English (United Kingdom)French (Fr)Russian (CIS)Espa
Home Forum Neurohacking The Bay Brain droppings on language & names

Login

      
      |
If you want to register, please send a mail introducing yourself to nha.council at our domain name (omitting the "www" of course).

Alex
useravatar
User Info

Brain droppings on language & names

Brain droppings on language & names

Hi dudes,
...What are the main influences on language change over time? I suspect one main one is inability to spell, which brings in extra words. For example, someone likes the sound of the name Sean but spells it 'Shawn'. The child who gets saddled with this carries the subtext; 'My name's Sean but my parents can't spell; therefore I'm probably dumb as well'. Unexpectedly, the original version doesn't die out; it just now carries the extra information 'My name's Sean AND my parents can spell; therefore I'm probably smart too'.

All names carry subtexts. In older times they might tell you about relatives (Sean Hewison; ie., Sean, son of Huwi) or specialist skills (Sean Baker, Sean Mason, Sean Cooper) or place of birth (Sean Marsh, Sean Highfield, Sean Middleton).

More recently, teachers at a local school used to have a list of first names, the bearers of which could be predicted to be potentially violent. Here's a selection: Barry, Billy, Danny, Darren, Dean, Gary, Gavin, Hayley, Joanne, Kelly, Ken, Kylie, Lindsey, Paul, Sharon, Shelley, Sonny, Tracy, Vicky. The names on the list are all from uk soap operas or celebrities, which one presumes the childrens' families watch. -Is this teacher-imposed nominative determinism, or associational prejudice? All they knew is it was a great predictor of problems; they didn't know why (consciously).

One could point to association with the TV characters and their behavior. But why were these names used for soap opera characters in the first place? They do have some things in common; almost all ending with y or n, all between 3 and 7 letters; but any random selection of names would present some pattern due to the limited overall choices. Is there some kind of unconscious association with actual sounds going on here? Is Billy likely to be thought of as silly because his name sounds like the word?

It would seem not; at least not universally, because fascinatingly, area of origin changed everything; a Paul from france didn't count, a Vicky from america was fine and unlikely to cause trouble. A Sean from india might well be your best student. But among kids with local origins, the list worked well.

Association does matter; as anyone looking at phone listings after WWII can witness. There are suddenly no Mr.or Ms. Hitlers in the directories, and I'll wager the name Adolph lost popularity among new parents for a while there. But does the entertainment industry deliberately choose names associated with 'being dumb' in the past, or is it their use of the name that creates the association in the first place?

When writing fiction, I tend to do the former; looking for a name that already 'sounds like a nerd' or 'sounds like a villain'. I like them not to be so obviously archetypal as 'Darth Vader', but the name must lead to associations with the character, and I think most writers do this deliberately (for example, the dorkiest guy in the world is 'Dwayne Dibbley'*, plus find me a name for a fictional female russian spy in 20th century fiction that isn't 'Natasha'). Whether they do it consciously or unconsciously is the interesting part. But WHY Dwayne Dibbley sounds like a dork is the very interesting part.

All this gets hacked of course by those who change their names. Imagine if you had to go into witness protection and choose a new identity. What name would you choose? What is it about your choice that attracts you? Is it a nice sound, or are the associations beneficial? Is it the name of a past or present role model? Do you know what it means? (go look it up) Does knowing what it means confirm your choice or put you off it a little?

All that we can determine privately are our own associations. Looking up what a name means gives us some cultural associations, but most associations currently are social -and many of us will be named after some TV or movie character our parents thought was cool.

In some areas of the world, parents only choose a child's 'baby name' or temporary name. At adulthood the young person chooses the adult name they wish to be known by. We have the same option via deed poll, but rarely choose it. I find it interesting that one of the most personal things about us, our names, are chosen by other people, probably after a good movie when they were drunk, and yet we stick with them and rarely consider a change, even when they are something like Bart Sidebottom, F. Dick, B.A.Shitta, D.Wimps, and possibly even Dwayne Dibbley.**

Hope you have fun thinking about this...
AR
*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6vU_Urxgbg
**The first four are in the phone registry uk. I didn't look for Dwayne Dibbley  :  )


Administrator has disabled public posting
Guest
Guest
useravatar
User Info

Re: Brain droppings on language & names

I've always perceived small, subtle, patterns correlated with names, perhaps even down to the very facial features themselves (which requires further explaining). It's very subtle and, as everything, specially involving interpretation and subjectivity, it can have either 'good' or 'bad' influences on the personality. Mostly because yes, society will take these subtle cues and treat any individual subtly differently than it otherwise would, nudging thus such a personality in one direction or another.

  But as any life event will have such a pull, it's up to the individual to choose the 'good' interpretation and not blame externalities for their choices. Therefore not deterministic. Physical aspects themselves could be influenced by years and years of such small nudges, being interpreted in one way or another by the individual's psychology and subsequently acted upon either consciously or, more likely, unconsciously.

