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Bibliography on the Sociocultural Significance of Names and Naming

Garrett, PB
Baquedano-Lopez, P
Language socialization: Reproduction and continuity, transformation and change
While continuing to uphold the major aims set out in the first generation of language socialization
studies, recent research examines the particularities of language socialization processes as they
unfold in institutional contexts and in a wide variety of linguistically and culturally heterogeneous
settings characterized by bilingualism, multilingualism, code-switching, language shift, syncretism, and
other phenomena associated with contact between languages and cultures. Meanwhile new areas of
analytic focus such as morality, narrative, and ideologies of language have proven highly productive. In
the two decades since its earliest formulation, the language socialization paradigm has proven
coherent and flexible enough not merely to endure, but to adapt, to rise to these new theoretical and
methodological challenges, and to grow. The sources and directions of that growth are the focus of this

Mendoza-Denton, N
Sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology of US Latinos
Issues in the linguistic study of US Latinos are reviewed, with an emphasis on recent work in
sociolinguistics. Predominant models of language contact are evaluated, as are factors contributing to
variation. Among these factors are (a) the state of changes in progress; (b) the complexity of historical,
socioeconomic, and demographic conditions of US Latinos; (c) the community's degree of contact with
other ethnic/linguistic groups; (d) language attitudes toward the matrix and embedded languages; (e)
the local evaluation and patterns of use of particular variants; and (f) the possibility of autochthonous
innovation within the dialect. Questions of US Latino participation in changes beyond those in their
immediate communities are addressed. The need to connect linguistic variation with other aspects of
semiotic meaning is emphasized.

Shanker, S
What children know when they know what a name is - The non-Cartesian view of language acquisition
CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 42(4):481-513 (2001)
Nativist theories of language insist that an infant must possess some abstract concepts about the
structure of language or, at the very least, some word-learning biases to be able to acquire the sorts of
skills and knowledge displayed by competent language-speakers. A direct consequence of Cartesian
epistemology, nativism limits the role of linguistic anthropology to validating its claim that children
typically acquire language in essentially the same manner, regardless of the culture in which they are
raised. It seeks to confine linguistic anthropology to the study of the socialization processes whereby
children use their "innate" linguistic knowledge to become accepted members of their community.
Linguistic anthropologists, in contrast, see field studies as a way of discovering what children in
different societies actually learn about a language when they learn how to speak. In this non-Cartesian
approach, children are seen as learning how to do different kinds of things with words-how to engage
in the culturally significant actions that make up their community's "form of life." The case of proper
names in Anglo-American and Navaho culture is here examined as an illustration of the significance of
this epistemological shift.

Reyes, Angela
Corporations are people: Emblematic scales of brand personification
among Asian American youth
LANGUAGE IN SOCIETY 42(2):163-185 (2013)
This article examines the use of corporate names as personal nicknames for Asian American youth.
The analysis traces the meanings of these nicknaming practices through the concepts of BRAND
PERSONIFICATION (how figures of personhood are recruited as embodiments of corporate brands)
and EMBLEMATIC SCALES (how signs of personhood emerge across trajectories of use and scales
of time). Within the crossracial institutional structure of an Asian American supplementary school,
these nicknaming practices not only formulate speech, participants, relationships, and settings as
informal, but alinfuse the nicknamed with brand qualities linked to race, nation, class, and status.
These practices algenerate fleeting and stable frameworks of group distinction and adequation that
operate simultaneously or cyclically and that maintain or transgress classroom roles and racial
boundaries. This article demonstrates how an attention to temporal dimensions enables researchers to
explore the ways in which small-scale activities accumulate across events and assemble into wider
scale structural change.

Griffin, Zenzi M.
BE Ross, BH
53:345-387 (2010)
Why is it more difficult to recall the names of celebrities and old acquaintances than other words that
one seldom uses? Several factors related to the way information about people are structured and how
words are produced conspire to make personal names particularly difficult to retrieve. In contrast,
expressions such as descriptive nicknames, kinship terms, and titles appear easier to retrieve. A
review of how people are named, referred to, and addressed across cultures and situations suggests
that there is broad range in the relative difficulty of producing terms and that several social variables
must be considered in a full account of name retrieval.

