Vol. 53 No. 3 (2005)
Research Article

Family Names in Palestine: A Reflection of Culture and Life

Published 2005-09-01



This paper investigates the sociolinguistics of the family names in Palestine. It hypothesizes that family names reflect the style of life in the past in terms of agriculture, professions, industry, human characteristics and place of living. The data were collected from the telephone directory published by the company of telecommunications in Palestine West Bank in 2001.All names having telephone lines are listed in the alphabetical order of the family names; 8,343 family names were found. One third of the sample are religious names which have forms similar to first given names like” Ali,” “Hasan” and “abdul+any of God's names” like “abdul-Raheem” and “abdul-Rahmaan,” or “Muhammad, Mahmoud and Ahmad.” Such names do not reflect any aspect of social life. The other two-thirds of these names reflect lifestyle and human characteristics. Analysis was limited to this portion of names. The order of distribution from highest to lowest is: names denoting physical features, temperament, geography, agriculture, business, financial position, timing and planets.


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