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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Phonetic/sound symbolism question

Date Submitted: 24-Jul-2012
From: Kenneth Price
Subject: Phonetic/sound symbolism question
Contact Email: click here to access email

Notice: I am interested in writing a work of fantasy, and have been jotting down an outline with various characters.

My question: When inventing the name of a character, various sounds have an implied meaning such as Balrog, Azog and Gothmog Morgoth, all bad guys from Lord of the Rings, Magog from the Bible, Darth Vader or Sith, from Star Wars. I am fairly certain there is a branch of linguistic study that deals with the implied meanings of sounds made by specific syllables and would like to know more about the subject. Could someone point me in the right direction or name the field of study. Some other syllables might include ick, uck, and gore.

Contrarily, there are syllables that denote good such as the 'lu' sound in illuminate and Luke Skywalker.

All help is appreciated.