Onomastics in Interaction With Other Branches of Science. Volume 2.

Are Japanese Disyllabic and Bimoraic Given Names Feminine?

Masahiko Mutsukawa

Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan

The present study focuses on Japanese disyllabic and bimoraic given names and considers three questions: (a) Are Japanese disyllabic and bimoraic names feminine? (b) Do disyllabic and bimoraic names with the structure “feminine first syllable + masculine last syllable” sound feminine? (c) Are there any other phonological gender differences that have not been reported in the literature?
I have been working on gender in Japanese given names and have reached the conclusion that Japanese disyllabic and bimoraic given names are weakly feminine (Mutsukawa 2008). That is a hypothetical conclusion, however, and it is not clear how native speakers of Japanese judge the gender of Japanese disyllabic and bimoraic given names. Therefore, I conducted two questionnaire surveys for this study. By analyzing the results of these surveys, the present study concludes that the answer to question (a) is “Yes” and the answer to question (b) is “No” and that one candidate for masculine first syllable, seven candidates for masculine last syllables (among them two strong ones), and thirteen candidates for feminine last syllables (among them nine strong ones) are observed. None of the candidates have been reported in the literature.

Japanese, given names, disyllabic and bimoraic names, gender, phonological gender differences

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