Thursday, March 30, 2017

Call for Papers for the conference "Toponyme – eine Standortbestimmung" in Germany

From the 18th to the 19th of September 2017, an international conference on toponymy entitled “Toponyme – eine Standortbestimmung” will be held in Mainz, Germany, at the Academy of Sciences and Literature.  Scientific abstracts are currently being accepted on any area of toponymic research.  Paper proposals are especially welcome in one of the following areas: unofficial place names; the grammar of place names; strategies for (re)naming place names; the compilation and use of large toponymic datasets; the visualization and digitalization of place name data; the relationship between place names and cartography.  The deadline for abstracts is the 30th of April 2017More information on this event can be found here.

The focus of the conference is to open up new perspectives for toponomic research, which are to flank the necessary traditional names lexography. In particular, new subjects, questions, perspectives and methods are to be developed and interfaces to post-biodiversity are to be explored, which can lead to further research projects. The conference is therefore aimed not only at representatives of linguistic name research but also for other linguistic disciplines (eg dialectology), historical and historical auxiliary sciences, archival and bibliology, geography, archeology.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tagung 2017 "Toponyme - eine Standortbestimmung"

Vom 18. bis zum 19. September 2017 findet in der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz eine internationale Tagung zur Toponomastik statt.

Die Erforschung der Ortsnamen (= Toponyme, d.h. Namen aller kartographisch erfassbaren und ortsfesten Objekte) weist eine traditionsreiche Geschichte auf, die sich lange Zeit v.a. im Paradigma einer historisch-philologischen Namenlexikographie bewegte und materialreiche Grundlagenwerke hervorgebracht hat (von Ernst Förstemann, Adolf Bach u. a.). Allerdings hat dieser Forschungszweig in den letzten Jahrzehnten eine schrittweise Marginalisierung innerhalb des Wissenschaftsbetriebs erfahren, die am sichtbarsten darin zum Ausdruck kommt, dass toponomastische Inhalte heute nur noch selten im Studium vermittelt werden. Doch nicht nur in den akademischen Curricula, sondern auch im Forschungsprofil der meisten Universitäten bilden Ortsnamen mittlerweile ein randständiges Thema, wenngleich sich die Situation hier in verschiedenen Teilen des deutschen Sprachgebiets unterschiedlich darstellt. Während beispielsweise die Schweizer Ortsnamenlexikographie trotz ihrer kantonalen Verfasstheit in der Regel noch universitär angebunden ist, kam es in Westdeutschland schon früh (insbesondere seit dem Scheitern des "Neuen Förstemann") zu einem kontinuierlichen und weitreichenden Rückgang der universitären Toponomastik.
Vor diesem Hintergrund bietet es sich an, eine Standortbestimmung vorzunehmen und zu fragen, welche Zukunft diese Forschungsrichtung haben kann. Der Schwerpunkt der Tagung liegt deshalb auf der Eröffnung neuer Perspektiven für die toponomastische Forschung, die die notwendige traditionelle Namenlexikographie flankieren sollen. Dabei sollen insbesondere neue Gegenstände, Fragestellungen, Perspektiven und Methoden erschlossen und Schnittstellen zu Nachbardisziplinen ausgelotet werden, die weiterführende Forschungsvorhaben anstoßen können. Die Tagung wendet sich daher nicht nur an Vertreterinnen und Vertreter der linguistischen Namenforschung, sondern auch anderer linguistischer Teildisziplinen (z. B. Dialektologie), der Geschichts- und historischen Hilfswissenschaften, der Archiv- und Bibliothekswissenschaften, der Geographie, der Archäologie, der Digital Humanities, der Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaften etc. und will somit zu interdisziplinärem Austausch anregen.

