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"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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Query Details

Query Subject:   Product names - sound structure - associations
Author:   Olaf Husby
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  General Linguistics

Query:   Two students of mine are hired by a local company to evaluate several
names for a product to be launched internationally. The students are
looking for literature related to associations caused by speech sounds
(single and in groups, syllable structures, word roots

The students are asked to give answers to questions like these:

Which word is most suitable for product X: ''spox'' or ''spix''?

The company requires that the answers should be related to

1. Quality of sounds and associations they give
(f.ex: by /i/ persons get ideas of something small and thin, while by /a/
something big and round)

1a. Are there more or less acceptable sounds in product names?

(is /y/ less suitable than /o/ - and why.

2. Syllable structures and associations they give.

2a. Are there more or less acceptable syllable structures in product names?

(Is CVCVCV more acceptabel than CCCVCCCV?).
''bama'' is easier to pronounce than ''strpske'')

3. Are there differences between countries when it comes to associations
caused by identical speech sounds or syllable structures?

4. Is it an advantage or disadvantage to use an odd name?

(Example: Which name is best is best: bak? bakk? bac? bacc? back?
bachk? etc

5. etymology

(DO the names contain any semantic component which may give the potetial
buyer a certain idea with respect to meaning?)

Olaf Husby

Dept. of Applied Linguistics,
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Trondheim, Norway

Olaf Husby, Assistant Professor olaf.husby@hf.ntnu.no

Department of Applied Linguistics tel : + 73 59 66 34
Norwegian University of Science and Technology fax : + 73 59 81 50
7055 Dragvoll, Norway

Tue, 11 Mar 1997 15:34:12 -0500 (EST)
Lawrence B. Lewis
Lexical versus pronominal subjects

I am interested in exploring factors that determine whether speakers
(particularly children) produce lexical subjects versus pronominal
subjects. Does anyone know of any literature addressing this question
from a pragmatic, information processing, or grammatical standpoint?

Thanks in advance for any leads.

Lawrence B. Lewis
Department of Psychology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322

Thu, 13 Mar 1997 19:01:18 -0500 (EST)
Daniel L. Everett
Vietnamese Phonology


What are the best works on Vietnamese phonology (especially of the
dialect spoken in the south)? I am particularly interested in tone,
stress, and reduplication. Information on historical, descriptive, or
theoretical studies is welcome.

I will post a summary of responses if there is a sufficient
number of responses.

Thanks very much,

Dan Everett

Dan Everett
Department of Linguistics
University of Pittsburgh
2816 CL
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-624-8101; Fax: 412-624-6130
LL Issue: 8.372
Date posted: 17-Mar-1997


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