Open lecture: the historical trajectory of naming

On September 19, Professor Richard Coates, a renowned researcher, linguist, and expert of onomastics from University of the West of England will hold a lecture dedicated to “The historical trajectory of naming in particular categories: a general hypothesis”.

Professor’s academic interests lie in the fields of proper names, historical linguistics in general, the philology of the Germanic, Romance and Celtic languages. He has written books on the names of the Channel Islands, the local place-names of St Kilda, Hampshire and Sussex, the dialect of Sussex, as well as over 500 academic articles, notes, and collections on related topics. His main contribution to linguistic theory is The Pragmatic Theory of Properhood, set out in a number of articles since 2000.

At the lecture Professor will cover the following issues

There is a pattern in the history of proper names in new categories of nameables. Firstly names are adapted from names of things in other, conceptually related, categories. Secondly, new essentialist names appear. Thirdly, there is a trajectory towards increasing arbitrariness in naming within each category. This tendency is illustrated using selected onomastic data from the history of railway locomotives, small private businesses and rock music groups. The illustrative material is mainly British, or at least Anglophone, but a claim of universality is suggested for the pattern presented.


Assembly hall, 5B Malyj Kazennyj pereulok, Moscow.