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COM 287: Persuasive Speaking: Name Speech

A study of the processes involved in attitude change, with emphasis on the preparation and delivery of persuasive messages.


This guide is designed to help you with library research associated with the speeches that you will give in this course
Always begin your research at for access to thousands of free, credible sources plus expert help! If you have questions or need more information, please Ask Us!


Start Here First!

Onomastics, or onomatology, is the study of names. In this speech assignment, your task is to study your own name and the meaning behind it. The New York Public Library has created an insightful guide called "Names Have Meaning: A Research Guide for Baby Names and Family Names."

The guide works as an excellent road map for your assignment and we highly encourage you to read through it before you begin your research. Once you have done so, you can begin using the books and web resources listed on this page to discover more information about your name. 

If you need help at any point, please feel free to get in touch with us. We are here to help you succeed!

Web Resources

    • ​Discover the meaning and history behind your last name! 
    • You can type in your last name to learn facts like the following: Meaning and history of your name, where your family lived in the US and UK, average life expectancy, and common occupations.
  • Behind the Name
    • This online dictionary allows you to explore the etymology and history of your first name. 
    • You'll also be able to see related names and the popularity of your name throughout history and different countries. 
  • The Social Security Administration
    • ​Since 1880, the Social Security Administration has been tracking the most popular names across the United States, including by state.
    • You can search your name to see how its popularity has changed over time and you can also search to see what names were the most popular by state for a given year.

Your Subject Librarian

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Paula Hickner
Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library
160 Patterson Dr.
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506
Subjects: Music