Als mögliche Themen bieten sich u.a. an: wenig erforschte Arten von Toponymen (z.B. inoffizielle Ortsnamen), grammatische Untersuchungen (z.B. Genus, Artikelgebrauch wie bei der Iran vs. Iran), Namenklassenwechsel (z.B. Flur- wird zu Stadtteilname), (Um-)Benennungsstrategien und -moden (z.B. Bildung neuer Gemeinde- und Stadtteilnamen), Umgang mit und Nutzung von Big Data, Chancen und Herausforderungen der Digitalisierung, Visualisierung von Daten, Möglichkeiten der Kartierung etc.
Wir freuen uns auf Ihren Themenvorschlag in Form eines Abstracts (maximal eine DINA4-Seite) bis zum 31.04.2017 sowie über Ihre Anmeldung als Teilnehmer/Teilnehmerin bis zum 31.08.2017 per E-Mail an: E-Mail
Organisation: Kathrin Dräger (Mainz), Rita Heuser Mainz), Michael Prinz (Zürich)

Tokyo Olympics won’t seek public input on mascot name

from here:

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizing committee said the name of the games’ official mascot will not be taken from the general public but from creative professionals.
Once a panel selects the design of the mascot through a public competition, organizers will open the process to those with knowledge and experience in not just creative writing but also in dealing with trademarks, officials said Monday.

The design competition will be open to Japanese citizens and non-Japanese residing in Japan. The winner is expected to be involved in the selection of the name in some capacity.
The organizing committee’s meeting on Monday to decide the mascot selection process was the sixth of its kind and was initially scheduled to be the last. But the panel has decided it will continue to meet to finalize details of the process, which must be submitted to the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee by the end of March.
“We discussed the possibility of asking the public about the name of the mascot. But as you know, it’s a much tougher task (than the design) when it involves trademark rights,” said the panel’s vice chairman, Yoshiko Ikoma.
“We’ll concentrate on the naming once the design is decided. We’ve yet to discuss how to choose the people who will decide the name, but we have to overcome the trademark issue both in Japan and abroad,” Ikoma said.
“We need more than a name that sounds cute. It’s not so simple.”
The committee had agreed during in late February to incorporate opinions of children, from preschool to high school, regarding the design.
The design competition is open to everyone in Japan regardless of occupation or experience. Those under 18 can enter as long as they have a guardian’s approval.
All designs, which will be reviewed by a selection panel, must be drafted from six different angles with various expressions and poses as well as a narrative.
The IOC and IPC will give the final nod ahead of the mascot’s planned unveiling in summer 2018.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Online registration and payment for ICOS 2017 have started

Dear Participants of ICOS 2017,
I would like to inform you that the online registration and payment have started.
All the information about this as well as other important news (e.g. Preliminary Programme can be found on the congress website.
We are looking forward to meeting you at the ICOS congress in Debrecen.

Your sincerely,
Valéria Tóth
Sehr geehrte ICOS 2017 Konferenzteilnehmerinnen und Konferenzteilnehmer!
Ich möchte Sie darüber informieren, dass die Online Registration und Bezahlung begonnen haben. Alle Informationen darüber und die weiteren wichtigen Nachrichten finden Sie auf der Webseite des Kongresses.
Wir freuen uns darauf, Sie auf dem ICOS Kongress in Debrecen zu treffen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Valéria Tóth
Chers Participants d’ICOS 2017,
Je voudrais vous informer que l’inscription en ligne et le paiement sont commencés.
Toutes les informations concernant ce sujet et d'autres importantes nouvelles sont disponibles sur le site web du congrès.
Nous sommes impatients de vous rencontrer au congrès ICOS à Debrecen.

Veuillez agréer l’expression de mes salutations distinguées,
Valéria Tóth

Monday, March 27, 2017

A trip to the domain name conference

Over at the Atlantic, Ingrid Burrington reports on a trip to NamesCon, an annual domain names conference in Las Vegas. Find out about domain name auctions, unicode, political domains, .horse domains, and dropcatchers. Here’s a sample:
The making of a “good domain name” is, I heard in conference sessions and was told repeatedly by NamesCon attendees, more alchemy than chemistry. Again, brevity is typically a good move, though memorable phrases are also effective. Some TLDs are hot right now (.io), and some single words are always a good investment (,, but good TLDs and good words together don’t always work (as was explained to the owner of and in one session).
What’s your favorite domain?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Chinese Names reflect a nation’s changing cultural trend

Baby names with Chinese characteristics

NEW-BORN babies bring joy, of course, but also troubles with how to name them. Names matter, Chinese agree, and that is why parents go to great lengths to devise auspicious and fitting names for their children.

