With about 40 minutes to spare, we did manage to get a new edition out in 2020!
2020 was a tough year for everyone, and things have been alternating really quiet and super productive here at DMNES central. If there’s one thing that was a pure, unalloyed joy and benefit of the upheaval of the pandemic, it was joining Mt. Holyoke’s internship scheme which facilitated the joining of four interns on our staff over summer, with one continuing on through the fall term as well. Much of what’s in this new edition — new names, new citations, updated info on Biblical and literary forms — is due to their hard work; and while some of their other work isn’t yet reflected in published editions, it’s laid the foundations for some exciting projects in the future.
So, on to some stats! The new edition has 2592 entries, with 77,248 citations distributed across those entries. (The entry with the most citations remains John, 4533 citations! That’s nearly 6% of all citations in the Dictionary in that single entry.) (Hah, as I was writing this up, our technical guru asked whether the numbers for Mary were comparable. I laughed, and said “no way, that name was never as popular, and he wanted to know the details. So: we have 832 citations for Mary, accounting for 1% of our data. Compare this to three other popular feminine names — Katherine, with 775 citations; Elizabeth, with 1159; and Margaret, with 1281 citations.)
This edition has a total of 931 distinct feminine names, 1658 masculine names, and 3 where the gender is uncertain. Of these, 44 of the feminine entries are new to this edition:
And there’s 98 new masculine names in this edition:
May your 2021 be filled with wonderful names! (Like Bertbert. Bertbert is such a great name.)
We are pleased to announce the publication of a new paper by a member of our team. Our editor-in-chief Dr. Sara L. Uckelman’s paper “Names Shakespeare Didn’t Invent: Imogen, Olivia, and Viola Revisited” is now available online from Names. Here’s the abstract:
Just as Shakespeare’s plays left their indelible stamp on the English language, so too did his names influence the naming pool in England at the beginning of the 17th century and beyond, and certain popular modern names are often described as inventions of Shakespeare. In this article, we revisit three names which are often listed as coinages of Shakespeare’s and show that this received wisdom, though oft-repeated, is in fact incorrect. The three names are Imogen, the heroine of Cymbeline; and Olivia and Viola, the heroines of Twelfth Night. All three of these names pre-date Shakespeare’s use. Further, we show in two of the three cases that it is plausible that Shakespeare was familiar with this earlier usage. We conclude by briefly discussing why these names are commonly mistakenly attributed to Shakespeare’s imagination, and the weaker, but not mistaken, claims which may underlie these attributions.
This paper shows the benefit of a large-scale cross-cultural data like the Dictionary collects and publishes; it is easy to be mislead by the data when you focus only on a single culture, resulting in the drawing of incorrect conclusions. When the net is cast wider, then we can obtain a more accurate picture about which names Shakespeare actually coined, which he merely introduced into England, and which were already in use in England before him, but were, perhaps, popularised by his use of them.
DMNES staff members have some cool new publications either recently published or forthcoming, so we thought we’d do a quick round-up of them:
- Mariann Slíz. 2015. “Byzantine Influence on the Name-giving Practises of the Hungarian Árpád Dynasty”, in Egedi-Kovács Emese szerk., Byzance et l’Occident II. Tradition, transmission, traduction. Collège Eötvös József ELTE, Budapest. 171–181.
- Mariann Slíz. 2015. “Occupational names in the Hungarian family name system”, in Oliviu Felecan ed., Name and Naming, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Onomastics “Name and Naming”. Conventional / Unconventional in Onomastics. Baia Mare, September 1–3, 2015. Editura Mega – Editura Argonaut, Cluj-Napoca. 328–338.
- Mariann Slíz. 2016. Personal Names in Medieval Hungary, Beiträge zur Lexikographie und Namenforschung 9 (Baar-Verlag).
- Mariann Slíz. 2016. “Personal Names Originating from Literature or Motion Picture in the Hungarian Name Stock – A Historical Survey”, in Carole Hough – Daria Izdebska eds., Names and Their Environment, Proceedings of the 25th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, Glasgow, 15-19 August 2014. 1–5, University of Glasgow, Glasgow. 3: 247–254.
- Sara L. Uckelman & Mariann Slı́z. 2015. “Többnyelvű névtani lexikográfia: a Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources elnevezésű nemzetközi szótári projekt (Cross-linguistic onomastic lexicography: The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources)”, Névtani Értesı́tő, 37: 203–221.
- Sara L. Uckelman. 2016. “Review of Donna Thornton and Kevin Murray, Bibliography of Publications on Irish Placenames“, Peritia, 27: 306–307.
- Sara L. Uckelman, Sonia Murphy, & Joseph Percer. 2017. “What’s in a name? History and fantasy in Game of Thrones“, in Brian A. Pavlac, ed., The Game of Thrones versus History (Wiley-Blackwell).