauen 1983 u. 1985 (= Vogtlandmuseum Plauen. Schriftenreihe Heft 50 u. 53).
  • mit Gunter Bergmann: Kleines vogtländisches Wörterbuch. Leipzig 1990.
  • Familiennamenbuch des sächsischen Vogtlandes. Berlin 1992 (= DS 37), Reprint im Verlag Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-05-001827-0.
  • Das Terminierbuch der Zwickauer Franziskaner (um 1460) als anthroponomastische Quelle. Institut für Slavistik. Universität Leipzig 1998.
  • Personennamen Südwestsachsens: Die Personennamen der Städte Zwickau und Chemnitz bis zum Jahre 1500 und ihre sprachgeschichtliche Bedeutung. Leipzig : Leipziger Univ.-Verl., 2007, ISBN 978-3-86583-162-0. (PDF)
  • (Ostmittel-)Deutsche Namenkunde. Hamburg: Baar, 2010, ISBN 978-3-935536-75-2.
  • Die Personen- und Ortsnamen im Terminierbuch (Liber Benefactorum) des Zwickauer Franziskanerklosters (um 1460). Leipzig : Leipziger Univ.-Verl., 2011, ISBN 978-3-86583-545-1.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Nordic Journal of Socio-Onomastics Nr. 2

NoSo 2·2022

Nordisk tidskrift för socioonomastik / Nordic Journal of Socio-Onomastics

Emilia Aldrin (red.), Linnea Gustafsson (red.), Lennart Ryman (red.)

Price from SEK 220

Nordisk tidskrift för socioonomastik / Nordic Journal of Socio-Onomastics (NoSo) is a platform for research that explores the role of names in societies and in social interaction. The journal has a broad approach, including historical as well as contemporary data, different methods, and both theoretical and practical research questions. The focus is Nordic in the sense that the research presented should be of interest from a Nordic point of view.


Terhi Ainiala, Paula Sjöblom & Ulla Hakala: Kommunens namn i kommunsloganer: perspektiv från lingvistik och marknadsföring / Municipalities’ names in municipal slogans: Linguistic and marketing perspectives

Daniel Duncan: Chronotopes and commodification on the Streets of St. Charles

Linnea Gustafsson: Social aspects of introducing the multiple forename system in Skellefteå, Sweden: 1720–1890

Sofia Kotilainen: Using the concept of onomastic literacy as an analytical tool: A methodological examination of the names of European royal families

Helle Lykke Nielsen, Maria Löfdahl, Tove Rosendal, Johan Järlehed & Tommaso Milani: Moskéer i Göteborg: Självpositionering i det urbana rummet / Mosques in Gothenburg: Self positioning in the urban space

Lennart Ryman: Gamla örtug – ett binamn i det senmedeltida Stockholm? / Gamla örtug – a byname in late medieval Stockholm?

Soft cover
136 pages

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Online symposium "People’s Names: Identities and Inequalities"


People’s Names: Identities and Inequalities


On behalf of the People’s Names Research Network, Associate Professor of Sociology Dr Jane Pilcher of Nottingham Trent University is pleased to present this free online globally available symposium on names, identities and inequalities.


From: Wednesday 14th September 2022, 1.30 pm (GMT)

To: Wednesday 14th September 2022, 5pm (GMT).

Where: online, with booking via Eventbrite


Event details

Personal names are core components of identities – and therefore are also inherently linked to issues of equality and social justice. This free online symposium features a range of international social scientists at different stages of their careers. Their work showcases the opportunities the study of names presents for our understanding of people’s identities and experiences, and how the social science of personal names can help promote social and democratic inclusion and transformation at global, national and local levels.  Contact: Dr.Jane Pilcher, Associate Professor of Sociology (


Keynote speaker - Dr Karen Pennesi, Western University, Canada: (Don't) Say Their Names: Indexing Social Injustice through (Re-)Naming


Karen Pennesi is Associate Professor of Linguistic and Sociocultural Anthropology. Karen’s research explores how language plays an integral part in the processes of constructing individual and group identities. Her current focus is on personal names, and their importance in relation to immigration, social integration and belonging. Karen is particularly interested in the experiences of people whose names do not fit into the legal, institutional and conventional frameworks for the structure, spelling and pronunciation of names in Canada. Her research aims to promote understanding and respect for everyone in linguistically and culturally diverse societies. 