“It is better to teach your children a craft, than to give them a thousand pieces of gold; it is better to give them a good name than to teach them a craft,” said an advertisement for, a popular website providing naming services for new parents.
Decades ago, Chinese parents cared less about names.
“Probably because their parents did not go to school, some used numeral or ‘dog’ as given names,” says Hu Weining, head of household registration in the Honggutan New District of Nanchang, capital of eastern China’s Jiangxi Province. Her team, part of the city police, deals with registration documents for new babies, and she has worked there for 20 years.
She says that in the last two decades better-educated parents have started to care about names and even pay for names for their children.
According to Chinese custom, names that have been used by elder people in the family cannot be used for babies. Young parent do not like their children to share their names with others.
“Uniqueness is the new standard. Many people use complex Chinese characters to differentiate from others,” Hu says.
Trying to avoid repeating someone else’s name is a difficult task. Since January 1, 2016, China relaxed its one-child policy to allow all married couples to have two children.
Last year, millions of babies were born, and how to name them became a sweet headache.
“It can’t be tacky, or strange. It should sound nice, but first and foremost it must be different from others,” says Wang Chunhua, a 30-year-old mother who gave birth to a boy in November last year. Her older daughter is seven.
Wang spent weeks going through Chinese dictionaries, looking for a proper and nice enough name for her son. She consulted with her husband and her relatives, and asked them to vote. Finally, she said: “Let’s name him Yuxuan (having an imposing appearance), nice meaning, and not common around me.”
As it turns out, according to a December report by Qimingtong, a naming service company, in cooperation with Tsinghua University, Yuxuan is a common name. It ranked fourth as the most common names for boys in 2015, according to the report based on the data of 5.4 million babies born that year.
New trend
“Names reflect a nation’s changing cultural trend,” Hu says.
Thirty years ago, babies were given names like Wei (greatness), Aiguo (patriotism) or Xiuli (gently beautiful), now Chenxi (sun rays) and Haoran (righteousness) are more popular.
In 2015, 4,034 new babies were born in Honggutan, where Hu works. From January to November 2016, there were 4,695 newborns, up 16.38 percent year on year.
Some police districts in China have developed computer systems for registrants to search whether a name has been used and by how many people. Hu’s department does not offer such services, but she gives her advice.
“I have repeatedly told parents not to use extremely uncommon characters. Such names are unscannable in banking or social security systems,” she says.
Zhang Ruxin, who led the report on names, says people used to have only one Chinese character as a given name, but two-character names were now preferred, mainly to avoid duplicates.
According to the report, 299,025 people, about the population of Iceland, are called Zhang (surname) Wei (given name), the most-used name. The second-ranking Wang Wei is shared by 290,619 people.
Younger parents are more influenced by pop culture, including romance novels and popular TV series. Zixuan, a name which probably has roots in heroines and heroes of TV series, is remarkably overused. It comes in different Chinese characters.
“My boy Zixuan was admitted to the hospital, and there happened to be four Zixuans in the same ward,” a mother said.
In Tibet Autonomous Region, repetition of names is also being shunned. Doje Drolma, a college student from Tibet, said several of her friends had longer names, like Tenzingendenlesh.
In Tibet, babies are often named by high monks, living-Buddhas or the elderly in their families.
Good business
With the second-child boom, business has been good for naming services companies. Duan Lingang, 58, a self-professed name expert based in Jiangxi, founded his business five years ago.
“Back then, there were no orders for months,” he says.
Duan improved his proficiency after learning from a master in “I Ching,” or “Book of Changes,” in Beijing. He charges 600 yuan (US$92) for a name, and writes up to 24 options for parents to select from.
“My reputation spreads through word of mouth. Now I get two to three orders every week,” he says.
Duan calculates the baby’s five elements — metal, wood, water, fire and earth — from the date and time of birth, before giving names accordingly.
“A baby’s name can make up for the element he or she lacks from birth, bringing good fortune,” he says.
Names matter so much that Chinese parents are not settled with buying only Chinese names; they are also buying English names.
Beau Rose Jessup, from Britain, established the website to give new Chinese babies English names. The website claims it has given names to 295,379 babies.
“The English name you give your children will change their future,” the website proclaims.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Seeking New American Name Society Officers for 2018

Ever thought about getting more involved with the American Name Society but did not know how?  Here is your opportunity!  The American Name Society is currently looking for a few good people who are interested in joining the Executive Council.  Starting January 2017, new officers will be needed to fill the positions listed below.

 To apply for one or more of these positions, please fill out the application form on this page.

