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

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Wed Sep 20 12:43:34 EDT 2006


In my family, counting out to first cousins, I count 10 male
names, none of which end with "a", and 14 female names, only two
of which do (me and one of my sisters). And we have pretty common
names.

Okay, now I'm being retentive. Checking the 1990 United States
census data for most common female names, I get, out of the first
1000 names, 378 ending in "a" and seven ending in "ah" (one of
which, of course, is mine).

Checking the male data, I get 7 names ending in "a" and nine
ending in "ah".

What this comes to is that almost 38% of female names commonly
used in the United States end this way, and not quite 2% of male
names commonly used in the United States and this way. Which
certainly goes somewhere towards explaining the tendency.
However, my guess would be that if you look at fantasy names --
not names like Sophie which are used in fantasies but are actual
names, but instead names that are coined specifically for
fantasy worlds-- you will find that the percentage of male names
ending this way is much smaller than 2%, and the percentage of
female names ending this way is substantially higher than 38%.

Well, outside of Tolkien, who had an actual system for coming up
with names and languages outside of "it sounds kind of Elvish
this way".

DWJ, by this light, does very well with her Cennoreths and
Asheths and Dillians and Shines.

-deborah
--
What does it matter whether we hang,
If we've learned a little wisdom?	-- _Jade_, Sally Watson



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