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Salish Sea gets more recognition

The world has a new sea, the Salish Sea Credit: Stefan Freelan, Western Washington University

The American Name Society — yeah, I didn’t know there was such a thing either — has picked the Salish Sea as “Place Name of the Year.” The group is devoted to the study of onomastics, “names and their place in society.” The group announces their “Names of the Year” in several categories at their annual national conference in January.

The names tend to reflect news and trends in America and Canada, and the Salish Sea qualifies as interesting for a number of reasons. One, the designation was a significant naming event in both countries. It also represents a trend toward recognizing indigenous peoples, in this case even more interesting because the term Salish describes a language group. Last year’s place name winner was also from the Great Nearby: Wasilla, made a household word during the 2008 presidential campaign.

In other categories, Twitter was selected as “Trade Name of the Year,” Max as “Fictional Name of the Year” (after the main character in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are); Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III was voted “Personal Name of the Year,”and H1N1 was picked for a special award.

Last year, the trade names picked were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the fictional name was Edward (from the teen vampire in Twilight, the fictional book and film series sent on the Olympic Peninsula), and the personal name was Barack Hussein Obama.

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