Topics related to given names, surnames, and linguistic aspects of naming in English.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

14
votes
2answers
34k views

Which singular names ending in “s” form possessives with only a bare apostrophe?

Many questions already ask about this topic (What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? , Adding apostrophe-s to a singular noun already ending in “s”, etc.) and their answers vary, but ...
18
votes
4answers
16k views

Changes in English names of people

Why is Robert called Bob and John called Jack sometimes? What is the history of or reason for this practice in changing the English names of people?
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Family name pluralization

When pluralizing family (last) names that also happen to be common English words, does the pluralization follow the same rules as the common word? For example, "the Smith family" can be pluralized as ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there an accepted rule for naming all of our various distant relatives (Kinship Terms)?

I’m going to the christening of my Cousin’s first son soon. What is the proper name for his relation to me? 2nd Nephew? Nephew once removed? Nothing? Looking at the overall picture, whats the ...
59
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?

I find it handy when talking about my sons and daughters I can just say my children. It's nice to say nieces instead of sibling's daughters. I wonder if there is a similar term for nieces and nephews ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is Ukraine often called “the Ukraine”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using the definite article before a country/state name Hearing the Ukraine used to make me unsure whether Ukraine was really a country. Now though I have realized ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

“John Doe”, “Jane Doe” - Why are they used many times?

I posted a question ( http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/92215/john-doe-jane-doe-why-are-they-used-many-times ) and they told me to post that question here. So I'm doing it. I received ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Where did the name “English” come from?

How is the name for one's own language created?
2
votes
2answers
598 views

Why there is an “h” in proper names like Afghanistan, Baghdad and Lamborghini?

An "h" may be used to prevent the "g" from being soft, as in spaghetti, but there is no need for an "h" in the mentioned proper names.
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Possessive Form of a Proper Noun Ending in a Plural Noun Ending in “s”?

I don't think this has yet been covered in any of the other questions on similar topics. There was one other very similar question, however, it was not specifically talking about the case where the ...
1
vote
1answer
786 views

use of articles with personal names modified by adjectives

Suddenly, to everybody's surprise, the silent Mr.Smith swung around and addressed Barbara. The dinner was served by a silent Mrs. Keats. I saw an infuriated Jennifer, who started shouting at ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Surely *some* wordsmiths must love America[ns]?

People who like/admire English or French (the languages and/or the people and their culture) are easily identified as Anglophiles or Francophiles. I'm not sure there are so many Germanophiles, but ...
11
votes
3answers
12k views

Should there be a space between name initials?

In writing authors' initials in research papers (either in the author by-line or the bibliography), should there be a space between intials? R.P. Feynman R. P. Feynman What's the preferred way ...
7
votes
1answer
616 views

Why Abraham and not Avraham?

In the Hebrew scriptures Abraham's name is Avraham and not Abraham (אַבְרָהָם). Is has a v and not a b. The same goes for Rebecca, who is called Rivka in Hebrew. Both v and b sounds are represented by ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

Why do people pronounce “Naomi” as “Niomi”?

The Wikipedia page for "Naomi (given name)" says "pronounced nay-oh-mee" which is how I pronounce my daughter's name, but quite often people pronounce it "nigh-oh-mee" (that is, with a long "i" ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Different pronunciation between Thomas and Theodore

Disclaimer: I'm no native speaker. Thomas gets pronounced with a starting "T" (the "h" is silent), while Theodore with a "Th". What rule is followed here?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Pronunciation of names that end in “h”

In Britain (or perhaps just Scotland) the names "Sara" and "Sarah" are pronounced different. Sara: Sah-rah ("a" as in "bat") Sarah: Se-rah ("a" as in "air") In the US and Canada, Sarah ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Can last names be shortened just as first names?

I know first names are usually shortened in verbal communication for reasons that I am not clear about. For example, Andrew becomes Andy. But is it also the case for last names? If yes, what is the ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

What is another name for Dick?

Coming from "Changes in English names of people" telling: Richard → Dick Can I substitute Dick by Richard? I need it to know because my Emails with the use of name Dick are being returned by ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does the name 'John' have an 'h' in it?

