Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've been reading articles about trends in names. Apparently names like Bonnie-Mae, Ellie-Mae and Lily-Mae are trending up in the UK which I find odd in itself (aren't they typically Southern US?) but never mind...

You don't see many endings other than -May or -Mae in double-barreled names. -Anne perhaps, and a few other exceptions, but -Mae seems to dominate.

Any idea where this tradition stems from? Why the skew?

share|improve this question
1  
Perhaps derived from Mary? It makes sense to based double names on short and very common names. –  Cerberus Sep 2 '13 at 20:07
4  
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Southern US naming conventions, not the English language. –  FumbleFingers Sep 2 '13 at 20:29
    
@Cerberus: I think you're probably right. It seems likely to me the pattern was particularly useful in the American South precisely because they are/were very traditional. Thus they stuck with a smaller pool of first names (often even passed down from father to son) - which would have made it more necessary to distinguish BillyBob from BillyRay, because they'd have so many Billys (and not enough different surnames, perhaps). –  FumbleFingers Sep 2 '13 at 20:38
    
@FumbleFingers: I don't know about that...consider how John/Jan/Jean/Juan/etc. is very common in all double names. Who knows why local traditions develop as they do... –  Cerberus Sep 2 '13 at 20:46
1  
And additional forenames are less common - and, where present, less used - in the UK. It's certainly not an English language question. –  TrevorD Sep 2 '13 at 23:20
show 3 more comments

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, TrevorD, MετάEd, aedia λ, tchrist Sep 4 '13 at 3:44

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.