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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the ways in which the affect or emotion experienced by name-givers in response to stereotypes, to aesthetics, and to past, present, and potential future events in their lives is encoded into the phonaesthetics of the names they select and assign. A phonaesthetic system based on statistical evidence and on studies of facial expression is applied to name choices. In this system, sounds such as [l], [m], and [iː] have positive and gentle emotional associations while sounds such as [k], [g], and [uː] have negative and tough ones. Facial expressions accompanying the enunciation of these sounds are either smiling (former group) or relatively tough (latter group). Differences are noted between boys’ and girls’ names, currently and previously popular names, names and nicknames, Black and White names, names popular in different geographical locations, pets’ names, and fictional and invented names.

Keywords: phonaesthetics, emotion, naming, sex stereotypes, racial group differences in naming, historical differences in naming, geographical differences in naming, pets’ names, fictional names, invented names

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