LINGUIST List 14.3150

Tue Nov 18 2003

Books: Historical Ling/Socioling, USA: Hanks

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  1., Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names: Hanks

Message 1: Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names: Hanks

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 13:38:06 -0500 (EST)
From: <>
Subject: Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names: Hanks

Title: Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names
Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Oxford University Press,		 
Editor: Patrick Hanks, Dr. 

Hardback: ISBN: 0195081374, Pages: 2,064, Price: $295.00
Comment: 3-volume set

Oxford University Press is pleased to announce publication of The
Dictionary of American Family Names (3 volumes; "DAFN"), edited by
Dr. Patrick Hanks, formerly of Oxford English Dictionaries, now an
adjunct professor at Brandeis University and a consultant at the
Berlin Academy of Sciences in Germany. This massive undertaking is the
result of more than ten years collaboration by 30 of the world's
leading names scholars. DAFN marries the best of traditional
etymological and historical scholarship with the latest developments
in computational data analysis, to shed new light on the notoriously
volatile field of family names. It explains the language and culture
of origin, history, frequency, distribution, and other important facts
about over 70,000 American family names. Coverage is based on
computational analysis of frequency as well as historical
importance. Over 85% of all Americans will find an entry for their
surname in DAFN.

As part of the project, a computational correlation of surnames with
forenames in the 1997 electronic telephone directory was carried out,
shedding new light on the origin of doubtful names. For example, the
surname Dam was found to correlate with many more Vietnamese forenames
than Dutch and Danish ones. Names of uncertain origin were further
checked against newly available on-line databases such as the 1880
census and the International Genealogical Index, confirming for
example the Dutch origins of the American name Aswegan. All
well-established Americanizations of European names are recorded in
DAFN: for example, Lashway (from the French 'dit' name Lajoie), Yanke
(from a pet form of Dutch Jan 'John'), Dusenberry (Dutch van Doesburg,
denoting a person from Duisburg), Cashdollar (German Kirchthaler),
Rainwater (German Reinwasser 'pure water'). Where possible, precise
historical details of such changes are given.

Over 100 pages of introduction bring together essays by the main
contributors on naming practices in the world's leading languages and

DAFN is an endlessly fascinating quarry for historical linguists as
well as for historians and genealogists. It is an important resource
for students, inspiring interest in the study of both comparative
linguistics and American history from the starting point of each
student's own family name.

Lingfield(s): Sociolinguistics
		Historical Linguistics

Areal Regions: United States

Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

 See this book announcement on our website:

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