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Feminine Endings
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As I’ve been evaluating and improving G-TECH recently, I’ve been looking at more than just names. I also focused on the pieces of names, specifically feminine endings. I’m sure you can name a few without much thought: -ah, -ie, -ette, -elle (the spellings can vary, of course.)

Interestingly enough, these are relatively consistent across languages. I’m thinking of a song for American children learning Hebrew (a language with gendered nouns). The lyrics go, “you need an ette, at the end of a word or else an aaah, either one’s for a girl…” Yes, this song is about nouns, not names, but it demonstrates that certain sounds trigger “feminine” to the human brain. This thought is remarkably comforting as I try to sort out a database including names from over 100 different ethnicities. Yet I still have to look at the individual names because with naming trends there are always exceptions to the patterns.

I also have to take into account that my perception of a name or an ending could be skewed not only by my ethnic vantage point, but also my age. These feminine endings go in and out of style. There is a cool graphic on this site that maps the changing popularity of feminine endings:

It’s true that to my ears –ette feels both feminine and old fashioned. For example, Julia ranked 40th in 2008 while Julie ranked 335th and Juliette ranked 549th. Many other examples such as Jeanette and Mariette didn’t even make the top 1000 names for 2008. And what about the similar ending –etta? Could my lack of experience with certain feminine endings (because I grew up with Katie and Hannah rather than Georgene and Claudette) impact my name analysis? I’m constantly considering my angle on names as I examine our products.

I like this graph because it shows the trends I’ve internalized while pouring over names with feminine endings. In doing so, it validates my G-TECH research method of examining feminine endings. The next thing I’d like to see is a graph mapping feminine endings across ethnicity. But that’s probably up to me to create… perhaps when I’m not assembling an improved G-TECH and our other various products.

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