As much as I’d love to ride in the limelight, the real credit should go to my professor for coining Econolinguistics. So when you use it to get your high paying job offers or your PhD scholarships from Hahvahd and Stanford, cite him not me. I’m just a humble, lonesome messenger in this game of creative knowledge. Now on to the big ticket items..
Ecolinguistics — the interplay of ecology and language. Interestingly specific. It reminds me of the time when someone first described to me what ‘global warming’ was. My initial reaction from the connotations of the individual words, as I’m sure with many other people, was ‘that sounds awesome!’. Especially as a resident of a country nicknamed The Great White North, who wouldn’t love the idea of longer springs, warmer summers, and a friendlier winter. But of course global warming describes a much harsher portrait of our little globe’s future: the destruction of our wonderfully cozy atmosphere, more severe weather disasters, the destruction of many ecological systems due to melting polar ice caps, and a bunch of other consequences that’ll put a frown on even the happiest of clowns. And to make matters worse, this specific problem in ecology and linguistics goes further than just the choice of words to coin the issue. This study explores the linguistic analysis of words describing the degree of certainty when referring to global warming in mainstream news. As you’d expect, in the news coverage of global warming, the fact of global warming was often alluded to as merely an opinion amongst a choice of many others, and this consequently swayed public opinion & discourse on the topic. After crunching all this info in my noggin, I’ve been led to two conclusions:
1) The scientific community almost definitely needs to allocate funds to quality advertising copywriters when coining new global disasters.
2) There needs to be a better way to control the language when describing what is a speculative theory in science and what is considered scientific fact. Although, it does seem next to impossible without breaching some element of our right to free speech in this beautiful white north nation of ours. Any ideas?
In the marketing crowd, an Econolinguistic Word Value index would definitely be the talk at the water cooler (is that still a valid workplace small talk area?). In the spirit of your idea of incorporating the value of non-native words, such as Häagen-Dazs, I believe localizing the index to regions of the world would account for this factor in word valuation. ‘Toque’ in Canada is worth a lot more than ‘toque’ in the US. In terms of coming up with a distinction between a descriptive product name or a catchy name, I don’t think it would directly fit in this theorized index. However, a corollary that would describe the perceived likeability of certain phonemes may work.
This open index might not yet exist, but I did get to some googling to find out if there may exist some form of a word valuation method that is being used by an organization. Perhaps people might actually pay to hire ‘name consultants’ to assist in the naming of a company or a product… And to my surprise, these companies do indeed exist! Of course, I had to send them an email inquiring about their services. So while I wait for your post next week, I am also anticipating a sliver of a look into the linguistic analysis and cost of how this stuff goes down in the real world.
P.S. Ran out of space to talk about your points/studies on language affecting purchasing decisions. Will hit on that on my next post!
Cheers ‘n stuff, yo.