LINGUIST List 11.186

Sat Jan 29 2000

Qs: "st"/"sp" sound shift, Feminine names

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Directory

  1. Tom Fitzsimmons, Is there a new "st" and "sp" sound in American English?
  2. Kentaro Toyama, Feminine names ending in "-a"

Message 1: Is there a new "st" and "sp" sound in American English?

Date: Mon, 28 Jan 1980 19:52:27 -0800
From: Tom Fitzsimmons <tjfitziol.ie>
Subject: Is there a new "st" and "sp" sound in American English?

I have noticed in the past few years that more and more Americans are
prounouncing "st" and "sp" the way a German would pronounce it: that
is, "sht" or "shp". Has anyone else heard this shift, if it is a shift?

Tom Fitzsimmons.
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Message 2: Feminine names ending in "-a"

Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 01:42:18 GMT
From: Kentaro Toyama <ktfemsufhotmail.com>
Subject: Feminine names ending in "-a"


Does anyone know of any studies done on the frequency of female names
ending in "-a"?

Personal observation has led me to believe that there is a universal
tendency for female names to end in "-a". This is easily confirmed
for names in English or any of the Romance languages: The 1990 US
census ( http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names ) shows that a full 41% of
female names end in "-a" (contributing to 31% of the female
population) versus 1% and 0.6% for male names (of which, many appear
to be female names perhaps adopted by transgender men).

I believe that this trend might also hold for other languages, though
perhaps to a lesser degree.

I am also interested in any reasonable explanations for this
phenomenon -- the most obvious is that languages with noun genders
frequently use "-a" to indicate feminine nouns, but this only begs the
question for why THAT might be so.

Any leads would be greatly appreciated!

Kentaro Toyama
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