ANS Treasurer (2018-2020)

The person elected to this position will be responsible for keeping official record of all funds and securities of the Society; giving and keeping receipts for moneys due and payable to the Society; depositing all moneys in the name of the Society; responding to inquiries from annual conference attendees regarding registration payments; and informing the ANS President, the members of the ANS Executive Council, and the general membership about the financial status of the Society via an end-of-the year fiscal report. The ANS Treasurer will work closely with the ANS President, Vice President, and Membership Officer as well as Taylor & Francis, the current publisher of the ANS Journal NAMES. The person elected to this position is expected to have demonstrable accounting experience and competence in using standard spreadsheets programs (e.g., Excel). Applicants for this position must be long-term ANS members in good standing.

Member-at-large (2017-2020)

The person elected to this position will serve as a voting member of the Executive Council (EC) and is expected to participate actively in the legislative decision-making involved in resolutions and motions placed before the EC.  In addition to these duties, members-at-large serve on various auxiliary sub-committees to, for example, help with the nomination of new officers, coordination of the annual conference, and organization of allied conferences.  Officers in this position can renew their term of service twice.

Allied Conference Coordinator (2018-2020)

The person elected to this position is principally responsible for organizing the ANS session at the annual conference of the Modern Language Association. This activity involves issuing a call for papers, assembling a team of abstract reviewers, selecting three authors whose work will be presented at the MLA conference, and coordinating the presentation of the three winning abstracts with the MLA administration. In addition to these duties, as a voting member of the ANS Executive Council (EC), the Allied Conference Coordinator participates in the legislative decision-making of the Society. Although the term of service for this position is for two years, the holder of this office may be re-elected pending approval by the EC. Given the fact that this position requires close communication with the MLA, candidates who have a demonstrated expertise in literary onomastics will receive preference. Holders of this position are also eligible for election as an ANS Vice President.

Coordinator for ANS Facebook Place Names Special Interest Group (2018-2020)

The person elected to this position is principally responsible for managing the ANS Facebook Special Interest Groups (SIGs). There are three ANS SIGs: 1) Personal Names, 2) Literary Names, and 3) Trade Names. For each of one of those SIGs, the coordinator is responsible for stimulating and monitoring discussions between users; regularly posting material of thematic interest; answering queries from the general public; and coordinating an informal gathering in-person during the annual ANS meetings. The people chosen for these positions are expected to have excellent writing skills; be a frequent and enthusiastic Facebook user; and have a demonstrable interest in the thematic area of the relevant SIG. The coordinators of the ANS Facebook SIGs will work closely with one another, the ANS President and Vice President, and the ANS Information Officer.

Friday, March 24, 2017

In Memoriam: William Noble

The officials of the Australian National Placenames Survey (ANPS) recently announced the passing of Australian toponymist, William Noble, the former editor of the ANPS Bulletin.  Among his many publications is the New Holland Dictionary of Names.  This reference offers detailed information on thousands of personal names in Australian use.  William, or “Bill” as he was most often called, is survived by his wife and their three sons.

DomainX™ 2017 Conference 2017

On the 9th of April 2017, an international conference on Domain Naming, DomainX™, will be held in London, England.  One of the main purposes of the conference is to spread public awareness about the industry of domain names and naming.  The conference also provides an excellent opportunity for globally networking within the this growing industry. More on this event can be found at the website.

Since inception in 2014, DomainX™ has been a dedicated annual domain name conference with multiple yearly events across the globe to network, spread awareness and educate public about domain names and the industry.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Colloque pluridisciplinaire "Nommer l'humain : Descriptions, catégorisations, enjeux" à Strasbourg


Nommer l’humain : Descriptions, catégorisations, enjeux.
Une approche pluridisciplinaire
Colloque pluridisciplinaire organisé par
Laboratoire LiLPa (LinguistiqueLanguesParole, EA 1339) 


Laboratoire DRES (DroitReligionEntreprise & Société, UMR 7354) 

Université de Strasbourg, 10-12 Janvier 2018
Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences humaines en Alsace (MISHA) 

Nous sommes quotidiennement confrontés au lexique dénommant les humains : les néologismes en tous genres sont légion qu’ils proviennent des médias (de migrants au tout récent brexitiens en passant par les workaholic) ou qu’ils proviennent d’entreprises comme la SNCF, par exemple, qui a remis au gout du jour le terme d’attendant, dénomination ancienne d’une classe de compagnonnage (par opposition avec les compagnons reçus et les compagnons finis). Les modalités de désignations de l’humain sont nombreuses et recourent à des sous-catégories nominales diversifiées : outre les noms propres, déjà abondamment étudiés, elles englobent des noms communs, spécifiques (cf. supra) mais aussi des noms à portée plus générale comme homme, personne, individu, etc.

