Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1932-2798
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2700
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Readers may infer that literary characters are sympathetic or unsympathetic based on the perceived phonetics of character names. Drawing on brand name literature in marketing, we investigate whether Slovene and English speakers can identify sympathetic and unsympathetic characters in Charles Dickens’s based solely on their names, despite being unfamiliar with the novel. Both Slovene and English speakers can make this distinction, suggesting that sound symbolism may help communicate Dickens’s intended characterizations. Dickens’s documented focus on creating meaningful names suggests the sound symbolism in his characters’ names is likely intentional. These findings are relevant to the translating convention of preserving proper names, which leaves spelling intact (given similar alphabets). Preserving the original names in translation may be justified for readers fluent enough to perceive the original name sounds. However, not altering character names in translation may sometimes lead to different phonetic perceptions, which alter the sound symbolic meaning.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alter, Adam L. , and Daniel M. Oppenheimer
    2006 “Predicting Short-Term Stock Fluctuations by using Processing Fluency.” Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences103 (24): 9369–9372. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0601071103
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0601071103 [Google Scholar]
  2. Andrews, Malcolm
    2006 “Performing Character.” InCharles Dickens Studies, ed. by John Bowen and Robert L. Patten , 69–89. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Argo, Jennifer J. , Monica Popa , and Malcolm C. Smith
    2010 “The Sound of Brands.” Journal of Marketing74 (4): 97–109. doi: 10.1509/jmkg.74.4.97
    https://doi.org/10.1509/jmkg.74.4.97 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bates, Douglas M. and Martin Maechler
    2009 “Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using S4 Classes. R Package Version 0.999375–31.” URL: CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4.
  5. Bates, Douglas M.
    2005 “Fitting Linear Mixed Models in R.” R News5: 27–30.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bentley, Madison and Edith J. Varon
    1933 “An Accessory Study of ‘Phonetic Symbolism,’” American Journal of Psychology45 (1): 76–86. doi: 10.2307/1414187
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1414187 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bernik, France
    1987Ivan Cankar: Monografska študija [Ivan Cankar: A monograph study]. Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. 1993 “Književnost slovenske moderne v evropskem kontekstu. [The literature of the Slovene Moderna in the European Context]” Slavistična revija41: 13–23.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Brede, Maija
    1999 “Sound Imitative Systems in Source and Target Language.” InThe Second Riga Symposium on Pragmatic Aspects of Translation, ed. by Andrejs Veisbergs and Ieva Zauberga , 29–38. Riga: University of Latvia.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Brown, Roger W.
    1958Words and Things. New York: Free Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Campillo, Laura
    2002 “Elizabethan Culture-Bound Elements in Translation, A Case Study: The First Part of Henry IV.” Shakespeare Yearbook13: 77–89.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Cortese, Michael J.
    1998 “Revisiting Serial Position Effects in Reading.” Journal of Memory and Language39 (4): 652–65. doi: 10.1006/jmla.1998.2603
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1998.2603 [Google Scholar]
  13. Czennia, Bärbel
    1992 “Der fremde Dia-/Soziolekt: ‘Cockney’, ‘Cant’ und andere Sondersprachen in Übersetzungen zu Romanen von Charles Dickens študija [The foreign dia-/sociolect: “Cockney,” “Cant” and other special speech in translations of Charles Dickens].” InDie literarische Übersetzung als Medium der Fremderfahrung, ed. by Fred Lönker . Vol.6. 107–25. Erich Schmidt Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Dastjerdi, Hossein Vahid , and Sara Sahebhonar
    2008 “Lost in Translation: An Intertextual Study of Personal Proper-Name Allusions.” Across Languages and Cultures9 (1): 41–55. doi: 10.1556/Acr.9.2008.1.3
    https://doi.org/10.1556/Acr.9.2008.1.3 [Google Scholar]
  15. Delesse, Catherine
    2008 “Proper Names, Onomastic Puns And Spoonerisms. Some Aspects of The Translation of the Astérix and Tintin Comic Series, with Special Reference to the English.” InComics in Translation, edited by Federico Zanettin , 251–269. Manchester, UK and Kinderhook, NY: St. Jerome Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Dickens, Charles
    1911Oliver Twist. Translated by Oton Župančič . Ljubljana: L. Schwentner.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. 1993Oliver Twist, ed. by Fred Kaplan . New York: W.W. Norton.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Eckert, Penelope
    2012 “Three Waves of Variation Study: The Emergence of Meaning in the Study of Sociolinguistic Variation.” Annual Review of Anthropology41: 87–100. doi: 10.1146/annurev‑anthro‑092611‑145828
    https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-092611-145828 [Google Scholar]
  19. Forster, John
    1904The Life of Charles Dickens. Vol.2. London: Chapman and Hall.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. French, Patrice L.
