Originally published Jan 19, 2007

TechCrunch is about as hardnosed as a name can be, both in sound and in meaning. Has this helped to establish Michael Arrington as a rainmaker of Web 2.0? Who can say?

What makes this name so badass? First, there’s the no-nonsense word tech, which tells you in no uncertain terms what Mr. Arrington will be writing about. Then there are the meanings of crunch. Perhaps the most relevant is the one found in the expressions crunch numbers and crunch data. In that context crunch means something like ’submit to rigourous, impersonal analysis’. That certainly helps to establish Arrington’s credibility as a critic of new web technologies. There’s also the expression crunch time, which implies furious hard work to meet an impending deadline, especially in the tech industry.  Crunch also implies physical exertion, as in do crunches, and destruction, as in crunchcrushsmashsquash, etc. It’s all very macho. (Of course, crunch also suggests snack foods, but that’s hardly relevant here, is it?)

All this crunchiness is supported by the heavy, hard sound of this name. TechCrunch almost seems like it was invented to illustrate the principles of sound symbolism, so important to names, that are represented by the phonetic transcriptions included in these posts. It’s filled with low-sonority sounds (represented by the dark phonetic symbols) and closed syllables (shown by the way the dark symbols serve as “bookends” for each syllable). Then there’s that transition between syllables. The first syllable ends with a [k] sound and the second begins with a [k] sound. In the most natural pronunciation, the first [k] never gets released, so a person saying the name just goes reticent there for a while between syllables. Very brusque.

The name is even heavy orthographically, because there are lots of consonants, and two of them (the final sound of each syllable) are represented by the two letters “ch”. That makes the ratio of letters to syllables pretty high (5:1, in fact).

The name TechCrunch is big and heavy and not so pretty, but it’s serious and it gets the job done.

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