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11-13 juni 2009

Internationaal Symposium Names in the Economy III
Plaats: Meertens Instituut, Amsterdam
Meer informatie is te vinden op de conferentiewebsite

Onomastics between linguistics and ethnology

Date: June 9th 2009
Place: Meertens Instituut, Symposiumzaal

13.45 Welcome
coffee and tea
14.00 – 14.45 Elwys De Stefani (University of Bern)
Proper names and the construction of social identities. A conversation analytic account of the use of place names and personal names in naturally occurring interaction
14.45 – 15.30 Sheila Embleton (York University)
Finnish-Swedish language contact as reflected in the place names of Finland
15.30 – 16.15 Barbara Czopek-Kopciuch (Institute of Polish Language, Krakow)
Holendry and holender; the influence of Dutch immigrants on the
Polish lexicon
16.30  Drinks


Elwys De Stefani
is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Italian Language and
Literature of the University of Berne, Switzerland. He received his Ph.D. in 2001
from the University of Basel, Switzerland with a thesis in diachronic Italian
linguistics on the history and etymology of Friulian family names (Northern Italy).
His current research interests include conversation analysis, interactional linguistics,
multimodality and the use of language in mobile environments. In his work he has
focused particularly on syntactic marked structures in French conversation and on
decision-making sequences in customer-to-customer interaction at the point of sale.
He is currently directing a research project financed by the Swiss National Science
Foundation, studying the use of place names and spatial descriptions in various
settings of social interaction.
Address: Institute of Italian Language and Literature, University of Berne,
Länggassstr. 49, 3012 Bern 9, Switzerland. E-mail:

Sheila Embleton
is a Full Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and
Linguistics. Her academic background is in mathematics and linguistics and her
current research focuses on dialectometry. Her areas of scholarly interest are
historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, mathematical/statistical methods
in linguistics, onomastica, Peircean semiotics, and women and language. She has
published in all of these areas. Her areas of language specialization include English,
German, Germanic, French, Romance, Slavic, and Finno-Ugric. Her current research
is mostly on dialectometry (statistical methods applied to dialect study), with
particular application to British, Finnish and Romanian dialects. She has served as
Vice-President Academic at York University since July 2000, having previously been
Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts. She is currently President of the International
Council of Onomastic Sciences. She has served as Chair of the Ontario Council of
Academic Vice-Presidents and of the National Vice-Presidents ’Academic Council,
and currently chairs OCAV ’s standing committee on international issues. She is a
member of the Board of the Canadian Bureau for International Education.
E-mail: embleton@YORKU.CA

Barbara Czopek-Kopciuch graduated in Polish philology at the Jagiellonian
University in Krakow. Since 1976 she works at the Institute of Polish Language of the
Polish Academy of Sciences. She is head of the toponymic department and adjunct
director of the Institute of Polish Language. Since January 2008 she is professor of
humanities. Her main field of research is toponymy. She also studies antroponymy
and language contact in the light of onomastics.


Elwys De Stefani
Proper names and the construction of social identities. A
conversation analytic account of the use of place names and personal names in
naturally occurring interaction

Traditionally, proper names are studied within the field of onomastics. In this research
tradition, proper names are most often analyzed from a diachronic perspective,
allowing precise description of their original motivations and their various linguistic
developments. The historical approach has thus stimulated our understanding of the
way proper names were used in the societies in which they were created. However,
the field of onomastics has often been accused of a lack of innovation: according to
Levinson (2003: 69) “the study of place-names or onomastics is one of the older
branches of linguistic enquiry [ …]. But despite the long tradition of study, little of
theoretical interest has emerged ”. In addition, the study of the present day uses of
proper names has not interested many onomasticians. As for the pragmatic functions
of proper names, they have mainly been discussed by scholars working in the field of
language philosophy (cf. Searle 1958, Kripke 1972, Van Langendonck 2007): their
considerations draw almost exclusively from introspective reflections and often fail to
take into account the way speakers actually use proper names in their daily activities.
One possibility of conducting comprehensive research into the way proper names are
employed in human interaction is through the analysis of empirical data collected
through audio and/or video recordings of social encounters. This approach – which
has recently been proposed under the heading interactional onomastics (De Stefani
2006, in press) – implies a shift of perspective which contributes to an emerging area
of interdisciplinary research: the study of proper names in spoken language.
Increasingly, proper names have also become a research subject within conversation
analysis, where studies on the referential uses of personal names have been carried
out until very recently (Sacks & Schegloff 1979, Auer 1983, Downing 1996,
Schegloff 1996, 2007, Enfield & Stivers 2007, Lerner & Kitzinger 2007, Oh 2007,
Halonen 2008). My basic assumption, which is corroborated by the aforementioned
studies and other work (as Watson 1981, Goodwin 2003), is that proper names are not
only employed as simple reference devices but that they are used to accomplish a
variety of socially and interactionally relevant tasks. This is true for personal names
as well as for place names, which have been studied to a lesser extent in the
conversation analytic field (cf. Schegloff 1972, Auer 1979, Mondada 2000, Myers
2006). Researchers have been able to show that the use of place names is sensitive to
situational, contextual and interactional contingencies. For instance, the location of
the speakers has proven to be relevant to place name selection, which is also
contingent on the mutual categorization of the participants. From this perspective,
both personal names and place names play an important role in the construction of
socially relevant identities.