    1977 “Toward an Explanation of Phonetic Symbolism,” Word28 (3): 305–322. doi: 10.1080/00437956.1977.11435647
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1977.11435647 [Google Scholar]
  21. Fromkin, Victoria , Robert Rodman , and Nina Hyams
    2010An Introduction to Language. 9th ed.Boston: Wadsworth.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Gambier, Yves and Luc Van Doorslaer
    (eds.) 2008Translation Studies Bibliography. 5th ed.Amsterdam: Benjamins. Retrieved fromwww.benjamins.nl/online/tsb/.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Gradišnik, Branko
    2006 “Pojasnjevalnik.” InHarry Potter–Polkrvni princ. Translated by Branko Gradišnik , 512–35. Ljubljana: EPTA.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Greene, Graham
    1961 “The Young Dickens.” InThe Dickens Critics, ed. by George H. Ford and Lauriat Lane, Jr. , 244–52. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Guevremont, Amelie and Bianca Grohmann
    2014 “Consonants in Brand Names Influence Brand Gender Perceptions.” European Journal of Marketing49 (1/2): 101–122. doi: 10.1108/EJM‑02‑2013‑0106
    https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-02-2013-0106 [Google Scholar]
  26. Hurtado de Mendoza Azaola, Isabel
    2009 “Translating Proper Names into Spanish: The Case of Forrest Gump.” InNew Trends in Audiovisual Translation, ed. by Jorge Díaz Cintas , 73–85. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Ingham, Patricia
    2008 “The Language of Dickens.” InA Companion to Charles Dickens, ed. by David Paroissien , 126–141. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Jawad, Hisham AA.
    2010 “Sound Symbolism, Schemes and Literary Translation.” Babel56 (1): 47–63. doi: 10.1075/babel.56.1.04jaw
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.56.1.04jaw [Google Scholar]
  29. Jenkins, James J. , Wallace A. Russell , and George J. Suci
    1958 “An Atlas of Semantic Profiles for 360 Words.” The American Journal of Psychology71 (4): 688–699. doi: 10.2307/1420326
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1420326 [Google Scholar]
  30. Johnson, Ronald C. , Nancy S. Suzuki , and William K. Olds
    1964 “Phonetic Symbolism in an Artificial Language,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology69 (2): 233–236. doi: 10.1037/h0043851
    https://doi.org/10.1037/h0043851 [Google Scholar]
  31. Kaganoff, Benzion C.
    1997A Dictionary of Jewish Names and Their History. New York: Schocken.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Klink, Richard R.
    2000 “Creating Brand Names with Meaning: The Use of Sound Symbolism.” Marketing Letters11 (1): 5–20. doi: 10.1023/A:1008184423824
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008184423824 [Google Scholar]
  33. Köhler, Wolfgang
    1929Gestalt Psychology. New York: Liveright.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Kos, Janko
    1987Primerjalna zgodovina slovenske literature [A comparative history of Slovene literature]. Ljubljana: Znanstveni institut filozofske fakultete, Partizanska knjiga.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Léchauguette, Sophie
    2011 “Le traitement du nom propre dans la traduction des ouvrages pragmatiques: le cas des guides touristiques [The treatment of proper nouns in the translation of pragmatic texts: The case of tourist guides].” Forum9 (1): 59–90.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Loiacono, Rocco
    2012 “Il trattamento dei nomi propri nella traduzione di documenti giuridici tra l’italiano e l’inglese [The treatment of proper names in translation of legal documents between Italian and English].” InTRAlinea: Online Translation Journal. Special issue: Specialised Translation II, ed. by Danilo Maldussi and Eva Wiesmann . www.intralinea.org/specials/article/1799
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Lowrey, Tina and L.J. Shrum
    2007 “Phonetic Symbolism and Brand Name Preference.” Journal of Consumer Research34 (3): 406–414. doi: 10.1086/518530
    https://doi.org/10.1086/518530 [Google Scholar]
  38. Lowrey, Tina , L.J. Shrum , and Tony M. Dubitsky
    2003 “The Relation between Brand-Name Linguistic Characteristics and Brand-Name Memory.” Journal of Advertising32 (3): 7–17. doi: 10.1080/00913367.2003.10639137
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2003.10639137 [Google Scholar]
  39. Manini, Luca
    1996 “Meaningful Literary Names: Their Forms and Functions, and their Translation.” The Translator2 (2): 161–178. doi: 10.1080/13556509.1996.10798972
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.1996.10798972 [Google Scholar]
  40. Maurer, Daphne , Thanujeni Pathman , and Catherine J. Mondloch
    2006 “The Shape of Boubas: Sound-Shape Correspondences in Toddlers and Adults.” Developmental Science9 (3): 316–322. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑7687.2006.00495.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2006.00495.x [Google Scholar]
