In this handbook, scholars from around the world offer an up-to-date account of the state of the art in different areas of onomastics, in a format that is both useful to specialists in related fields and accessible to the general reader. Since Ancient Greece, names have been regarded as central to the study of language, and this has continued to be a major theme of both philosophical and linguistic enquiry throughout the history of Western thought. The investigation of name origins is more recent, as is the study of names in literature. Relatively new is the study of names in society, which draws on techniques from sociolinguistics and has gradually been gathering momentum over the last few decades. The structure of this volume reflects the emergence of the main branches of name studies, in roughly chronological order. The first Part focuses on name theory and outlines key issues about the role of names in language, focusing on grammar, meaning, and discourse. Parts II and III deal with the study of place-names and personal names respectively, while Part IV outlines contrasting approaches to the study of names in literature, with case studies from different languages and time periods. Part V explores the field of socio-onomastics, with chapters relating to the names of people, places, and commercial products. Part VI then examines the interdisciplinary nature of name studies, before the concluding Part presents a selection of animate and inanimate referents ranging from aircraft to animals, and explains the naming strategies adopted for them.
Carole Hough is Professor of Onomastics at the University of Glasgow, where she has lectured for nearly 20 years. She is a historical linguist with particular interests in the development of the English language and the role of name evidence. She has published extensively on name studies and other topics and is currently President of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, Vice-President of the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland, and a Council Member of the English Place-Name Society.