Whenever I tell someone I’m an English major, I’m met with a shudder and “Why?” Language is fun, that’s why. All of my grammar-loving professors and English major friends are not just insane, and I have proof.
I recently acquired a book called “The Secret Universe of Names” by Roy Feinson. Using the prominent consonants and sounds in different names, the book gives a personality description based on phonetics and the emotions different letter sounds evoke. At first, it sounds like a bunch of weird, nerdy crap, but upon looking up my own name and all my friends’ names, the descriptions were disturbingly accurate.
The reasoning behind this is found in the study of the origin of language in general. Feinson speculates that how and why different words are created and given meaning is because different phonetic sounds cause different emotional and psychological responses. Also, when humans speak, their faces and mouths contort to form the sounds each letter makes, which makes language both audible and visual.
Think about it – does the name Percival sound as manly as a name like Jake? The answer is generally ‘no.’ So based on this idea, our future personalities are decided from the day our birth certificate is signed. We hear these sounds, directed at and assigned to us, from infancy. If the connection between phonemes and human response in this context really so strong, then basic psychology indicates that we are classically conditioned to fit a particular mold based on that idea. This logic and the fact that pretty specific character descriptions in the book are accurate causes me to accept this as fact.
To even further corroborate the idea, the book gives some statistics that demonstrate varying levels of success based on names. Keiths are statistically proven to outperform Nigels in business by about 300 percent. People with “J” names are 250 percent more likely to become millionaires than people with names beginning with “N.” This is some serious stuff.
To illustrate how “The Secret Universe of Names” plays out its theories, I’ll use my own name, which would be a “CR” name. The letter “C” combined with “R” results in words full of “robust passion,” like “cobra, conquer, curvy and carnality,” creating personality types who operate with pure audacity. To summarize, it depicts my personality – “The Unexpected” – perfectly, down to the inconsistent neuroses. This was the case with all of my friends, who laughed when initially hearing my explanation, but were floored upon reading their own. Celebrity bios are also provided for each name type, and all are seemingly accurate.
Language is essential to human life – we would die without it. Not only is it crucial to survival, but it’s also fascinating, as I have obviously proven. English majors hold the real power in the world.