Naming: What? Why? How? Review of Irina V. Annenkova, Elena N. Remchukova (eds.). 2018. Naming in Different Areas of Communication Field. Ottawa: Carleton University

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Abstract



Naming is a multifaceted phenomenon approached from different perspectives and in different academic disciplines. It deserves special attention, which is demon- strated by the collective monograph “Naming in Different Areas of Communication Field”. In the preliminary remarks to the book under review the editors state that today naming issues are widely discussed not only in professional circles of specialists engaged in brand promotion and advertising texts, but also by linguists whose research is closely connected with communication studies, cognitive science, semantics, etс. The sociolin- guistic situation in Russia at the beginning of the XXI century is characterized by the rapid development of nomination in the commercial sphere where it involves the linguistic nomination of institutions and goods pursuing various commercial objectives. However, in modern research this special type of linguistic activity should be marked with a more precise term of naming, speech activity aimed at creating original and memorable names for companies, enterprises, goods and services” (pp. 5-6). It is a well-known fact that naming is applicable to many spheres of human activity. The monograph embraces several fields of communication and classifies them into three parts: “Modern Strategies in Urban Naming”, “Adaptive Tactics of Creative Naming in Media Space” and “Naming in the Context of Intercultural Communication”. The choice of areas demonstrates the diversity of problems under research and presupposes the multiplicity of approaches to the analysis of naming. The objects of naming in the first part include: o urban places and urbanonyms (Marina Golomidova “Naming of Urban Places and Problems of Urbanonymic Planning”, Elena Remchukova “Commercial Naming and Creative Speech Activity (Based on Urbanonyms in Russian Megacities)”, Tatiana Sokolova “Сonflictogenic Urbanonyms in the Aspect of Naming Expertise”); o automobile naming (Olga Maksimenko “Linguistic Problems of Automobile Naming (Abbreviation Peculiarities)”); o dental clinics (Oxana Issers “Naming Strategy of Dental Clinics Marketing (the Region of Siberia as Example)”); o bridal shops (Natalia Novospasskaya, Olesya Lazareva, Natalia Perlieva “The Functioning of the Precedent Proper Names in Ergonomie (Based on Names of Russian, English and Serbian Bridal Shops)”). In the second part the chapters focus on media space: Irina Annenkova “Naming as a Type of Media Space: Transformation of Meanings in MassMedia”; Irina Kryukova “Semantic Transformations of Global Brands in Russian Post-Soviet MassMedia”; Еlena Naumova “Invective Naming as a Means of Modeling the Image of the Enemy in the Print Media”; Oxana Aleksandrova “Foreign Film Title: Translation or New Naming Unit?”; Vera Zirka “Saturation Paradigm of a Contemporary Smart Ad”. If we try to answer the question why all these topics attract the attention of scholars we may recall that, on the one hand, many researchers treat mass media rather broadly, including such spheres as cinema, popular fiction, video, pop music and fashion. On the other hand, modern approaches to discourse allow us to consider cities and city life as a sort of discourse, provided we understand it as a cognitive process, as a rever- beration of thinking with the help of particular language means. Discourse study presupposes a multidisciplinary approach embracing all the ten- dencies in the development of such areas as computational linguistics, artificial intelli- gence, theoretical linguistics, social semiotics, psychology, logic, philosophy, historical studies, political studies, anthropology, ethnic studies, theory and practice of translation, literary criticism, etc. Moreover, discourse, which is a keystone of the cognitive paradigm in linguistics, is a synthesis of the two leading trends in modern research and cognitive and communicative ones. It is worth mentioning that the recent International Congress on Cognitive Linguistics (which took place at Lomonosov Moscow State University October 10-12, 2018) was entitled “Cognitio and Communicatio in Today’s Globalised World”. The authors of the monograph demonstrate their awareness of these tendencies and adhere to them. The monograph also reflects modern trends in the development of culture studies, intercultural and linguo-cultural studies. In one of the latest investigations in these fields we come across the following statement. V. Krasnykh indicates that a person is formed as a personality, a member of a particular cultural and linguistic community (Bubnova, Zykova, Krasnyh, Ufimceva 2017: 189). At the same time we bear in mind the Ter-Minasova’s definition of language applied to intercultural communication: “Language is a powerful tool, which forms a crowd of people into an etnos, constitutes a nation through preservation and transmission of culture, traditions, public consiousness” (Ter-Minasova 2000: 15). It allows us to bridge the gap between the first two parts of the monograph and the last one, which, to a certain extent, stands apart. It contains two chapters and con- tributes to the ideas of intercultural and multicultural communication: Olga Rovnova “Russian Dialects in South America: Problems of Studying and Saving”; Maria Pilgun “Specific Nature of the Naming Unit in the LInguistic World View: Intercultural Aspect”. The titles indicate that in the first part of the monograph the scholars not only provide a thorough analysis of urban space in terms of naming but also demonstrate their social awareness. For example, in the chapter “Naming of Urban Places and Problems of Urbanonymic Planning” Marina Golomidova claims: “Modern Russian practice indicates that there is an increased public attention to activities connected