L’objectif de ce colloque, organisé par des linguistes et des juristes, est de réunir des spécialistes de champs disciplinaires variés, intéressés par les questions de la dénomination des personnes au moyen des noms communs, de la genèse des dénominations à l’analyse des fonctionnements linguistiques et sociaux des noms d’humains ainsi qu’à leurs finalités et leurs applications.

En effet, toutes les disciplines scientifiques sont amenées à créer et/ou utiliser des dénominations renvoyant à l’humain, ainsi que, à partir de là, des « catégories de personnes » (appelées diversement catégories socioprofessionnelles, types psychologiques, taxinomies morales, catégories juridiques, etc.), et ce à des fins diversifiées : les sociologues ont ainsi conçu toute une nomenclature de groupes sociaux en vue du recensement des populations (cf. les travaux de A. Desrosières & L. Thévenot, 1988[1] ; de C. Brousse, 2010[2]), les médecins et psychologues pour identifier les pathologies et optimiser les traitements, les pédagogues et didacticiens des profils d’« apprenants », les informaticiens des ontologies pour traiter automatiquement les noms propres de lieux, de structures et de personnes, les littéraires pour appréhender des genres littéraires à travers entre autres la notion évolutive de personnage.

En droit, les catégories (juridiques) sont fondamentales pour appréhender la réalité. Au cœur du raisonnement juridique, elles sont mobilisées afin de déterminer les règles applicables aux situations de fait, relevant ainsi de l’essence de l’opération de qualification juridique. Suivant un exemple topique, la dénomination travailleur peut correspondre à plusieurs catégories : la catégorie « salarié » ou la catégorie « travailleur indépendant ». Or, il apparait que la délimitation de ces catégories est éprouvée par la réalité sociale (de quelle classification relèvent l’auto-entrepreneur, le télétravailleur ou encore le travailleur recourant à une plateforme collaborative ?). Loin d’être seulement une opération technique, la catégorisation révèle ainsi une certaine représentation de l’humain et la prévalence accordée à un système de valeurs. Les catégories juridiques peuvent alors être analysées comme remplissant une fonction structurante du droit (cf. M. Cumyn, « Les catégories, la classification et la qualification juridiques : réflexions sur la systématicité du droit », Les Cahiers de droit, vol. 52 n° 3-4, 2011, p. 351-378).

Les sciences du langage ont pour mission d’élucider les régularités morphosyntaxiques présidant à la formation de ces unités lexicales (pourquoi attendant et non pas attendeur ? quelle différence entre attendant et attentiste ?), l’usage qu’en font les discours de tous genres, le sens qu’elles prennent selon leurs contextes, leur évolution historique (sens d’attendant dans la nomenclature du compagnonnage et sa réactualisation « sncfienne ») et leurs impacts idéologiques, les principes de lexicalisation et leurs équivalences d’un système linguistique à un autre : l’opposition humain vs non humain n’est pas universelle et Lakoff (1987)[3] a montré que, dans certaines langues aborigènes d’Australie, les entités humaines mâles vs femelles sont dissociées et rangées avec les animaux d’une part et l’eau, le feu, la nourriture, d’autre part.

Enfin, la désignation des humains est au cœur de débats actuels importants et constitue l’enjeu de problèmes sociaux cruciaux allant de la féminisation des noms de métiers aux désignations à visée euphémisante. On mentionnera aussi les questions (bio-)éthiques ou juridiques, liées à la catégorisation – et partant aux questions de désignation – comme personnes des embryons[4], de certains animaux, les recherches impliquant la personne humaine[5], toutes questions qui remettent en cause, outre des notions philosophiques (comme, entre autres, la mort), la question de la définition de la personne.

