II Всеукраинская научно-практическая конференция «Актуальные проблемы преподавания иностранных языков для профессионального общения». Том 1

Луців Р.С.

Тернопільський національний економічний університет, Україна


An eponym – back-formed from eponymous – is when something is named after a person or other proper noun. Eponym can refer to the source and to the thing named, which could be a place, action, object, description and so on. The word is back-formed from "eponymous", from the Greek "eponymos" meaning "giving name".

An eponymous album is one with the same name as the band, while an eponymous character or hero is one whose name appears in the title of the story, such as Emma or Oliver Twist.

The origins of some eponyms are well known, such as boycott from Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott and mesmerise from Franz Mesmer. Others are less obvious. Sandwich, panic, silhouette, algorithm and nicotine all derive from proper nouns: John Montagu (4th Earl of Sandwich), Pan (Greek god), Etienne de Silhouette (French finance minister), al-Khwārizmī (Persian mathematician) and Jean Nicot (French diplomat who inspired the formal plant name Nicotiana), dahlia, from the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl; the sousaphone, from the American bandmaster John Philip Sousa; and volt, from the Italian physicist Count Alessandro Volta. Many eponymous words come from literary, biblical or mythological sources: malapropism, from Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's The Rivals; Dickensian, from the English writer Charles Dickens; as old as Methuselah, from the age of the Old Testament patriarch; and aphrodisiac, from the Greek goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite.

Mentor was the name of Odysseus’ friend in The Odyssey, and the word is popular today both as a generic noun for someone who advises another, and as a verb for what they do. It also led to the adjective mentorial and the noun mentee, meaning a person who is mentored (though protégé is generally preferred).

Scientific discoveries are frequently named after their discoverer. Medical science is full of examples, while laws and principles (many of them in physics) are often eponymous. These might, however, be more accurately considered pseudo-eponyms.

Some writers’ styles and ideas have been distinctive enough to give us eponymous adjectives, for example Kafkaesque, Dickensian and Orwellian. Although these words convey a meaning associated with the writers, they have taken on a life of their own. This is especially true of sadistic and its noun form sadism, which we owe to the Marquis de Sade.

Brand names too can become so widely used that the object or activity loses its strict association with the brand. It happened to biro, escalator, yo-yo, and zipper, and it’s happening to Rollerblades and Google – both of which are still trademarks. Corporations tend to resist this trend, but over time it can be hard to prevent genericization of a successful brand name.

Among banking and stock exchange terms we can differentiate three groups of eponyms. They include the names of the companiesClifford trust (Clifford Trusts allow grantors to transfer assets that produce income into the trust and then reclaim them when the trust expires. These trusts cannot last for a term of less than 10 years plus one day. Clifford Trusts were used as an effective and legal means of avoiding large tax expenses), Dow Jones & Co Inc. (this company covers the news from Wall Street to Main Street. Dow Jones & Company is a leading provider of news and information with a portfolio of newspapers and magazines anchored by The Wall Street Journal), Lloyd’s of London (the world's leading insurance market providing specialist insurance services to businesses in over 200 countries and territories), Moody’s (Economic and Consumer Credit Analytics), Morgan Stanley capital international indices (global financial services firm and a market leader in securities, asset management and credit services), Russell Indexes (a family of global equity indices that allow investors to track the performance of distinct market segments worldwide), Zacks Investment Research (Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on equities earnings estimates and stock analysis for the individual investor, including stock picks, stocks); terms of technical analysis: Black-Scholes Option Pricing Model (the Black-Scholes model is used to calculate a theoretical call price using the five key determinants of an option's price: stock price, strike price, volatility, time to expiration, and short-term (risk free) interest rate), Dow TheoryFibonacci Ratios (Fibonacci retracement is a very popular tool among technical traders and is based on the key numbers identified by mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci in the thirteenth century), Fourier Analysis (a type of mathematical analysis that attempts to identify patterns or cycles in a time series data set which has already been normalized. Named after the nineteenth-century French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier), Herrick Payoff Index (the Herrick Payoff Index uses analyzing of volume, price changes, and open interest changes to determine the amount of money flowing into or out of a futures contract), Kondratieff Wave, Rorschach test, Williams% Rjuridical terms: Clayton Act (the act seeks to capture anticompetitive practices in their incipiency by prohibiting particular types of conduct, not deemed in the best interest of a competitive market), Glass-Steagall Act (a law that established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the United States and imposed banking reforms, several of which were intended to control speculation), Moloney Act, Ponzi Scheme (a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation), Sherman Antitrust Act, Williams Act.

There are thousands of eponyms in use in different spheres of life in English today and study of them yields a fascinating insight into the rich heritage of the world's most popular language and its development.

The list of references:

1. Freeman Morton. A New Dictionary of Eponyms / Morton Freeman. – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. – 223 p.

2. Manser Martin H. Dictionary of Eponyms / H. Martin Manser. – Wordsworth Editions, 1996. – 224 p.