I have always wondered this since I was little, and nobody seems to have asked or answered this before anywhere on the internet. What is the origin of the 'h', and why is it still with us?
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it true that yeast was once called “Godisgoode”?

In this article discussing beer, it is said that in medieval times yeast (possibly only brewer's yeast) was called godisgoode. Is that the case? (Searching on Google sheds very little light on the ...
6
votes
2answers
180 views

What is the origin of using the word “our” preceding a first name when speaking directly to the person so named

In the BBC's Keeping Up Appearences, and Lark Rise to Candleford, "our Rose" and "our Laura" are used in both the third person and second person. The usage seems understandable as a third person ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

When to put “River” before or after its name and why?

Unlike mountain names, where "Mount" always precedes its name, e.g. Mount Everest, I've noticed that some rivers have "River" before its name, e.g. the River Nile but others have it after, e.g. the ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Pluralization of names

If I were to use the sentence "There are lots of John Smiths" in the world, would that be the correct use for saying that there are a lot of people named John Smith in the world? I don't think there ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

How to pronounce New Orleans

I presume this must be an exception to "pronounce it like the locals", since what I hear is something like 'Norlin'. Or is this just the movies? Is it a mistake to attempt to pronounce it like a ...
5
votes
1answer
249 views

Was Christian a proper name before Pilgrim's Progress?

I was going to ask this on Christianity.SE but it's not really a Christian Doctrine question; hope it fits here. I was reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress where almost everyone is named for a ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?

This may not be an English language question, but I've always wondered. In Sweden, it is very unusual to have surnames that can also be used straight up as first names. In fact, I can think of no such ...
5
votes
8answers
1k views

Should Philip have P. or Ph. as an initial?

In the context of scientific articles and technical white papers, references to other publications typically include the author’s surname with, depending on the format of the specific publication, ...
5
votes
3answers
808 views

Objects with no name, like “the Sun”

This morning I was pondering the things in the English language which have not been given a name, such as 'the Sun' or 'the Moon'. These do not seem to fall into the same category as 'the ground' or ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the apostrophe (') supposed to be omitted in names like 'King's Cross', 'King's Singers'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it common for place names to lose the possessive? I've always thought it should be 'King's Cross, London' as in a possessive sense. However the wiki page for King's ...
3
votes
2answers
891 views

What is the correct spelling of the Arabic name سعد in English?

I need help in how to spell the Arabic name (سعد). I previously asked the question Sa'ad : Correct spelling in English and French; however, it got closed. I added a youtube video describing how ...
3
votes
1answer
602 views

Sa'ad : Correct spelling in English and French [closed]

We are considering naming our child the Arabic name Sa'ad (سعد). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saad The Arabic spelling has an ع which I am not sure how to spell. I have seen it spelled as Saad which ...
3
votes
1answer
955 views

What terms describe the various parts of someone's name?

People tend to have at least one personal name and one family name. Some people also have middle names and nicknames. What terms describe other kinds of names, e.g.: What term describes additional ...
2
votes
3answers
238 views

When is there a “the” at the beginning of a university's name? [duplicate]

When is there a "the" at the beginning of a university's name? For Example, Cornell University or the Cornell University, Brown University or the Brown University, Johns Hopkins University or ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Is there any convention for pronouncing proper nouns?

Is there any convention as to how proper nouns with origins outside English should be pronounced? I have heard claims to the effect that "a proper noun can be pronounced however you wish"; is that ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How to pronounce English names quickly and correctly [closed]

How can you pronounce a name quickly and correctly? They may or may not conform to regular patterns. Currently I'm using "online website" to do the speaking each time. Are there any shortcuts that I ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Does the “@” symbol have a name? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to pronounce @ symbol? In Spanish, @ is called arroba. I saw this question, and it says it's called "commercial at" according to Wikipedia. A lot of languages have ...
-2
votes
3answers
407 views

Pronunciation of the name “Kyrylo”

Can someone provide a transcription for the name "Kyrylo" - how it will actually sound?