Booking information




13.30 – 13.35 


Jane Pilcher, Nottingham Trent University, UK 

The People’s Names Research Network

13.35 – 13.55 

Paper 1

Emilia Aldrin, Halmstad University, Sweden



Naming Diversity: Textbook name choice as a mirror of evolving cultural & gender constructions in Sweden from the 1920's to the 2010's

13.55 – 14.15 

Paper 2

Julia Sinclair-Palm & Westley Partington, Carleton University, Canada

Finding Joy in a Name: Trans youths’ experiences of names & naming practices


14.15 – 14.35

Paper 3

Hannah Deakin-Smith*, Jane Bryan^ & Jane Pilcher* (*Nottingham Trent University & ^Warwick University, UK

The (Mis)Pronunciation of Names: experiences of university students in England & Wales

14.35 – 14.45

10 min Q & A

Chaired by TBA


14.45 - 14.50

5 mins break

5 mins break

5 mins break

14.50 – 15.10

Paper 4

Francesco Cerchiaro, University of Leuven, Belgium

“What About a Muslim Name?”: religion, ethnicity & family kinship in naming practices among mixed couples with a Muslim partner (in Italy, France and Belgium).

15.10 - 15.30

Paper 5

Federica Guccini, Western University, Canada

Conceptualizing a Decolonial Framework for Language & Naming Practices: A translanguaging approach to names


15.30 - 15.50

Paper 6

Ayokunmi Ojebode, University of Nottingham, UK 


Connecting Worlds, Performing Identities: Peeking Through Lens of British-Nigerian Actors’ Names in Hollywood


15.50 – 16.00

10 min Q & A

Chaired by TBA


16.00 - 16.10

10 mins break

10 mins break

10 mins break

16.10 – 16.45

Keynote address

Karen Pennesi, Western University, Canada

(Don't) Say Their Names: Indexing social injustice through (re-)naming


16.45 – 16.55

10 min Q & A

Chaired by Jane Pilcher


16.55 – 17.00

Closing remarks

Jane Pilcher




Friday, July 15, 2022

VII Xornada de Onomástica Galega


A onomástica literaria

A onomástica literaria, que estuda a función e a significación dos nomes propios na literatura, é un campo pouco explorado no ámbito galego, pese ó grande rendemento que moitos dos nosos escritores lle teñen tirado. A VII Xornada de Onomástica Galega, organizada pola Real Academia Galega co apoio da Deputación de Pontevedra, centrarase nesta cuestión para examinar o seu uso en determinados autores e para explorar novos camiños de pescuda.

Para asistir é necesario formalizar a inscrición enviando un correo electrónico antes do 12 de outubro a

Programa da VII Xornada de Onomástica Galega. A onomástica literaria

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Postgraduate degree in Hispanic and Catalan-Valencian Onomastics


The Continuing Education Center of the University of Lleida offers a Postgraduate Degree in Hispanic and Catalan-Valencian Onomastics. 

Please, find the calendar, content program, teachers, admission requirements and so… You can also pre-register or request more information.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Geographical Names as Indicators of the Environment


Read and enjoy the Information Bulletin of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (formerly UNGEGN Newsletter) Nr. 63 (June 2022)

This release of the Bulletin makes significant contributions to this guideline, focusing on one particular aspect of these "connections of geographical names to the natural environment". It makes clear that these connections are neither automatic nor direct. A place name results from specific initial
conditions, such as the absence of a prior name or the significance of what it describes or evokes. Its durability then depends on its resistance to other motivations encountered in the history of the place.

A toponymy cannot therefore constitute a scientific inventory of environmental conditions – or of anything else, by the way. On the other hand, it enriches such an inventory with the testimony of a whole collective memory. It thus integrates technical and political elements into a synthesis of deeply human value that naturally concerns the United Nations.