Heymann, Laura A.
Naming, Identity, and Trademark Law
INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 86(2):381-445 (2011)
As the process of creation in the age of digital media becomes more fluid, one pervasive theme has
been the desire for attribution: from the creator's perspective, to receive credit for what one does (and
to have credit not falsely attributed) and from the audience's perspective, to understand the source of
material with which one engages. But our norms of attribution reflect some inconsistencies in defining
the relationship among name, identity, and authenticity. A blog post by a writer identified only by a
pseudonym may prove to be very influential in the court of public opinion, while the use of anonymous
sources by established journalists may be viewed as unethical. Supreme Court jurisprudence both
touts the benefits of anonymity and decries it as a barrier to the free flow of information. In the
commercial realm, consumers file suit when the memoir they have purchased turns out to be largely
fiction but seem far less concerned when a company emerges from a public relations disaster with a
new name, leaving its old one to the dustbin of history.
This conflicted response may be further complicated by the fact that we think about names in a very
personal way, as a core part of our identity. But names are not, strictly speaking, our identity-they are
merely symbols of our identity that denote a particular set of characteristics at a particular time.
Indeed, as naming theory tells us, the denotative function of a name is what makes a word a name at
all. It is for this reason that an individual or a corporation can adopt a new name without being accused
of fraud and why a company can sell products under more than one trademark.
Naming law-whether the law of personal names or the law of trademarks-tends to reflect these
principles of naming theory. In large part, the law focuses on a name or mark's denotative effect,
interfering only when confusion or changes to the essential nature of the referent renders the name's
identifying function uncertain. And, indeed, in the instances when the law is inconsistent with naming
theoryattempting to regulate the connotations associated with names rather than their denotative
functionwe might question whether it is achieving an appropriate goal. Confining naming law to this
important but limited function achieves a balance between respecting the autonomy of individuals and
entities to choose the names with which they represent themselves to the public and ensuring that
such choices do not significantly frustrate the flow of information that allows the public to engage in
decision making.

Tetreault, Chantal
Cultural citizenship in France and le Bled among teens of pan-southern immigrant heritage
LANGUAGE & COMMUNICATION 33(4):532-543 (2013)
This article addresses discourse among French teenagers of pan-immigrant, peripheral, and
specifically southern descent that evokes the widely circulating spatial concept called le bled, a French
word of Arabic origin. Drawing upon theories of cultural citizenship, this paper explores the connections
that teens broker through le bled in two, divergent discourses that link French citizenship with
modernity and race. The first discourse is one that conceptualizes le bled as less modern than France,
which is ultimately a racially exclusive model of French citizenship because it typically treats le bled as
a racialized and inferior place. The second discourse involves the conceptualization of France as a
modern and racially inclusive place, seeking to assimilate people from various places (even though in
reality, many of these policies that claim inclusiveness are exclusive).

Brink-Danan, Marcy
Names That Show Time: Turkish Jews as "Strangers" and the Semiotics of Reclassification
AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST 112(3):384-396 (2010)
In this article, I discuss the anthropological value of focusing on ontological processes in which
seemingly local, native, or indigenous people are reclassified as foreigners. Building on theories of
language and time, I show, through the ethnographic example of Jewish naming in Istanbul, how
names come to signify foreignness. I also explore naming as a process through which the subjects of
reclassification themselves understand present-day ontologies as historically informed and context
dependent. By studying moments of categorical reassignment, I detail the social semiotic processes
that drive the classification of signs as indices of belonging or exclusion. Anthropologists increasingly
study military, juridical, and economic ontologies that reorder, relocate, and restrict human (and
nonhuman) groups. I illuminate a quieter space, that of naming, through which classifications are
made and undone.

