Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Query Details

Query Subject:   Feminine names ending in "-a"
Author:   Kentaro Toyama
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Historical Linguistics
Linguistic Theories

Query:   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
LL Issue: 11.186
Date posted: 29-Jan-2000


Sums main page