1st Edition

Names, Naming, and the Law Onomastics, Identity, Power, and Policy

Edited By I. M. Nick Copyright 2024
    266 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Across many social and commercial domains, governments regulate the official names used to identify individuals, groups, places, companies & products, and even diseases. This innovative volume investigates the relationship between names and the law, with its significant implications for identity (individual, familial, race, ethnicity, gender, species, brand & product industry, etc.) and status (social, scientific, economic, and political).

    I. M. Nick introduces the state of the art on this interdisciplinary topic¾ providing a diachronic and synchronic view of onomastics and the law¾ and expert contributors examine seminal Anglo-American legal cases to demonstrate how name polices relate to broader questions of power, privilege, and politics. Each chapter offers an overview of key issues in onomastics and language policy across multiple geo-cultural contexts, and applies the interdisciplinary insights to real-world policies.

    This book is a valuable resource for scholars of legal linguistics, forensic linguistics, onomastics, language policy, and cultural studies.

    List of Abbreviations

    List of Contributors

    Chapter 1: Names, Naming, Laws, Policies, and Identity: A Basic Introduction

    I. M. Nick

    Chapter 2: Patrilineal Bias in the Adoption of Surnames following Marriage in the United Kingdom and the United States

    Eleanor Peters

    Chapter 3: Naming, Expressive Interests, and the Law:
    The Implications of Governmental Form Design

    Laura A. Heymann

    Chapter 4: Laws and Policies Regulating Personal Names and Transgender and Gender Diverse Identities in the US and Canada

    Sharon N. Obasi and I. M. Nick

    Chapter 5: Both And vs. Either Or: The Challenge of Official Names and Naming for the US Census in Multicultural America

    I. M. Nick

    Chapter 6: Applied Toponymy in the United States: A Compendium of the History and Policy Development of Geographic Names and Naming

    Roger Payne

    Chapter 7: Toponomy and Law: Neighborhood Names in Legal Perspective

    Nestor M. Davidson and David Fagundes

    Chapter 8: The Law on Geographical Indications and Traditional Food Names: Protecting Local and Regional Interests in a Global Arena

    Caoimhín Macmaoláin

    Chapter 9: From Fluoxetine to Prozac®

    How the Pharmaceutical Industry Builds Brand Identity through Prescription Drug Naming

    Pascaline Faure

    Chapter 10: Naming Unnamed Diseases: Governmental Policies, Historical Practices, and Identity Repercussions

    I. M. Nick

    Chapter 11: The Name of the Rose (and Everything Else): How Codes and Practices in Naming Biological Species Reflect Cultural Identities

    Stephen B. Heard

    Chapter 12: Names, Identity Interests, US American Trademark Law, and Collective Face

    Michael Adams

    Chapter 13: What’s in a Name? Linguistic and Legal Aspects of Company Names, Product and Service Names, Trademarks, and Brands

    Alan Durant and Jennifer Davis



    I. M. Nick holds a BA (Germanics); BSc (Clinical/Abnormal Psychology); MA (German Linguistics); MSc (Forensic and Investigative Psychology); PhD and the German "Habilitation" (English Linguistics). Her onomastic research focusses on anthroponymy, identity, and language-policy. A past President of the American Name Society (ANS), she’s Editor-in-Chief of Names: A Journal of Onomastics.