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Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
@GEdgar: this is not quite the question you asked, but related: in 1935 (year chosen at random), two transferred surnames were in the top 100 for U.S. girls: Shirley and Beverly. In contrast, the boy top 100 had 18: Howard, Earl, Clarence, Wayne, Leroy, Stanley, Melvin, Dale, Russell, Gordon, Franklin, Douglas, Bruce, Glenn, Lee, Clyde, Clifford, Vernon. For 2012 I count 19 for girls and 26 for boys. Note that I'm not counting names like Lily or Thomas, which transferred the other direction.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
@BraddSzonye: dunno about the BTN, but the SSA data is first names only. They don't publish anything about middle names.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
I think it just confuses matters to look for given names that happen to be in use as surnames -- there's much too large a variety of surnames. It's better to consider the origins of given names, and to count only those that have crossed categories, from e.g. locatives or occupations to given names. Marked patronymics like Adams and Madison should count, but not unmarked ones like Avery and Thomas.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
I recommend a tool (and website) to y'all: the Baby Name Voyager. Also, the SSA data is not limited to the top 1000; you can download text files containing all names given to 5 or more SSN applicants for every year since 1880.
Mar
31
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
No, girls have been given not just masculine-sounding, but actually masculine names since the Middle Ages. The traditional priority (still in effect!) is for boy's names to sound clearly masculine, meaning that when a name 'goes girl', parents of boys start avoiding it like the plague. (Taylor is actually a counterexample, as it's still in use for both genders.)
Mar
31
revised Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
added TL,DR summary
Mar
28
answered Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
Mar
28
comment Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?
I believe Iceland still uses literal patronymics and matronymics. Their phonebooks are alphabetical by given (first) name.
Jan
28
comment If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?
@BruceJames, no, it's not the English alphabet, but the Latin one, which is what English, and Dutch, and Norwegian, and probably 90% of European languages (except Greek and some of the Slavic languages) happen to use. The languages that use this alphabet all make adjustments peculiar to the language at hand, but they all have in common that before semi-modern times, I and J were considered variant forms of the same letter, same as U and V. Context generally determined what value the letter had.
Dec
10
comment How far down the ancestry line do you call a person your “cousin”?
The last bit (n times removed) is perhaps more clearly explained as the difference between your generations: if you're both the same generation (genealogically, not chronologically), then you're simply mth cousins, but if one of you is x generations from the common ancestor, and the other is y generations away, and x is less than y, then you're xth cousins y minus x times removed. So my first cousin's kids are technically my first cousins once removed.
Sep
24
awarded  Enthusiast
Aug
5
comment Whatever happened to “eyeglasses”, “facial tissues”, and “video game consoles”?
The antecedent for "tissues" isn't "tissue paper" (which is a different animal, as others have commented), but "facial tissues". Most boxes of Kleenex and other brands of the stuff are still labeled this way.
May
25
comment What does “20 weeks pregnant” mean?
Regarding that first sentence: pregnancy is not a binary state. Check the early posts on this blog: alittlepregnant.com
May
21
awarded  Popular Question
Feb
28
awarded  Yearling
Sep
9
awarded  Critic
Aug
20
comment “Sour cream” versus “soured cream”
If you buy sour cream in England, what does the package say? Does it have the -ed or not?
Aug
4
awarded  Constituent
Jul
24
awarded  Caucus
Jun
8
awarded  Constituent