perception of gender in names

Adrian Pable adrian.pable at ENS.UNIBE.CH
Mon May 27 10:28:16 UTC 2002

I always find it difficult as a German speaker to tell whether
certain English names are female or male, e.g. Laurie and Lyle look
female to me. How do speakers of a language establish whether a name
is only used for girls or boys or both? e.g. Faith and April are only
female, but in the 16th centuries names such as Faith, Experience,
Unity, Hope were not gender-bound. Why is it that only a girl may be
called Unity nowadays (because we can see the link with Latin unitas,

Adrian Pablé, University of Berne

>A question has come over the transom from a UK correspondent. Advice,
>-- Mark A. Mandel
>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 00:56:20 +0100
>Via the letters page of the Guardian newspaper, and then by email, I have
>contacted some people doing research into the perception of gender in names,
>and I was wondering if Dr. Whom (or anyone else) knew of any work already
>done in that area.

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