Category Archives: Sound Symbolism

Awkwordplay: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Originally published Jan 7, 2009 The word awkwordplay, which The Name Inspector has just coined, demonstrates what it means: awkward wordplay. A play on words can be awkward for different reasons, and awkwordplay shows one of the most common reasons: a mismatch in … Continue reading

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The linguistics of Obama

Originally published Oct 14, 2008 If Obama wins the presidential election, he won’t just make history for being the first black president of the United States. He’ll also break new linguistic ground in the list of presidents’ names. And The … Continue reading

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Mini-post: Thoof

Originally published Jul 5, 2007 The Name Inspector has sort of been on vacation this week, but came across a name whose existence cannot go unremarked. It’s Thoof, for a user-submitted news personalization site. This is a name that defies criticism. … Continue reading

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Twitter

Originally published Apr 19, 2007 The name Twitter is not itself a pun, but it’s a set-up for a pun. It pretends to be a simple metaphorical name that casts the textual cacophony of its special kind of web exhibitionism as bird noise. But … Continue reading

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