Tag Archives: Zoete

Another month, another taking stock

Well, another month has passed beyond our desired for publication date, and yet, it’s hard to feel too sad about the delay when the extra time has meant that we will be able to provide so much more as a result — more entries, more citations, more languages, more countries — the distance that we have come in the last month is astounding.

At the point of writing (it’s only mid-day, so I’m sure things will change), we have 20,750 individual citations (up from 16,030 last month, a 29.5% increase), distributed over 904 entries (the seriously cool mile-marker of 1,000 entries is becoming tantalizingly close), up from 764 entries last month (an increase of about 18%), resulting in an average of about 23 citations per month (this number continues to rise, it was only 21 last month).

There are 563 men’s names, ranging from Aaron (a new front-runner in the alphabetical list, and one extremely unlikely to be displaced) to Zwentibold, and 338 women’s, from Accorsa to Zoete, plus the addition of Hebrew Yael, a name which cannot be confidently assigned to either gender (the name was used by both, and the one citation we have did not indicate one way or the other).

8115 citations are from Latin records, down to 39%. And here’s the graph for all the languages:

Citations per language

And for the top 9 countries:

citations per country
Where you can see that France has made a significant dent into England’s previous lead.

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Taking stock, Oct. edition

Last month we posted some statistics about the current state of the Dictionary. It was so interesting, we decided to do such a summary every month. So, here’s how things stand as we head into October!

There are 414 entries ready for inclusion in the first edition, up from 297 last month (a 39% increase!). 253 are masculine (ranging from Adalbod to Zdyslav), and 161 are feminine (ranging from Accorsa to Zoete, so nothing new there).

There are 5574 citations distributed over these 414 entries, up from 3880 last month (a 44% increase!). The average number of citations per entry is still just over 13 citations per entry (though the caveats from last month still stand).

Approximately 2750 entries (about 50%) are from Latin-language records, the rest from various vernaculars. The citations from 779 are still the earliest, but a number of other 8th and 9th C examples have been added, broadening substantially our view of vernacular-influence spellings of early Germanic names, even though they come from Latin-language records.

And since charts are so much fun, here are how the citations are distributed over language and country:

Citations by country

Citations by country

Citations by language

Citations by language

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Taking stock

Though, as noted earlier, we will be unable to release the first edition of the Dictionary at the end of this month as originally planned, nevertheless we are continuing to make good progress on the data-collection and -entry side of things. I thought it would be fun to take stock of things as they stand, and put up a few teaser statistics.

There are currently 297 entries ready for publication: Each of these entries includes the etymological derivation of the name; brief notes about any major royalty (kings/queens; emperors/empresses), popes, or saints who bore the name; and any other relevant information concerning the linguistic development of the name, references to secondary literature, or cross-references to other application dictionary entries. 176 of the entries are masculine names, ranging from Adolf to Zdyslav, and the remaining 121 are feminine, ranging from Accorsa to Zoete.

There are 3880 citations distributed over these 297 entries, making an average of just over 13 citations per entry. Of course, the reality is much different: Many of the entries have only a single citation, and a bare handful of entries have hundreds. Such minimal data is already indicative of the larger sample being confirmative of Zipf’s Law; one exciting consequence of the Dictionary is that research concerning empirical matters such as Zipf’s Law will be much easier to undertake as a huge body of data will all be gathered in a single place.

The citations are taken from records from the Czech Republic, Germany, England, France, Italy, Scotland, Spain, and Sweden. The earliest citations are from 779, a handful of masculine names from a Carolingian charter; the latest are from 1600 and are drawn from English parish records. Approximately 1850 citations are from Latin-language records; the remainder are from various vernaculars.

I rather like nice little statistics: Maybe we’ll do updates like this the beginning of every month!

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It’s No Joke!

Today, the creation of dictionary entries began in earnest. While the details of the database back-end are still to be hammered out, the structure of the entries is now sufficiently settled that the editorial team is able to begin the process of collecting the information that will go into the entry for each header name, and to create the files for those entries. With an extensive list of possibilities to choose from, since we are drawing our initial data from Dr. Uckelman’s Database of Medieval Names, it’s hard to decide where to begin. For my own part, I decided to begin with three lovely and moderately unusual names which are linked through their meanings: Old French (and also Middle English) Douce, Italian Soave, and Dutch Zoete, all of which mean ‘sweet’. I also decided it was only right and proper that I at least begin to write the entry on Sara; I expect most of the rest of the editorial team will also be keen to write the entries on their own names!

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