Matusitz, Jonathan
Repass, Michael
Gangs in Nigeria: an updated examination
CRIME LAW AND SOCIAL CHANGE 52(5):495-511 (2009)
This paper analyzes gangs in Nigeria, providing an updated examination of their current strategies and
activities. The premise of this analysis partly draws on Social Identity Theory, with respect to gang
affiliation. Particularly explored are (1) gang cultism as a common phenomenon on college campuses
in Nigeria (through their malicious, secret, fraternity-like activities) and (2) the role of Islam in Nigerian
gangs. The case study of the 'Yan Daba, urban gangs particularly found in the northern part of Nigeria,
is used to illustrate the authors' arguments. A brief comparison of Nigerian Muslim gangs with
European Muslim gangs is also provided.

Yong, Kee Howe

The politics and aesthetics of place-names in Sarawak
As elements of the political landscape, place-names can express not only the ideological themes of the
state but althe political atmosphere and processes by which nation-states make their impression on
the landscape. This essay, based on fieldwork conducted in Sarawak, Malaysia, in 1999 and 2000,
addresses the nature of place-names in Sarawak and focuses on how certain communities react to the
place-names of their villages and townships in their everyday lives, that is, how place-names are
derived, who speaks them, how they are used, and in what context. An exploration into subjects'
reactions to place-names can be read not only as the antithesis to state impressions on the national
landscape over time but also, to a varying extent, as traces of the original baptismal event in the
present circumstances. In short, place-names are active, context-generating as well as context-

Garcia-Sanchez, Inmaculada M.
PRAGMATICS 20(4):523-555 (2010)
This paper examines the situated ways in which Moroccan immigrant children in Spain create
imagined, alternative life worlds and explore possible forms of identification through an investigation of
these children's hybrid linguistic practices in the midst of play. Drawing on Bakhtin's (1981, 1986)
notions of heteroglossia and hybridity, the analysis focuses on the meanings of codeswitching
practices that a group of Moroccan immigrant girls deploy in pretend-play sequences involving dolls to
construct female identities; identities that they treat as desirable in the context of Spanish idealizations
of femininity, but that are considered transgressional by adults in Moroccan diaspora communities in
Spain. Neighborhood peer group play affords Moroccan immigrant girls' transformations and
engagement in subversive tactics, in that these activities take place outside the scrutiny of parents and
other adults. The rich verbal and sociocultural environment of Moroccan immigrant children's peer
groups provide us with an excellent window to investigate peer language socialization processes in
relation to how immigrant children negotiate, transform, and subvert in the midst of play the different,
and often incongruous, socio-cultural and linguistic expectations and constraints that they encounter
on a daily basis. Use of Moroccan Arabic and Spanish in this pretend play, in particular, results in a
heteroglossic polyphony of voices imbued with moral tensions (Bahktin 1981, 1986). This analysis
highlights the importance of these hybrid linguistic practices in immigrant girls' explorations of
alternative processes of gendered identification in multilingual, culturally-syncretic environments.
Through surreptitious pretend-play, Moroccan immigrant girls explore imagined transgressional
possible identities and moral worlds. In this sense, this research alunderscores the implications of
children's language use and language choice in pretend-play for larger processes of cultural continuity
and transformation in transnational, diasporic communities undergoing rapid change.

Hassa, Samira
Projecting, Exposing, Revealing Self in the Digital World: Usernames as
a Social Practice in a Moroccan Chatroom
NAMES-A JOURNAL OF ONOMASTICS 60(4):201-209 (2012)
This article analyzes the characteristics of 141 usernames in a Moroccan chatroom gathered over sixty
days (September 4 2011, through November 3 2011). Analysis of the results of this study identifies
eleven categories of usernames, including those using a common Moroccan first name, a first name
followed by a last name, a name with a number, usernames referring to Anglo-Saxon and French
cultures, and those referring to the Muslim religion. This study offers insights into the construction of
Moroccan identity in the virtual world that fluctuates between a traditional local Muslim Moroccan
identity and a desire to belong to the global community.

