Long-term sociolinguistics trends and phonological patterns of American names
Keywords:onomastics, American names, long-term sociolinguistic trends, phonological patterns
This paper identified macro trends and phonological patterns of 348 million American baby names over 137 years from 1880 to 2017. The analysis showed that sociolinguistic trends have significantly influenced naming over time, as seen in the rise of individualism and unisex names, the impact of public figures and pop culture, and the substantially higher count of unique female names compared to male names. In addition, phonological analysis showed significant differences between male and female names in the number, type, and location of vowels as well as the number of syllables. On average, female names had more vowels, less consonants, and more syllables than male names. Also, names with certain word-final vowels and consonants were identified to be mostly-female or mostly-male. These findings demonstrated an inherent correlation between phonology and the perceived gender of names.
Published by the LSA with permission of the author(s) under a CC BY 4.0 license.