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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
Phonetics
Semantics

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



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