How boys and girls get their names?

Washington, June 6 (ANI): Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have analysed the most popular baby names from the last decade to decode the link between the sounds in a name and the sex.

They found that male names are far more likely to contain broad, larger sounding vowels that are emphasised when spoken, while female names are smaller sounding in comparison.

This effect results in names, such as Thomas or Tom being considered more masculine and more suitable for boys, whereas names such as Emily are considered feminine and given to girls.

"The origins of names may vary but this study suggests that there is an association between the size of the sounds in first names and the sex they are associated with," co-author Benjamin Pitcher from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said.

The data shows that larger sounding names are a popular choice for parents when it comes to naming their sons, who might associate the name size with masculine qualities.

In mammals, including humans, deeper sounding vocalisations are typically associated with larger individuals and high frequencies with smaller ones.

Dr Pitcher said that, "in general, western societies tend to think of relatively taller men as more masculine and more successful with the opposite sex whereas shorter, slimmer women are perceived as having attractive feminine qualities. It seems that over time the English language has developed a preference for names that reflect our society's attitudes of what we deem to be attractive qualities in the different sexes."

The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE. (ANI)


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