Vol. 71 No. 3 (2023): NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics

Phonological Trends of Gendered Names in Korea and the U.S.A.

Published 2023-08-22


  • onomastics,
  • name phonology,
  • gendered names,
  • anthroponyms,
  • Korea,
  • U.S.A.
  • ...More


The ascription of gender based on the phonological structure of personal names has been documented independently at varying points of time in several countries. This study adds to this work by examining whether the phonology of gendered names is valid synchronically in cross-linguistic comparisons and diachronically across different decades in two linguistically different countries: Korea and the U.S.A. Two types of data were collected: (1) historical onomastic data from birth registries in the Supreme Court of Korea and the Social Security Administration in the U.S.A. from 1940 to 2020, and (2) online survey data from students in Korea and the U.S.A. The results showed a clear pattern of gendered phonology of vowels in names in the U.S.A. through the decades under review. Female names had more vowels and were more likely to end in “a”, “e”, or “i”, unlike male names. In comparison, the pattern in Korean names changed over the decades. In the earlier decades (1940–1999), there was a clear distinction between male and female names based on phonology, especially vowels “a”, “e”, and “i”. Post-2000, however, this distinction was markedly reduced.



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