Vol. 65 No. 3 (2017)

Pet-Naming Practices in Taiwan

Published 2017-07-03


This study examines the names of dogs and cats as accorded by their Taiwanese owners. The phenomenon was explored in a sample of 321 pet names that were extracted from various online sources. Contrary to previous studies of pet-naming practices found in English-speaking countries, the preference for human names (in the predominant language) for dogs and cats was not observed. Rather, the results show that names of dogs and cats in Taiwan are mainly characterized by reduplication, food references, and markers of endearment (in particular, the forms xiao-X, A-X, and X-bao). Other sources of onomastic inspiration include foreign borrowings and onomatopoeic association. Relative to the findings of this study, William Safire’s earlier observations about dog naming are also briefly revisited.


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