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Names: A Journal of Onomastics promotes and disseminates research in all areas of names including personal names (given names, surnames, nicknames, pseudonyms, women’s marital names, courtesy titles), place names, brand names, trade names, literary names, and other named objects and concepts, e.g., invented languages, automobile names, names of musical groups, animal names, cartoon characters, and so forth. All submissions undergo a rigorous review by two anonymous onomastic scholars in accordance with an explicit set of evaluation guidelines including theory, methodology, innovation, interdisciplinarity, documentation, writing style, objectivity, future impetus, and overall quality of scholarship.

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History and Highlights 

Names completed its sixtieth year of publication in 2012. It is a refereed journal (two anonymous referees evaluate each submission according to a strict set of guidelines).

The journal contains the following components:

An editorial
Scholarly articles
Scholarly notes
Book reviews (Chris De Vinne, Notre Dame University of Maryland is Book Review Editor)

An annual note on the Name of the Year based on voting at the annual meeting (Cleveland Evans, Bellevue University)

Special issues on timely topics every two years. Past topics include:

“Names and Ethnicity” (March 2008, Editors: Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen, Arizona State University)

“Names and War” (December 2010, Editor: Iman Laversuch, University of Cologne, Germany)

“Names and the Internet” (December 2012, Iman Nick, University of Cologne, Germany)

Occasional reprinting of landmark articles from earlier issues that continue to have substantial academic influence in the field of onomastics today. Two such articles have been published:

John Algeo, “Is a Theory of Names Possible?” Volume 58 (2)

George Stewart, “A Classification of Place Names” Volume 60 (1)

Annual Award for Best Article

The winner of this award is determined by an independent jury of onomastic scholars. The award, initiated in 2009, is presented at the annual meeting. Previous award winners include:

2009. Denis Huschka, Jürgen Gerhards, and Gert G. Wagner for their article entitled “Naming Differences in Divided Germany” Volume, 57 (4)

2010. Dr. Małgorzata Rutkiewicz-Hanczewska (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland) for her article entitled “Proper Names in the Polish Global Reality”  Volume 58 (3)

2011. Carol G. Lombard, The University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa), for her article entitled “The Sociocultural Significance of Niitsitapi Personal Names: An Ethnographic Analysis” Volume 59 (1)


Editor's Choice:

The editors have put together a selection of articles from the online archives for you to view for free until Jan 15th, along with every issue from the past three years
(Simply fill in the form on the top right of this page to gain access)

The articles written by the first three recipients of the annual Award for Best Article in Names: A Journal of Onomastics for 2009, 2010, and 2011 will be available.

• Naming Differences in Divided Germany, 
Denis Huschka, Jürgen Gerhards, and Gert G. Wagner
Proper Names in the Polish Global Reality, 
Małgorzata Rutkiewicz-Hanczewska
 The Sociocultural Significance of Niitsitapi Personal Names: An Ethnographic Analysis,
Carol G. Lombard
In addition to the above award-winning articles, the following noteworthy articles are also available for free download:
 What’s in a Brand Name? A Note on the Onomastics of Brand Naming, Marcel Danesi
Influence of Names on the Career Choice in Medicine,
Ernest L.Abe

Teratonmy:The Weird and Monstrous Names of H. P. Lovecraft,
Christopher L.Robinson
Power, Politeness, and the Pragmatics of Nicknames,
Michael Adams

Descriptive Zulu Placenames of San Origin, Peter E. Raper   




Also of Interest: Language & History


 Language & History,  aims to promote the study of the history of all branches of linguistic thought, theoretical and applied, and including non-European traditions. Its fields of interest include the history both of the major subject areas of linguistics and also more specialised topics, such as writing systems, literacy, rhetoric, and the application of linguistic ideas within professional and technical fields.

>> Subscribe before the end of January 2013 and receive 20% discount



Names is a MORE OpenChoice journal. MORE OpenChoice is Maney's hybrid open-access publishing model which works alongside the traditional subscription model.

MORE OpenChoice is compliant with existing Open Access mandates.

Find out more about submitting an OA paper.

Meet the Editor

Frank Nuessel

Frank talks to us about the history and future of the journal

Since 2008, Frank Nuessel serves as Editor of Names. He is a Professor in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages at the University of Louisville, where was named University Scholar. He has served as President of the Semiotic Society of America (2011). Professor Nuessel is currently President of the American Association of Teachers of Italian (2012). Frank has also served as Chief Reader of AP® Italian (2006-2009, 2011-2012). He has written extensively (books and articles) on onomastics, Italian Studies, Hispanic linguistics, semiotics, gerontology, and second-language education. He has authored The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics (Greenwood, 1992) plus numerous articles on names and onomastics.


