The hambone redux

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Apr 14 19:18:53 UTC 2008

On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 3:12 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:
> You have to remember that very few country colored folk had access to
> the kind of education that would have taught them anything about
> Classical Latin and grammatical gender. I'm sure that both sets of
> parents invented "Delecta" and "Davidica" off the tops of their heads,
> without the foggiest notion that    "-a" had anything to do with women
> or (historically) with the Feminine gender. There are Biblical male
> names like "Noah," "Joshua" (Josh away"), "Elija," "Jonah," etc.
> ending in [-@] to provide examples.

Conversely, I know of a girl with the (Biblical male) name "Nehemiah",
or "Miah" for short.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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