Thursday, February 14, 2008

Name Game

As a writer (and especially a fantasy writer) I find the business of naming things to be of singular importance and that knack and believability of names in word culture can make or break not only a character setting but a marketing campaign. In the fourth grade, I often "doodled" by making up culture, mythologies, and languages for the stories in my head. It was no Tolkien feat, being as I was nine, I just fooled around with letters until I thought they sounded masculine, or feminine, like war or like food. I even made a list of letters that I thought should only be used to describe, say metal things, and other should only be used for female farm animals. During one sunlit, boring afternoon I realized something that I would be taught in a college linguistics class twelve years later. Sounds have no intrinsic meaning. Right then, I decided to write down how I felt about every letter of the alphabet with the intent that such knowledge would make naming characters and made up places that much easier. Who knew that twenty years later big companies would be doing the same thing.

Read about drug names and big business in, "Drug Makers Make Name Games Big Business" from Forbes. This informative article talks about how "X" seems scientific and "Z" convey speed. It also describes how naming things is big, big business. It recalled an article I once read in the career section of the Washington Express about a private, professional namer with such a good reputation, she paid the bills by selling cleverly crafted words. Naming for profit is such a modern concept! I mean, talk about wordsmith, the very idea was so Stephensonian (oooo, I just made that word up) to believe that people really can make money by selling intel to the highest bidder.

0 sugar rushes:

Post a Comment