with name creation and involves a significant group of peuple. However, this does not relieve the urbanonymic nomination process of lobbying individual interests or naming failures” (p. 19). Elena Remchukova in her paper “Commercial Naming and Creative Speech Activity (Based on Urbanonyms in Russian Megacities)” discusses in greater detail the problems of creativity in coining urbanonyms and their linguistic peculiarities: “Modern urbanonyms reflect the multicultural nature of Russian cities, forcing a nomi- nator to seek a balance between the universal and national components of a name’s meanings. Ethnical and cultural components are actualized in naming with the help of toponyms, exoticisms, ethnic names, precedent phenomena... The abuse of the Latin alphabet and graphic hybridization as a means of creative naming is explained, to some extent, by the lack of “deterrents” - the major regulators in the field of naming. In terms of the development of the nominators’ professional competencies, it seems appro- priate and timely to formulate the uniform principles of naming commercial places, develop recommendations for the nominators, form the base of linguistic and creative urbanonyms” (p. 30). Tatiana Sokolova in her paper “Сonflictogenic Urbanonyms in the Aspect of Naming Expertise” prevents those who introduce new names from spontaneous and not very thoughtful decisions because it may lead to misunderstanding and even result in conflicts: “Thus, naming expertise at the stage of verification of the claimed designa- tion, at the stage of registration of a trade name and placement of a commercial desig- nation on an urban sign can serve as a preventive measure for the emergence of conflic- togenic urbanonyms, and at the stage of consideration of citizens’ complaints to the FAS and litigation - help to make informed decisions” (p. 77). Considering a rather specific sphere of automobile naming Maksimenko points out: “In real practice of the communications integrative formation and perception of a nomination (on the basis of collective and individual) occurs. All this makes it necessary to investigate features and laws of perception and creation of names, including commercial, and specificity of their functioning in real practice of the communications” (p. 41). The study of dental clinics naming seems even more specialized but the author of it (Issers) carries out a rigorous analysis of the process in question from the point of view of various linguistic and communicative aspects and concludes by saying: “This study demonstrates the main marketing and naming strategies found in the commercial branding of Russian dental services... To sum it up, the study of naming of dental services in Russia could be useful for analysis of medicine branding and naming peculiarities. Moreover, it also provides a basis for drawing conclusions on the for- mation of city environment in a particular region” (p. 54). The first part of the monograph ends with subjecting to the analysis of the bridal shops naming performed by Natalia Novospasskaya, Olesya Lazareva and Natalia Perlieva on the background of different cultures, namely Russian, English and Serbian, paying special attention to the functioning of the precedent proper names in ergonomie. The authors draw the following conclusion: “The use of precedent-setting proper nouns as ergonymic namings is currently of relevance. Precedent-setting nouns in ad- vertese, pragmatics and mass media language are characterized by bright imagery, expressiveness and typification. The use of a precedent-setting onym in ergonymy appears to be connotative use of a proper noun in its metaphoric meaning; ergonyms of this type serve both to name and characterize objects which are an important compo- nent of the social realm of a certain nation. Precedent-setting nouns performing assessment and typification functions characterize an object by indicating such object’s direct involvement with the bearer of precedent setting or by transferring the bearer’s features” (p. 59). In the second part of the collective monograph under discussion called “Adaptive Tactics of Creative Naming in Media Space” the authors try to embrace various tenden- cies in media sphere connected with naming in general and linguistic peculiarities of this process in particular. Here we may come across some interesting observations concerning the introduc- tion of Latin script in the Cyrillic writing system in the paper “Naming as a Type of Media Space: Transformation of Meanings in Mass Media” by Irina Annenkova: “Invasion of Latin script in Cyrillic writing system is not a new phenomenon in our culture. The incorporation of foreign languages into Russian media, the flooding of Russian linguistic system with foreign words and, finally, the attempts to completely or partially replace the Cyrillic letters with Latin ones, is observed by the linguists for already more than three hundred years, and there is still no definite answer to the question of how to relate to this expansion of foreign words into the Russian linguistic and cul- tural-speech environment” (p. 83-84). When in Russian quality press we come across such headlines as we understand that it may serve not only as a means of attracting attention but also as a means of segre- gating the target audience, because if a certain edition employs this sort of language play it relies on the ability of their readers to decipher this linguistic quiz. Moreover, these examples show the distortion of cultural mental stereotypes (called cognitive stereotypes). These ideas partly correlate with the next paper “Semantic Transformations of Global Brands in Russian Post-soviet Mass Media” by Irina Kryukova: “...global brands are not just fixed in collective linguistic consciousness, but they are also emo- tionally evaluated by the native speakers of Russian. Semantic transformations, followed by appellativation, pluralization, and the development of figurative