Onomastics is an area of scholarly interest that has grown considerably in importance in recent years. Consequently, the 27th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, held in 2021 in Kraków, Poland, gathered scholars from all over the world, active in all subfields of onomastic enquiry, as well as those exploring the areas bordering on other disciplines of the humanities. It thus became a venue for presenting state-of-the-art research in the study of proper names, proposing novel approaches and opening new vistas for future research.
The present work is the second of the three volumes of conference proceedings that were the fruit of the congress. Devoted to personal naming, it contains 28 individual articles, contributed by 32 scholars. Some of them study recent fashions in name-giving in countries as diverse as Bulgaria, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, or Sweden. Others explore historical trends in given name choice, exemplified by Estonia or the Netherlands. Family names are represented by the analyses of married names in Hungary, of the surnames of Zagreb Jews, of German surnames in Latvia and the Carpathian Basin, or of changes of foreign-sounding surnames in Sweden. Unconventional naming proved scientifically fruitful too, as can be seen in the chapters on village bynames in Romania or student nicknames in Russia. Finally, there are researchers who provide a general overview of naming patterns in countries as varied as Botswana and Hungary, or Romania and China.
The opportunities offered by the application of new technology to onomastic research are explored in relation to the namestock in Denmark and the Netherlands. Simultaneously, these technologies may also themselves lead to the creation of novel objects of study – a case in point being Russian Internet usernames. Anthroponymic data may inform non-onomastic research as well, for instance they can offer insight into a country’s history or ethnic composition, as evidenced by texts dealing with personal naming in Hungary or Ukraine. The volume is complemented by articles whose focus is the interface of onomastics and pragmatics, phonetics, prosody and gender studies, drawing on examples drawn from Dutch, Japanese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
The book is a must not only for onomasticians, but also for researchers in related disciplines, ranging from history, via human geography or philosophy of language, to social studies. However, professionals active in naming will find it useful as well, since it provides a much-needed supranational perspective and enables cross-cultural comparisons.