Onomastic lexicography

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorPatrick Hanks, Richard Coates
TitleOnomastic lexicography
AbstractModern scholarship and techniques of data analysis have shown that even the best current dictionaries of surnames in Britain are full of errors, oversights, guesswork, fudges, and omissions. In this paper we present a new project designed to rectify this situation. A database has been compiled containing entries for all the family names in Britain. Entries in this database for family names with more than 100 bearers — and for many less frequent names, too — are being systematically compared with data on medieval surnames and with a geodemographic analysis of the 1881 census. The associations between surnames and localities are explored systematically, with results that quite often have a profound effect on our understanding of the origins and etymology. The English, Celtic, French, and Scandinavian etymologies of native names are investigated using the best techniques of historical linguistic scholarship. The national identity of recent immigrant names is explained.
SessionOther topics
Keywordssurnames, family names, FaNUK, etymology, medieval evidence, geodemographic analysis, onomastic database
author = {Patrick Hanks and Richard Coates},
title = {Onomastic lexicography},
pages = {811--815},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 15th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2012},
month = {aug},
date = {7-11},
address = {Oslo,Norway},
editor = {Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld and Julie Matilde Torjusen},
publisher = {Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo},
isbn = {978-82-303-2228-4},