Tether, Leah
Perceval's Puerile Perceptions: The First Scene of the Conte du Graal as
an Index of Medieval Concepts of Human Development Theory
NEOPHILOLOGUS 94(2):225-239 (2010)
Utilising the first scene of Chretien de Troyes's Conte du Graal, this paper explores the problematic
nature of applying modern psychological theory to medieval literature, and proposes how medieval
literature itself may actually provide a useful, and relatively untapped, source for understanding
contemporaneous concepts of cognitive and perceptual development. Specifically, it demonstrates
how the oddly childlike characteristics of Chretien's Perceval, in this often-named Bildungsroman, can
be interpreted as mirroring particular schemes of development imagined by Classical and Medieval
thinkers such as Aristotle, Augustine and Boethius. The level of influence and popularity enjoyed by the
Conte, and indeed by Chretien's other works, implies that any scheme of development which can be
demonstrated as central to Chretien's narrative(s) may have been more widely authoritative. As such,
medieval literature may offer the medieval scholar acres of unploughed territory from which to glean a
more complete understanding of psychoanalysis in the Middle Ages.

LaDousa, Chaise
"Witty house name": Visual expression, interpretive practice, and uneven
agency in a midwestern college town (United States)
JOURNAL OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE 120:(478)445-481 (2007)
Many students living in a college town located in the Midwest of the United States have put up large
signs on the houses in which they reside. The signs' messages such as "Hangover Here," "Crammed
Inn," and "Syc-a-College" create puns drawing on multiple domains of meaning from student or local
life, including locations, institutions, and popular film or music titles. This article considers the different
meanings and purposes of house signs as envisioned by different groups of residents of named
houses in order to explore the contours of agency involved in house sign activity. Interviews with
residents of named houses reveal that some groups' interpretive desires are salient to all residents of
named houses, regardless of what they understand their house sign to do, while the interpretive
desires of others are thwarted. Thus, this article argues that agency is mediated by house sign activity
in uneven ways and, more broadly, uses the college house sign phenomenon to shed new light on the
ways in which agency is mediated by language.
Quaglia, Rocco
Longobardi, Claudio
Mendola, Manuela
Prino, Laura Elvira
Names in Psychological Science: Investigating the Processes of Thought
Development and the Construction of Personal Identities
This paper examines the name as an issue of interest in the psychology field. In thinking about the role
played by names for some of the most important approaches on the psychology panorama, it has
been found that the analysis of names can be used as an instrument for the investigation of thought
formation processes, or as an element in the process of constructing personal identity. In the first case,
the focus is on the so-called "common" names, which designate objects; in the second case, instead, it
is on people's given names and on the way they are perceived by their bearers and those who
surround them. We have examined both domains, since it is essential to understand how the
psychological concepts related to names develop in children's minds, if we aim to grasp their
importance as designators of people's internal and external realities. Lastly, we have proposed our
own view of the person's name, linked to the relational systems perspective which essentially sees the
name as a signifier or "representative" of the child-parent relationship, while the "relationship" is the

Mensah, Eyo
Female nicknames in Nigeria: The case of Calabar metropolis
LANGUAGE MATTERS 47(2)184-202 (2016)
Nicknames individuate and identify their bearers and stand out with more socio-cognitive forces than
the conventional names within the socio-cultural setting and beyond. In this article, I examine the
sociolinguistic and ethnographic significance of nicknaming among female adolescents in Nigeria with
particular emphasis on those living in Calabar Metropolis, Cross River State, south-east Nigeria. I take
into account the dynamics of female nicknames, their social consequences in group integration and
solidarity as well as the sources of these nicknames. The study is rooted in Leslie and Skipper's (1991)
socio-onomastic theory of nicknames which differentiates between constitutive, preferential and ad hoc
rules of nicknaming in understanding the social construction of the nicknaming process. I therefore,
conclude that female nicknames are creative, cultural symbols and styles by means of which female
adolescents express themselves as a form of critical resistance to the stereotypical image of women in
a conservative society, given their psychological, sexual and aesthetic appeal.