Si la dénomination des humains est un phénomène langagier prégnant qui constitue indéniablement une préoccupation transdisciplinaire, les approches et travaux pluridisciplinaires ne sont pas répandus pour autant. À l’exception du colloque intitulé « Noms de métiers et catégories professionnelles (Acteurs, pratiques, discours (XVe siècle à nos jours) »[6] qui a réuni des historiens, sociologues, statisticiens, linguistes et littéraires), il n’existe pas (à notre connaissance) d’entreprise visant à confronter les approches, à « croiser les regards », sur la question de la dénomination des humains.
Ce colloque entend donc réunir des contributions relatives à la dénomination des personnes, à la genèse des dénominations, à l’analyse des fonctionnements linguistiques et sociaux des noms d’humains ainsi qu’à leurs finalités et leurs applications, susceptibles de répondre aux questions suivantes :
  • • quelles sont les raisons qui poussent à la création des dénominations des personnes ?
  • • de quoi dépend la classification de l’humain dans les différents champs disciplinaires ?
  • • qu’est-ce qui unit ou oppose les dénominations spécialisées/savantes aux dénominations usuelles ?
  • • y a-t-il, ou non, des homologies, sinon des points communs entre les catégorisations des personnes dans les différents domaines des sciences humaines et sociales ?
  • • à quelles fonctions et à quelles applications répondent les dénominations et catégorisations des personnes ?
  • • quelles sont les perspectives historiques concernant l’évolution des désignations d’humains ? (en quoi la globalisation et l’internationalisation influencent-elles les dénominations de personnes et la perception des catégories d’humains ?)
  • • …
Qu’il s’agisse de démarches descriptives portant sur le lexique dénommant les humains, ses usages, son évolution, etc. ou concernant la constitution de démarches classificatoires, qu’il s’agisse d’approches plus théoriques ou encore de présentation de démarches à visée appliquée, le colloque accueille les contributions susceptibles d’apporter des éclairages nouveaux, de nature à questionner et articuler un ensemble de disciplines, voire à proposer des outils ou applications à vocation interdisciplinaire.
À l’heure actuelle, compte tenu du contexte sociopolitique (phénomènes de migrations, débats communautaristes, questions récurrentes sur l’égalité hommes-femmes) ainsi que de la médiatisation et l’instrumentalisation des dénominations de l’humain, le thème de ce colloque est particulièrement opportun et crucial pour saisir ce qui se joue dans l’appréhension du rapport à autrui et pour mettre au jour les clichés et stéréotypes qui sous-tendent les représentations de l’autre via la dénomination, l’instrumentalisation, la médiatisation et la dénomination des minorités.

[1]. A. Desrosières & L. Thévenot (1988) Les catégories socioprofessionnelles, Paris. La découverte/Repères.
[2]. C. Brousse (2010) ESeC, projet européen de classification socioéconomique, in Hanne G. et Judde de Larivière C. (éds) Noms de métiers et catégories professionnelles. Acteurs, pratiques, discours (XVe siècle à nos jours).Toulouse. Framespa/Méridiennes p. 309-323.
[3]. G. Lakoff (1987) Women, Fire and dangerous Things, Chicago, Chicago U.P.

[4]. A. Bertrand-Mirkovic, La notion de personne. Étude visant à clarifier le statut juridique de l’enfant à naitre, Aix en Provence : PUAM.

[6]. G. Hanne et C. Judde de Larivière C. (éds) Noms de métiers et catégories professionnelles. Acteurs, pratiques, discours (XVe siècle à nos jours).Toulouse. Framespa/Méridiennes.

Calendrier :

• Premier appel à communications : 15 février 2017
• Date limite d’envoi des propositions : 15 juin 2017
• Date d’envoi des notifications aux auteurs : 15 septembre 2017


Procédure de soumission :
Un résumé de 4 pages (bibliographie incluse), anonyme et au format pdf, sera déposé via l'onglet "Déposer"
Veuillez créer un compte scienceconf, puis connectez-vous afin de pouvoir accéder à la page "Soumissions"
Modalités de communication :
La durée prévue des communications est de 20-25 minutes (plus 5 à 10 minutes de discussion).

Langues du colloque : 
Les communications se feront en français ou en anglais.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Call for Papers for Multidisciplinary Conference 2018 "Naming the Human: description, categorisation, issues at stake"

The aim of this conference, jointly organised by linguists and jurists, is to confront specialists from different disciplinary fields, interested in the questions of designating people by common nouns, from the origin of the terminology to the analysis of the linguistic and social functions of the names attributed to humans, and to their objectives and applications.