Meet the Book Review Editor
Christine De Vinne

Christine De Vinne is vice president for academic affairs and professor of English at Notre Dame of Maryland University. After earning her Ph.D. in English at The Ohio State University, she was named director of the liberal arts core curriculum and then Dean of Arts and Sciences at Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio, where she and Beth DiNatale- Johnson began a historical study of the names of U.S. women’s colleges. She has been elected vice president (2001-2002) and president (2003-2004) of the American Name Society. In 2005 she was appointed to the editorial board of Names and became the journal’s first book review editor. Her research and publications focus on literary, corporate, and institutional names, as well as autobiographical theory, particularly the study of confessions. She has served as visiting scholar at the Loyola University Chicago Gannon Center for Women and Leadership and at Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. In addition to onomastic studies of literature, her current work involves an exploration of confessional narrative in American literature.



The American Name Society

The American Name Society was founded in 1951 to promote onomastics, the study of names and naming practices, both in the United States and abroad. It is a non-profit organization that seeks to find out what really is in a name, and to investigate cultural insights, settlement history, and linguistic characteristics revealed in names. Focusing on the understanding of names in all forms, the Society provides members with several vehicles for the discussion and publication of onomastic theory, views and concepts:

An annual meeting 
(currently held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America)
Regional meetings

Names: A Journal of Onomastics
The ANS Bulletin

The ANS-L email discussion listserv

The Ehrensperger Report
ANA Emerging Scholar Award

The website contains information about the organization in an easily accessible format:

List of officers

Membership information

A History of the American Name Society (Thomas J. Gasque, Professor Emeritus, University of South Dakota). It includes a listing of the Presidents of the Society and Editors of Names: A Journal of Onomastics.

 >> Sign up for membership today and receive a 20% discount!


Language & linguistics books from Legenda

The Legenda series is published jointly by Maney and the Modern Humanities Research Association. Legenda publishes an impressive range of books in linguistic studies and proposals should be sent to the Managing Editor, Dr Graham Nelson.

Language and Social Structure in Urban France
Edited by Mari C. Jones & David Hornsby

Renaissance Keywords
Edited by Ita Mac Carthy

A New History of English Metre
Martin J. Duffell
Studies in Linguistics 5

The French Language and Questions of Identity
Edited by Wendy Ayres-Bennett and
Mari C. Jones  

Studies in Linguistics 4


View free content online! 

From 1 January to 15 February we are lifting all access restrictions on all 2010-2012 Names content to make it available to you completely free of charge. 

To access all of this free content simply fill out this quick form * , click 'submit' and receive log in details to view the last three volumes of the journal completely free.


First name:

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20% off all subscriptions! 


Throughout January only we are offering a discount of 20% off individual, institutional and member subscriptions to Names


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What will my subscription include?

All subscriptions to NAM include online access to the full text via Ingentaconnect 

If opting for a print + online subscription, you
will also receive 4 print copies per year of the journal.



A History of the American Name Society 

By Thomas J. Gasque

The origins of the American Name Society are deep in the study of words. We are a child of the American Dialect Society, and our birth was attended by twelve members of ADS in a hotel room in Detroit, Michigan, on December 29, 1951...  At the time, and as it did for many years afterwards, ADS was meeting with the Modern Language Association (MLA), and most of those in the early years were scholars of literature and language.  But there were also people of other disciplines and professions, including geographers and lawyers.  
Among the twelve at that first meeting in December 1951, the two who were most influential in starting ANS were Erwin Gudde, a professor of German at the University of California, Berkeley, and Elsdon Smith, a lawyer in Chicago.  Gudde’s interest was placenames, and he had recently (1949) published his monumental California Place Names.  Smith’s was personal names.  He had published several books, and his comprehensive bibliography of studies in personal names had been finished and was to be published a few months later, in 1952.  
The others in that room in December 1951 were Harold B. Allen (University of Minnesota), Harold W. Bentley (University of Utah), Margaret M. Bryant (Brooklyn College), Karl W. Dykema (Columbia University),
E. C. Ehrensperger (University of South Dakota), E. E. Ericson (University of North Carolina), Robert L. Ramsay (University of Missouri), William F. Mockler (West Virginia University), and
A. H. Fuchs and Elsie Mag (both of G & C Merriam Dictionaries).  Elsdon Smith, as a lawyer, arranged to charter the Society under the laws of the state of Illinois, a charter we still hold (Bryant, 1976: 30).

From “A History of the American Name Society: Six Decades of the American Name Society, 1951-2009” by Thomas J. Gasque.



The More Language, Literature & Culture Collection provides instant online access to twenty-nine highly-regarded, peer-reviewed, international language and literature publications.

Regularly cited in the major indexing services, each journal provides high-quality, original papers which are of interest to all those involved with languages and literature around the world.

The wide range of fields covered include: language, linguistics, literature, theatre, film, television, poetry, art, liturgy, theology, gender studies, onomastics

>> Learn more



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