[DWJ] In which I satisfy the curious (I hope!)

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Wed Sep 20 11:08:33 EDT 2006


Deborah:

> Er -- how common a name would that be?  Your Debbie Bing wouldn't
> be 34 now, would she?  Because I went to college with a Debbie
> Bing.

Could conceivably be the same person, 34 sounds about right agewise. I knew
Debbie Bing from the Young Judaea youth movement, I think she was originally
from Brookline, Mass.

Candida as a name - sounds like a good name for Veruca Salt's little sister,
if she ever had one. One sister named after a wart, and the other after a
fungus...

Names ending in a - this is indeed a very common ending for feminine names
in Hebrew. One way of turning a masculine name into a feminine name in
Hebrew is by sticking "a" to the end of it: Gabriel, Michael, Ariel, Daniel
become Gabriella, Michaella, Ariella and Daniella; Dan becomes Dana, Lior
becomes Liora, Alon becomes Alona. In fact, it works with general nouns as
well: "khatul" is a male cat, "khatula" is a female cat; "ish" is a man,
"isha" is a woman; etc. But in recent years the trend is towards unisex
names, and there are more and more girls with names that used to be
considered masculine names, such as Noam, Zohar, Adi, and all the angel
("el" endings) names. Come to think of it, "Gili" is unisex too.

As a translator, unisex or ambivalent names in literature are the bane of my
existence. How was I supposed to know that Blaise Zabini was a boy? :-P








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