Keynote speakers

28th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences

Helen Kelly-Holmes is Professor of Applied Languages at Ollscoil Luimnigh/University of Limerick and an active member of the Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS), having previously served as Director of CALS.  Helen’s research in sociolinguistics focuses on the interrelationship between media, markets, technologies and languages and the management of these relationships. Helen is particularly well known for her work on multilingual advertising and linguistic fetish in branding and marketing. Recent books include: Language, Global Mobilities, Blue-Collar Workers and Blue-collar Workplaces (Edited with K. Gonçalves, Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism, 2020); Sociolinguistics from the Periphery: Small Languages in New Circumstances (with S. Pietikäinen, A. Jaffe & N. Coupland - Cambridge University Press, 2016). Helen holds a Docentship in Discourse Studies at University of Jyväskylä, where she has collaborated with long-time associate Prof. Sari Pietikäinen on two Finnish-Academy funded projects (Northern Multilingualism and Peripheral Multilingualism). She is emeritus Editor-in-Chief of Language Policy and co-edits Palgrave’s long-running Language and Globalization series. Helen is a member of the Advisory Committee of the European Centre for Minority Issues, and in 2023 was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in recognition of her academic and scientific contributions.

Jane Pilcher is Associate Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University, U.K. Jane studies people’s names and what they can tell us about identities and inequalities, including in relation to bodies and to gender and ethnicity. Her writing includes ‘Names, Bodies and Identities’, published in the journal Sociology in 2016 (Shortlisted for the SAGE Prize for Innovation and Excellence), and ‘Names and “Doing Gender”: how forenames and surnames contribute to gender identities, difference and inequalities’ published in the journal Sex Roles in 2017. Jane has also published an analysis of names in adoption law and policy in England and Wales in terms of its representations of ‘family’, rights and identities (published in Family, Relationships and Societies in 2022). Her recent research projects include (with Dr Hannah Deakin-Smith) the pronunciation of students' names in higher education in contexts of equality, diversity and inclusivity policies (funded by The British Academy) and (with Dr Jan Flaherty, Dr Hannah Deakin-Smith, Professor Amanda Coffey and Eve Makis) experiences of names and naming in adoption (funded by The Leverhulme Trust). Jane is the founder and director of the international and cross-disciplinary People’s Names Research Network, bringing together scholars from 14 countries.

Väinö Syrjälä is Senior lecturer in Swedish language at Södertörn University in Stockholm, Sweden. His research has mainly dealt with questions within the field of linguistic landscape studies. Syrjälä received his PhD in Scandinavian languages from the University of Helsinki in 2018 on a thesis about the linguistic landscapes of bilingual Finland, focusing on both perceptions of and names on public signs. His later research has, among other, looked into different aspects of the relation between the LL, the notions of space and place and the people connected with these places. Within onomastics Syrjälä has an interest for urban names, especially socio-onomastic perspectives on the use of place names and commercial names in the public space.