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New from Oxford University Press!


Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule

New from Cambridge University Press!


Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.

New from Brill!


Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin

Query Details

Query Subject:   The Syntax of Personal Names
Author:   Marge McShane
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   The Institute for Language and Information Technologies (ILIT) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is developing a system for recognizing references to named entities in texts in any language. So, we need a broad cross-linguistic knowledge base about a) the types of elements that comprise names in many languages and b) in what order and combinations these elements can occur.

If you know or are working on a language that has interesting properties for name formation (especially for so-called less-commonly-taught languages) and could answer the two questions below, we'd much appreciate it.

Our current inventory of components of people's names includes:
- personal name (e.g., Mary)
- surname (e.g., Smith)
- middle name (e.g., Ann)
- middle initial (e.g., A.)
- patronymic (e.g., Ivanovich)
- matronymic (e.g., Espinosa)
- title (Dr., Mr.)
- post-name descriptor [a rather broad category] (Jr., Sr., III, DDS)
- tribal name (Abnaki)
- particle (de, von)

If any language you know uses name components other than these, please name it, describe it briefly, and indicate the language in which it is used.

Our inventory of attested name patterns (e.g., 'title + surname' as in 'John Smith') is too long to list but includes all the patterns typically found in Western European languages, with well-known patterns from other languages as well. Taking that as a rough (although underspecified, for reasons of space) starting point, if you can suggest any additions from less well studied languages please list them below, providing the pattern in terms of category labels and an example, and provide the source language. If you have suggested new category types above, we'd really like to know what patterns they participate in!

Please respond directly to

and let me know if you'd like to see the compiled results of the survey.

Many thanks for your help!
Marge McShane
LL Issue: 15.1762
Date posted: 10-Jun-2004


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