Every day, we encounter lexical items which designate humans: neologisms of every kind abound, coming either from the media (ranging from migrants to workaholics, to brexitiens), or from companies such as the French Railways, for instance, which has updated the noun attendant, an old term for a class of craftsmen accompanying postulants for the French “compagnonnage” or skilled workers’ guild (as opposed to qualified and fully-fledged “compagnons”). There are numerous means of designating humans, which exploit diverse noun categories: in addition to proper nouns, which have already been widely studied, these include specific common nouns (see above), but also nouns of wider scope, such as man, person, individual, etc.
The aim of this conference, jointly organised by linguists and jurists, is to confront specialists from different disciplinary fields, interested in the questions of designating people by common nouns, from the origin of the terminology to the analysis of the linguistic and social functions of the names attributed to humans, and to their objectives and applications.
Every scientific discipline has to create or/and use designations referring to humans, as well as wider “categories of people” (variously called socio-professional categories, moral taxonomy, psychological types, legal categories, etc.), for various purposes: thus sociologists have invented an extensive system for classifying social groups for the purpose of population census (cf research by A. Desrosières & L. Thévenot, 1988[1]; C. Brousse, 2010[2]); doctors and psychologists have done likewise to identify pathologies and optimise treatment, as have specialists in pedagogy and didactics, for learner-profiling; IT specialists have elaborated ontologies for the automatic processing of proper names for places, structures and people, and literary scholars have established their own categories to apprehend the notion of literary genre using, inter alia, the evolving concept of character.
As far as law is concerned, legal categories are fundamental to grasping reality. At the heart of any legal reasoning, they are utilised in order to determine the rules applicable to de facto situations, and thus form an essential part of the process of legal characterisation. A prime example is the noun “travailleur” (worker), which can correspond to several categories: either “salaried worker/employees” or “self-employed worker”. The delineation of these categories is, however, put to the test by social reality (which classification applies to the “auto-entrepreneur”, teleworker, or user of a collaborative platform?). Far from simply being a technical operation, such categorisation reflects a certain representation of the individual, and the prevalence attributed to a system of values. Legal categories can thus be analysed as having a structuring role in law (cf. M. Cumyn, “Les catégories, la classification et la qualification juridiques: réflexions sur la systématicité du droit”, Les Cahiers de droit, vol. 52 n° 3-4, 2011, p. 351-378).
The mission of linguistic science is to elucidate the morpho-syntactic regularities governing the formation of these lexical units (why “attendant” and not “attendeur”? What is the difference between “attendant” and “attentiste”?), the usage adopted in all types of speech events, their meaning according to context, their historical evolution (the meaning of “attendant” in the original “compagnonnage” nomenclature and its modern-day use by the Railway Company), their ideological impact, the underlying lexicalisation principles, and their equivalents from one linguistic system to another. The human v. Non-human opposition is not universal, and Lakoff (1986)[3] has shown that in some Australian aboriginal languages, human males and females are dissociated, and classified along with animals for the former and water, fire and food for the latter.
Finally, the designation of humans is/has been at the core of much discussion, and has been the central issue of crucial social problems ranging from the feminisation of names of professions to the titles used in the interests of political correctness. We may also mention the (bio)-ethical or legal questions raised by the categorisation – and hence the designation – of embryo[4] and certain animals as persons, not forgetting the research involving the human being[5], which, in addition to philosophical concepts (perhaps even subsuming the notion of death itself), call into question the very definition of what is human.
While the denomination of humans is a highly significant language phenomenon, which undeniably represents a trans-disciplinary preoccupation, multi-disciplinary approaches and research are not widespread. With the exception of one conference entitled “Noms de métiers et catégories professionnelles (Acteurs, pratiques, discours (XVe siècle à nos jours)”[6], involving historians, sociologists statisticians, linguists and literary specialists), we do not know of any other attempt at confronting approaches, at “crossing perspectives” as the saying goes, on the question of the denomination of humans.
The conference thus aims to include presentations relating to the denomination of persons, the origin of such denominations, the analysis of the linguistic and social functions of the names given, and to their objectives and applications, with a view to answering the following questions:
What are the reasons underlying the creation of denominations for humans?
  • On what does the classification of the human into different disciplinary categories depend?
  • What brings together or keeps apart specialised/erudite denominations and their common denominations?
  • Do the categorisations of people in the various fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences share any homology, or at least common threads?
  • To what functions and applications do the denominations and categorisations of people correspond?
  • What are the historical perspectives on the evolution of the designation of humans? (how do globalisation and internationalisation influence the denomination of people and the perception of categories?)
The conference will welcome proposals which may shed new light on the question, with the potential to interrogate and articulate a set of disciplines, and even suggest tools or applications of an inter-disciplinary nature. Presentations may be descriptions of the use, evolution, etc. of the vocabulary used to name humans, the elaboration of classificatory approaches, more theoretical approaches, or those of a more applied nature. Contributions may concern diverse languages.
In today’s context, given the socio-political situation (migratory phenomena, communitarian debates, the recurrent questions around gender equality) and the mediatisation and instrumentalisation of the process of naming humans, the theme of this conference is particularly appropriate, and crucial to understanding what is at stake in grasping the relationship with the other, and to revealing the clichés and stereotypes underpinning the representation of the other through the process of naming, instrumentalising, and mediatising minorities.

