The Sixth International Conference on Onomastics “Name and Naming”

Baia Mare, September 5-7, 2023

(In)correctness in Onomastics


The theme of the conference, (In)correctness in Onomastics, has a twofold meaning. On the one hand, it implies the reconsideration of certain onomastic theories as well as older etymologies and hypotheses, which with the passage of time have become outdated and in need of revisiting. On the other hand, (in)correctness in onomastics is conceptually linked to political correctness/incorrectness. This ideologically promoted topic is currently of great interest and contributes to the redefinition of social phenomena, names/words, historical events, and geographical names. The process is favoured by the present-day worldview which encompasses different perspectives foregrounded by the hermeneutic framework and recent sensitivities.

Noteworthy examples include the following:

  • in anthroponymy, there are “cursed” names whose use has become a taboo and is therefore illegal in various countries (e.g., Hitler, Bin Laden); the nicknames consisting of such names confirm the aforementioned reality;
  • starting from the dichotomy correct/incorrect, the field of toponymy has recorded the change of names of countries (the Netherlands, North Macedonia), various places (English place names were replaced with aboriginal names in Australia and New Zeeland among others), settlements (underpinned by sociopolitical, racial, religious, economic, or moral reasons), streets, institutions, companies, etc.;
  • in literature, there are writers who have been condemned (in the USA, some schools and members of the academic community have demanded that Shakespeare’s works be removed from the curriculum) and book titles which have become undesirable (in 2020, James Prichard, Agatha Christie’s great grandson, announced that the novel And Then There Were None would no longer be published in France as Dix petits nègres, the translation of the original title of the book, Ten Little Niggers, due to the racist connotations it may trigger – see, for instance,;
  • in ergonymy, while ethnic names for diseases/pandemics might have been common in the past (e.g., Spanish flu), they are unacceptable nowadays (e.g., Covid-19 instead of the potentially stigmatizing names China/Chinese flu, China/Chinese virus, New China virus, China coronavirus, and Wuhan virus/flu).