Sheila EmbletonFinnish-Swedish language contact as reflected in the place names
of Finland

Finland is constitutionally a bilingual country, with a Finnish-speaking majority and a
Swedish-speaking minority (about 5% of the population). There has been prolonged
contact between the speakers of these languages, and this has resulted in various
linguistic contact effects. This paper will be restricted to the reflection of that contact
in the toponymy (place names) of Finland. The paper will present a classification and
exemplification of different types of loan-name found in areas of Finnish-Swedish
contact, and shows how place names can provide information on both age of
settlements and ethnicity of various layers of settlement, using etymology and
linguistic methods in conjunction with other tools (e.g. from geology). The linguistic
evidence is often fairly clear as to which linguistic group was original in a given area,
but those answers are not always readily accepted by the current inhabitants, for
political reasons, leading to much debate amongst scholars and laypersons alike.
Details of the sociolinguistic debate, from both the historical and current points of
view, are presented, along with an overview and bibliography of recent scholarly
research on the topic.

Barbara Czopek-Kopciuch
Holendry and holender; the influence of Dutch
immigrants on the Polish lexicon

In this paper I will show the connection of the place name Holendry (which means
something like ‘Dutch village’ in Polish) with the arrival of Dutch immigrants in
Poland in the XVIth century and a new type of agriculture that was introduced as a
consequence. This type of agriculture included the cultivation of grass land after
drainage and cattle-breeding. After the introduction of this type of agriculture new
villages in which inhabitants applied the same techniques have been named Holendry
[Olędry] in practically every region of Poland, not only in regions where Dutch
immigrants have settled. So the name of the nationality of the citizens of Holland,
Holendry, was transferred from the settlers to the villages and the type of agriculture.
I will also explain the etymology and the meaning of the word holender in the Polish
language and in its dialects.

References of Elwys De Stefani

Auer, J. C. P. 1979. Referenzierungssequenzen in Konversationen. Das Beispiel
‘Ortsangaben’. Linguistische Berichte 62: 94-106.
Auer, J. C. P. 1983. Ãœberlegungen zur Bedeutung der Namen aus einer ‘realistischen’
Sichtweise. In Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft. Sprachtypologie und
Textlinguistik. Festschrift für Peter Hartmann, M. Faust, R. Harweg, W.
Lehfeldt & G. Wienold (eds.), 173-185. Tübingen: Narr.
De Stefani, E. 2006. Onomastica interazionale. La prospettiva degli interlocutori.
Rivista Italiana di Onomastica 7/2: 609-610.
De Stefani, E. in press. Per un ’onomastica interazionale. I nomi propri nella
conversazione. Rivista Italiana di Onomastica 15.
Downing, P. 1996. Proper names as a referential option in English conversation. In
Studies in Anaphora, B. A. Fox (ed.), 95-143. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John
Enfield, N. J. & Stivers, T. (eds.). 2007. Person Reference in Interaction. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Goodwin, C. 2003. Recognizing Assessable Names. In Studies in Language and
Social Interaction, P. J. Glenn, C. D. LeBaron & J. Mandelbaum (eds), 151-
161. Mawhaw: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Halonen, M. 2008. Person reference as a device for constructing experiences as
typical in group therapy; In Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy. A.
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Kripke, S. A. 1972. Naming and Necessity. In Semantics of Natural Language, D.
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Levinson, S. 2003. Space in Language and Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge
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Oh, S.-Y. 2007. Overt Reference to Speaker and Recipient in Korean. Discourse
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