Submitting contributions

Communications should last 20-25 minutes (plus 5-10 minutes discussion).
Format for propositions:
An abstract of 4 pages (bibliography included), anonymous and in pdf format, will be deposited on the dedicated symposium platform at the following address:


  • First call for submission: February 15th 2017
  • Date for submission: June 15th 2017

  • Date of notification: September 15th 2017

Working Languages

French and English

Plenary conferences

  • Stefan GOLTZBERG, Jurist, Philosopher of law and Linguist (Perelman Center, Brussels)

  • Cécile LEGUY, Anthropologist (Sorbonne Nouvelle University – Paris 3) 

  • Bruno MAUREILLE, Paleoanthropologist (Research Director, CNRS, University of Bordeaux) 

  • François Ost, Jurist and Philosopher of law (Saint-Louis University, Brussels) 

  • Jean-François SABLAYROLLES, Lexicologist (Professor, Paris 13 University – Villetaneuse) 

  • Zhengdao YE, Linguist & Translation Studies specialist (The Australian National University, Acton, Australia) 

Scientific Committee

  • Silvia ADLER, Tel Aviv University (Israël)
  • Bernard BAUDRY, Lyon-2 University (France)
  • Peter BLUMENTHAL, Köln University (Germany)
  • Cécile CANUT, Paris-5 University (France)
  • Paul CAPPEAU, Poitiers University (France)
  • Denis COSTAOUEC, Paris-5 University (France)
  • Iacyr DE AGUILAR VIEIRA, Viçosa University (Brasil)
  • Walter DE MULDER, Antwerp University (Belgium)
  • Gaétane DOSTIE, Sherbrooke University (Canada)
  • Nelly FLAUX, Arras University (France)
  • Itsuko FUJIMURA, Nagoya University (Japan)
  • Stefan GOLTZBERG, Brussels University (Belgium)
  • Laurent GOSSELIN, Rouen University (France)
  • Francis GROSSMANN, Grenoble University (France)
  • Dominique LEGALLOIS, Paris-3 University (France)
  • Denis MAUREL, Tours University (France)
  • Wiltrud MIHATSCH, Tübingen University (Germany)
  • Johan VAN DER AUWERA, Antwerp University (Belgium)
  • Éliane VIENNOT, IUF & Saint-Etienne University (France)

Organising Committee

  • Angelina ALEKSANDROVA (4071 EDA, Paris-Descartes University)
  • Maryvonne BOISSEAU (LiLPa)
  • Françoise CURTIT (DRES)
  • Benoît GENIAUT (DRES)
  • Fleur LARONZE (DRES)
  • Jean-Paul MEYER (LiLPa)
  • Sabrina MRAOUAHI (IAE, Grenoble-Alpes University)
  • Mélanie SCHMITT (DRES)
  • Catherine SCHNEDECKER (LiLPa)
  • Amalia TODIRASCU (LiLPa)
    • nommer, catégorisation, humain, homme, pluridisciplinarité
    • Angelina Aleksandrova
      courriel : angelina [dot] aleksandrova [at] parisdescartes [dot] fr
    « Naming the human: description, categorisation, issues at stake », Call for papers,Calenda, Published on Friday, February 17, 2017,