As every lexical unit a proper name has a number of meanings, such as denotative, connotative, lexical, grammatical, derivative, emotive, logical, nominal, and even contextual. Still, proper names are a category of words, specializing in the function of representation. Some linguists consider that proper names give us no information in themselves (M.V.Nikitin, Reformatsky, Superanskaya) and have no stylistic colouring. It just represents a thing in speech. But practically, there exists a certain scheme of giving names to different classes of things, that is why, if we understand the mechanism of giving names we can always get the idea of the thing described. For instance, we differentiate male and female names, human names and names of animals, to some extend the names of dogs and cats are somehow differentiated, etc. That proves that a proper name can not only represent a thing but describe it as well. The same is in the aspect of Stylistics – Mr. Williams, Robert Williams, Williams, Bob Williams, Bobby Williams, etc. correspond to different functional styles, having its own stylistic features. In general the description, whether it is stylistic or grammatical, given only by a proper name, depends upon the tradition of nomination. But still, there is no linguistic unit in a language, which have no information in itself.
So, names serve to single out definite and singular objects out of a whole class of similar objects. So, the nature of proper names can be understood if we have a clear idea of the difference between the two main aspects of a word: "nomination" and "signification". These aspects are called "reference" and "signification" or "denotation" and "connotation". The difference can be illustrated by the following example.
Let us take the word "window". The first thing that appears in our mind is the general notion deprived of any concrete features or properties. This is the signification. But by the word "window" we may also denote a definite window. In this case we use a definite article and the meaning becomes nominating. But we may also fix a definite name to the object, which we want to be recognized as a unique object because of its peculiar properties. In this way proper names appear. Their function is not to single out one of the objects of the class for one particular occasion, as in the case with the use of the definite article, but to make it the bearer of the properties which our mind has attached to it. Thus, nominal meaning is a derivative logical meaning. To distinguish nominal meaning from logical meaning the former is designated by capital letters. Such words as Smith, Longfellow, Everest, Black Sea, Thames, Byron are said to have nominal meaning. The logical meaning from which they occur in the coarse of time may be forgotten and therefore not easily traced back. Most proper names have nominal meanings, which may be regarded as homonyms of common nouns with their logical or emotive meanings, as Hope, Browning, Taylor, Scotland, Black, Chandler and Chester.