What’s in a Name?
This might be not at all interesting unless you’re named Sarah. Quite probably not. But as I am… here we go.
According to the journal Speech Communication, some Finnish physiologists did a study in 2003 called “Conveyance of emotional connotations by a single word in English”.
The word, as you’re guessing, was “Sarah”.
They had people say it 10 ways, to express â€œnamingâ€, â€œsadâ€, â€œpleadingâ€, â€œadmiringâ€, â€œcontentâ€, â€œcommandingâ€, â€œastonishedâ€, â€œscornfulâ€, â€œangryâ€, and â€œfrightenedâ€. And they had people guess which ones were which.
- It’s easiest to say my name in anger, fear or astonishment and get your point across. (I know there’s got to be a joke there.)
- When you’re trying to speak with neutrality, sadness, admiration, command, anger or fear, you need to focus on changing the Â tone of your voice, whereas
- When you’re trying to convey astonishment, plea or scorn, you need to focus on varying the timing of your speech.
- If you’re trying to express admiration, positive surprise, scorn, plea, command, fear or neutrality, you sound the same in either English or Finnish.
So what I want to know is…
- Who cares?
- Why would Finnish physiologists care about English linguistics?
- And most importantly,Â why out of all of the words in the world did they pick my name for this test?
Science. It’s mysterious.