The article deals with an applicability of John Searle’s theory of social ontology to linguistic category of proper names. We suggest that in the context of Searle’s theory we can consider proper names to be a kind of social institution. By several examples from anthropolinguistic research and from the field of theoretical onomastics we try to show that proper names meet conditions specified by John Searle, in particular that – through different communities all over the world – they are “holders” of various types of deontic power. At the end of our article we shortly weigh the possibility that proper names can be regard as status indicators (in terms of Searle’s theory) too.
baptism, deontic power, onomastics, proper names, social ontology