meanings, is a com- mon quality of the global brands. At that, they get a potential ability to denote the objects and phenomena of Russian reality, which share common semantic feature. We observe the forming of ambivalent emotional evaluative meanings, which reflect ambiguous attitudes to the globalization process in Russian society. As the result, at a certain stage of its semantic development the global brand becomes one of the most vivid figurative means of expressing the value system of Russians” (p. 96). This cognitively-based approach to the language of modern mass media is further developed in the paper “Invective Naming as a Means of Modeling the Image of the Enemy in the Print Media” by Еlena Naumova. She comes to the following conclu- sion: “The most frequently read and cited media are capable of forming stable connota- tive connections in readers and simulate certain images on their basis. This modeling takes place with the use of stylistic means of speech, widely used in journalism, in particular, by means of invective language. The analysis of invective stylistic speech means in the mass media, making the top of Yandex by citation in Russia, revealed that the publication seeks to shape a certain image of reality in accordance with its more or less engaged editorial policy in the reader, and evaluative stylistic means carry out the most important function of the journalistic style - the impact function - to their fullest” (p. 106). The problem of naming is illustrated with a somewhat different material provided by Oxana Aleksandrova. She entitled her paper “Foreign Film Title: Translation or New Naming Unit?” and suggests the following solution to this problem: “Translators use different strategies to convey the meaning of the original title, which vary from literal translation to complete transformation due to language differences and, as a result, communication barriers. The material revealed that the most popular strategy is literal translation, followed by lexico-semantic substitution, grammatical replacement and addition; omission is rather rare. If adequate translation is not possible, a new naming unit is necessary. In Russian, a new naming unit is accompanied by expressed nuance, nonce words, idioms, while economy of language means and correlation with the film genre remain important. The choice in favour of a new title is determined by the commercial necessity, “trans- parency” degree and the conformity to the recipient culture, as well as by the nominator’s aesthetic preferences. According to the study results, both translation and new naming unit may be successful or unsuccessful. It is important to comply with the requirements for the heading text. In the case a new title has to be selected, the translator has to act as its author, to understand his intentions and creative idea, which we consider to be a difficult task” (p. 136). In the chapter entitled “Saturation Paradigm of a Contemporary Smart Ad”, Vera Zirka suggests a new term - saturation paradigm. We can only guess the exact meaning of the term comparing it with such well-known terminological units as “saturation point” or “saturation coverage”. It reveals that by smart ad she means a smart (intellectual) advert summary (SAS) as a kind of a secondary text. According to the author, it is a quali- tative text summary of any literary work, a brief description of its contents, characters, references, some information about the author, etc. She believes that the texts under consideration are characterized by special linguistic content (saturation) resulting in manipulation. The author claims that this mode reflects a close relationship of the two main functions of advertising messages: information and impact. Naming is closely connected with advertising and marketing. According to Ksenzenko, “Topicality of the problems connected with the study of the regulations of language units use in advertising communication is justified by a complex of objective reasons: the development of international contacts, the characteristics of modern media space formation and evolution, marketing communication importance growth/interfe- rence and integration of cultures” (Ksenzenko 2013: 101). The third part of the monograph entitled “Naming in the Context of Intercultural Communication” contains two chapters, which have already been mentioned above. The conclusion to the second paper of this section (“Specific Nature of the Naming Unit in the Linguistic World View: Intercultural Aspect” by Maria Pilgun) sounds quite impressive and promising for the discussion of an intricate matter of intercultural communication: “Nowadays, only the combination of openness of the domestic cultures with preservation and development of the national traditions can allow avoiding unification of the cultures, which downgrades the national and social features to the level of folklore, replacement of the term “cultural dialogue” with the term “cultural products exchange” (p. 175). Hence, this review answers the questions raised in the title: what is discussed in connection with naming; why all these problems are tackled in the research works of scholars; how naming is treated at the background of the modern paradigm of humanitarian studies as a reverberation of reality and its cognitive manifestations in intercultural communication. The collective monograph under review produces a most favourable impression and is recommended to for specialists in different areas of knowledge, such as journalism, linguistics, cognitive studies, the general theory of nomination (naming) and everyone interested in the problems under discussion.

Elena O Mendzheritskaya

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Email: discourse@mail.ru
Leninskie Gory, 1-51, 119991, Moscow, Russia PhD, Associate Professor of the English Department, Faculty of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

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