  This 'trick', if there is one, must definitely be used by astrologers in case they find a less naive subject needing only a stronger push to believe their stuff.

> ...What are the main influences on language change over time? I suspect one main one is inability to spell, which brings in extra words.

  Definitely. The invasion of Britain for instance, is one of the causes for the mess English is, precisely because as those humans inter-married and had to communicate somehow but, were already past their brain plasticity time window for language acquisition.

  It's not the official story but another of those causes, namely the great vowel shift, I'm pretty sure there were someone(s) there with some serious pronunciation problems that by many historical accidents had a disproportionate influence on this aspect.. hahaha, maybe they lived in a small village that somehow got important all of a sudden, maybe as a hub or intersection for trade.. this is fun to think about lol

  Other influences may include the "vulnerability" of word endings, ease of flow between specific vowels, loaning of words, migration and of course, neologisms.. sure, also new tech....


L8r,
Silly, the Kidd.

Administrator has disabled public posting
Robert
useravatar
User Info

Re: Brain droppings on language & names

Until this post, I never thought that Sean was the 'correct' way to spell Shawn.
I went to school with a Sean, and a Shawn. When we wanted to differentiate which one we were speaking about the former would be phonetically 'corrected' to "Seen". 
  Therefore unless told differently, Sean should think that it was his parents that couldn't spell. **

As you said though, all that we can determine are our own associations, and it is the majority (or most influential) associations that would prevail.  An obvious example would be something with a universally accepted definition or context like naming a puppy killer vs bubbles.  The chosen name will affect the way people treat the dog, in turn affecting how it behaves towards people.  The Sidebottoms and Dicks in your examples probably had negative experiences because of their names, but now have assumed the name and the reactions of others as part of their identity.  They may have convinced themselves that they now wear heir monikers as badges of pride, like a soldier wears scars (or medals).



** Sean Bean must have had a tough time learning to correlate the spelling and pronunciation of his name.


Administrator has disabled public posting
Alex
useravatar
User Info

Re: Brain droppings on language & names

Hi dude,
Yeh... I was assuming that the 'correct' version would be the one from place of origin (Seán for example being Gaelic), but obviously all those were 'made up' too. However, the originals usually carried a certain meaning, which in alternates is either lost or changed (for example, 'Abel' in the original Hebrew means 'breath', whereas 'Able' doesn't; 'Peter' means 'rock' in ancient Greek, but the only meaning of 'Peeter' is slang for 'penis').

Love this:
Sean Bean must have had a tough time learning to correlate the spelling and pronunciation of his name.

:  )
His name means 'gift from god; leguminous plant'...
AR


Administrator has disabled public posting
Robert
useravatar
User Info

Re: Brain droppings on language & names

Not able to Abel,
Able's peeter was
very like Peter.


At adulthood the young person chooses the adult name they wish to be known by.
I remember being 12 when I no longer wished to be called Bobby, Robby, or any other "Y" names.  this is interesting, as some colloquial names in some areas (spatial and temporal) carry this property while others don't.  Ricky become Rick or Richard, Lizzy or Betty becomes Beth or Elizabeth, Tommy becomes Thomas.   "Y" endings generally appear to denote 'childish' around these parts.


RE: name association. I noticed lately that when I listen to audiobooks, if a character's name is the same as someone I know by the same name, I superimpose their face on the character in the book. 
As the character develops, and is someone different than the person I originally imposed, then their face changes into someone else. 
   A similar effect occurs in person*, and if I meet someone who's name is the same as someone with whom I've had negative experiences, I need to make a conscious effort to dissociate the person from the one in memory until they become their "own" identity to me.

*not imposing faces, but personality traits.


Administrator has disabled public posting
Alex
useravatar
User Info

Re: Brain droppings on language & names

More droppings...

I used to have a 'researchers funniest names' favorite with 'Katz & Shatz':
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8895456

but today I found a study conducted by Fox & Beevers:
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles. … =31875619/

I gotta laugh  :  )


Administrator has disabled public posting
Guest
Guest
useravatar
User Info

Re: Brain droppings on language & names

When I used to subscribe to eurekAlert I saw this all the time, not directly funny but related to the subject (which I guess also coincides with the influence of the environment, hehehe).

Say some Mr. Armstrong studying muscle physiology or a Ms. Smart P. studying neurons. xD

Administrator has disabled public posting

Board Info

User Info:   Newest User :  sailing 1   Members Online: 0   Guests Online: 1288
Topic
New
Locked
Topic
New
Locked
Sticky
Active
New/Active
Sticky
Active
New/Active
New/Closed
New Sticky
Closed/Active
New/Locked
New Sticky
Locked/Active
Active/Sticky
Sticky/Locked
Sticky Active Locked
Active/Sticky
Sticky/Locked
Sticky/Active/Locked