Le patrimoine toponymique autochtone mis en valeur dans une nouvelle carte interactive


À l’occasion de la Journée nationale des peuples autochtones, le ministre de la Langue française, M. Simon Jolin-Barrette, dévoile la carte interactive Éléments du patrimoine toponymique autochtone du Québec.

Cette carte, diffusée par la Commission de toponymie, met en lumière des noms de lieux abénakis, innus, naskapis et wendat particulièrement significatifs. Ces noms ont été retenus par des représentants de communautés autochtones en raison de leur valeur sur le plan culturel, que ce soit parce qu’ils désignent des entités géographiques importantes dans l’histoire des communautés ou encore parce qu’ils revêtent une symbolique forte pour elles.

Des extraits sonores, enregistrés par des membres des communautés représentées, permettent d’entendre la prononciation des toponymes.

Cette carte s’ajoute aux nombreux outils de la Commission de toponymie qui contribuent à la valorisation des noms de lieux du Québec.


« La Commission de toponymie reconnaît l’importance de la toponymie autochtone en tant que partie intégrante du patrimoine toponymique québécois et elle souhaite contribuer à sa sauvegarde et à sa diffusion. »

Simon Jolin-Barrette, ministre de la Langue française

« Je salue l’initiative de la Commission de toponymie, qui permet de mettre en relief les noms autochtones qui font partie de notre héritage collectif. Cet outil contribuera à mieux faire connaître la richesse de cet héritage et permettra de se rapprocher. »

Ian Lafrenière, ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones

Faits saillants

  • La Commission de toponymie lance une carte interactive qui met en valeur le patrimoine toponymique autochtone.
  • La carte présente les noms de lieux choisis par sept communautés appartenant à quatre des onze nations autochtones du Québec. Les noms de lieux retenus par d’autres communautés seront progressivement ajoutés.
  • La toponymie officielle du Québec compte plus de 14 000 noms de lieux d’origine autochtone. La Commission de toponymie reconnaît et diffuse en outre plus de 2 000 noms de lieux traditionnels des Premières Nations et des Inuits.
  • Cette quatrième carte interactive s’ajoute à d’autres outils qui mettent en valeur le patrimoine toponymique et culturel du Québec, comme la Banque de noms de lieux du Québec, et s’inscrit ainsi dans la mission de la Commission.
  • Créée en 1912, la Commission procède à l’inventaire et à la conservation des noms de lieux. Elle les officialise, les diffuse et donne son avis au gouvernement sur toute question touchant la toponymie.

Liens connexes


Chantal Bouchard
Relations avec les médias
Commission de toponymie
514 873-6567 ou, sans frais, 1 888 873-6202

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Ландшафтни термини за назоваване на водни обекти в микротопоними

Секция: Българска ономастика Надежда Данчева (Институт за български език „Проф. Любомир Андрейчин“, Българска академия на науките) Ландшафтни термини за назоваване на водни обекти в микротопоними от Западна България

New Chair of the National Authority on Gaelic place-names in Scotland


A Gaelic linguist from South Uist has been appointed as Chair of Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA), the national authority on Gaelic place-names in Scotland.

Lexicographer, translator and Gaelic singer Ruaraidh MacIntyre has taken over the position from Roy Pedersen, author of the first comprehensive Gaelic map of Scotland, who served as Chair for AÀA for eight and a half years.

AÀA provides guidance to a wide variety of organisations for various purposes including bilingual and Gaelic road signs, commercial signs, maps, presentation and research, and receives core funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Ruaraidh has a life-long passion for Gaelic language and culture and studied Gaelic at the University of Glasgow, where he developed his interest in place-names, researching the Gaelic place-names of Benbecula for his dissertation.  On graduating in 2014, he took up a post in Gaelic policy at the Scottish Government, through which he represented the Government on AÀA’s committee and provided invaluable support. Ruaraidh left the Scottish Government in 2020 to train as a lexicographer for Faclair na Gàidhlig, and was invited to remain on AÀA’s committee as independent Vice-chair.

Ruaraidh’s experience serving on AÀA’s committee for seven and a half years, and his passion for and knowledge of Gaelic language and linguistics, make him the ideal candidate for Chair.

(Read more by following link above)