The Syntax of Personal Names
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The Institute for Language and Information Technologies (ILIT) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is developing a system for recognizing references to named entities in texts in any language. So, we need a broad cross-linguistic knowledge base about a) the types of elements that comprise names in many languages and b) in what order and combinations these elements can occur.
If you know or are working on a language that has interesting properties for name formation (especially for so-called less-commonly-taught languages) and could answer the two questions below, we'd much appreciate it.
Our current inventory of components of people's names includes:
- personal name (e.g., Mary)
- surname (e.g., Smith)
- middle name (e.g., Ann)
- middle initial (e.g., A.)
- patronymic (e.g., Ivanovich)
- matronymic (e.g., Espinosa)
- title (Dr., Mr.)
- post-name descriptor [a rather broad category] (Jr., Sr., III, DDS)
- tribal name (Abnaki)
- particle (de, von)
If any language you know uses name components other than these, please name it, describe it briefly, and indicate the language in which it is used.
Our inventory of attested name patterns (e.g., 'title + surname' as in 'John Smith') is too long to list but includes all the patterns typically found in Western European languages, with well-known patterns from other languages as well. Taking that as a rough (although underspecified, for reasons of space) starting point, if you can suggest any additions from less well studied languages please list them below, providing the pattern in terms of category labels and an example, and provide the source language. If you have suggested new category types above, we'd really like to know what patterns they participate in!
Please respond directly to
and let me know if you'd like to see the compiled results of the survey.
Many thanks for your help!
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