Italian names

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
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    Most Italian names end in a vowel. What is the origin for differences in the end vowel for otherwise identical names?

    Examples: Lombardi, Lombardo. Ferrari, Ferraro, Ferrara.
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    Most Italian words end in vowels.

    The only common exceptions I can think of (that are not slang) are il (the) -- a few contractions like del (of the) -- the numeral un (one) -- the preposition in (in) -- and the noun lapis (pencil).

    So it's not remarkable that names end in vowels too.

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    Most masculine nouns end in -o. The plural form usually ends in -i. Gattino = cat, gattini = cats.

    Most feminine nouns end in -a. The plural form usually ends in -e. Donna = lady, donne = ladies. A female cat is una gattina.

    Un lombardo = a Lombard, a person from Lombardy. Due lombardi = two Lombards. A woman from Lombardy is una lombarda.

    Un ferraro = a blacksmith, from Italian ferro, "iron," from Latin ferrum, also the source of the English word "ferrous."

    Ferrara is an Italian province and also its capital city. I haven't been able to find any explanation of the origin of the name.

    Due ferrare simply means "two blacksmiths." Italian surnames are often plurals. If your family were identified by your neighbors in the tenth century as i ferrari, "the blacksmiths," I'd assume that many of them and their ancestors were, indeed, blacksmiths.

    Like the English names Smith, Tailor, Butcher, etc.
     
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