11 may. 2011

Nomenclature

I am very interesting in things that can be given names. Perfumes, brands, horses, people, stuffed animals, poems, breeds of roses or tomatoes. Ever since I read Plato's Cratylus. Or probably even before that. There ought to be a book about that. Or can we just sit back and enjoy the names themselves?

5 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

In A Severed Head, a fairly uncharacteristic Murdoch novel and probably for that reason my favorite, there's a lot of talk about French wine. (One character is an importer.) I got curious about the names of the wines, and looked them up -- they all turned out to be the names of roses, selected for Frenchness. (I don't now remember whether Gloire de Dijon was among them.)

Clarissa dijo...

Gamers give names to their computers, mouses, and joysticks. The rationale is that if you have several joysticks, you need to distinguish them from each other when you refer to them in conversation.

Elisa dijo...

The editors of the review for which I write my perfume column always wonder if the names of perfumes should be italicized or in quotes or something. I don't do anything but capitalize them, because they're basically just brand names: Windex. Toyota. But it's a shame, because they're also (one hopes) works of art.

Vance Maverick dijo...

The all-knowing or at least all-referencing Wikipedia says,

Vehicles were originally sold under the name "Toyoda" (トヨダ), from the family name of the company's founder, Kiichirō Toyoda. In September 1936, the company ran a public competition to design a new logo. Out of 27,000 entries the winning entry was the three Japanese katakana letters for "Toyoda" in a circle. But Risaburō Toyoda, who had married into the family and was not born with that name, preferred "Toyota" (トヨタ) because it took eight brush strokes (a fortuitous number) to write in Japanese, was visually simpler (leaving off the diacritic at the end) and with a voiceless consonant instead of a voiced one (voiced consonants are considered to have a "murky" or "muddy" sound compared to voiceless consonants, which are "clear"). Since "Toyoda" literally means "fertile rice paddies", changing the name also prevented the company being associated with old-fashioned farming.

In other words, it's just a hair apart from a mere name, but much depends on that hair.

Vance Maverick dijo...

Also, perfumes? I know nothing at all about them, but as a New Yorker reader I can think of a few things about their names. Aren't Drakkar, Shalimar, and Jaipur all names of perfumes from French makers?