  41. Mehrabian, Albert , and Marlena Piercy
    1993 “Affective and Personality Characteristics Inferred from Length of First Names.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin19 (6): 755–758. doi: 10.1177/0146167293196011
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167293196011 [Google Scholar]
  42. Meyer, Bernd
    2008 “Interpreting Proper Names: Different Interventions in Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpreting?” Trans-kom1 (1): 105–122.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Muller, Marie Sylvine
    2004 “Le destin de l’oralité dickensienne dans les retraductions de Great Expectations.” [The fate of orality in Dickensian retranslations of Great Expectations ] Palimpsestes15: 69–92. doi: 10.4000/palimpsestes.1571
    https://doi.org/10.4000/palimpsestes.1571 [Google Scholar]
  44. Nunberg, Geoffrey
    2001The Way We Talk Now: Commentaries on Language and Culture from NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Nygaard, Lynne C. , Allison E. Cook , and Laura L. Namy
    2009 “Sound to Meaning Correspondences Facilitate Word Learning.” Cognition112 (1): 181–86. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2009.04.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.04.001 [Google Scholar]
  46. Ohala, John
    1984 “An Ethological Perspective on Common Cross-Language Utilization of F0 of Voice.” Phonetica41 (1): 1–16. doi: 10.1159/000261706
    https://doi.org/10.1159/000261706 [Google Scholar]
  47. Paroissien, David
    1984 “What’s in a Name? Some Speculations about Fagin.” The Dickensian80 (402): 41–45.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. 1999 “Characterization.” InOxford Reader’s Companion to Dickens, ed. by Paul Schlicke , 74–80. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Peharc, Suzana Bitenc in Tratnik, Alenka
    2014 Umestitev nacionalnih izpitov iz angleščine v skupni evropski jezikovni okvir : zaključno poročilo o izvedbi projekta. [Reconciling English language examinations with the common european framework for languages: Final report on the implementation of the project] Ljubljana: Državni izpitni center. bit.ly/2fXfTXpLast accessed30 November 2016.
  50. Penrod, Lynn K.
    2010 “Pottering Around: Harry Potter in Translation.” TranscUlturAl1 (3): 19–29.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Pogacar, Ruth , Emily Plant , Laura Felton Rosulek , and Michal Kouril
    2015 “Sounds Good: Phonetic Sound Patterns in Top Brand Names.” Marketing Letters26 (4): 549–63. doi: 10.1007/s11002‑014‑9288‑z
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-014-9288-z [Google Scholar]
  52. Ponterotto, Joseph G. , and Daniel E. Ruckdeschel
    2007 “An Overview of Coefficient Alpha and a Reliability Matrix for Estimating Adequacy of Internal Consistency Coefficients with Psychological Research Measures.” Perceptual and Motor Skills105 (3): 997–1014. doi: 10.2466/pms.105.3.997‑1014
    https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.105.3.997-1014 [Google Scholar]
  53. R Development Core Team
    R Development Core Team. “R: a Language and Environment for Statistical Computing (Version 2.9.1).” R Foundation for Statistical Computing; Vienna, Austria: 2009 URL: www.R-project.org.
  54. Revill, Kate Pirog , Laura L. Namy , Lauren Clepper DeFife , and Lynne C. Nygaard
    2014 “Cross-Linguistic Sound Symbolism and Crossmodal Correspondence: Evidence from fMRI and DTI.” Brain and Language128 (1): 18–24. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2013.11.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2013.11.002 [Google Scholar]
  55. Schultze, Brigitte
    1991 “Problems of Cultural Transfer and Cultural Identity: Personal Names and Titles in Drama Translation.” InInterculturality and the Historical Study of Literary Translations, ed. by Harald Kittel and Armin Paul Frank , 91–110. Berlin: Erich Schmidt.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Shrum, L. J. , Tina M. Lowrey , David Luna , D. B. Lerman , and Min Liu
    2012 “Sound Symbolism Effects Across Languages: Implications for Global Brand Names.” International Journal of Research in Marketing29 (3): 275–279. doi: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2012.03.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijresmar.2012.03.002 [Google Scholar]
  57. Skandera, Paul , and Peter Burleigh
    2005A Manual of English Phonetics and Phonology: Twelve Lessons with an Integrated Course in Phonetic Transcription. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Smiley, Jane
    2002Charles Dickens. New York: Viking.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Smith, Grant W.
    1998 “The Political Impact of Name Sounds.” Communication Monographs65 (2): 154–172. doi: 10.1080/03637759809376443
    https://doi.org/10.1080/03637759809376443 [Google Scholar]
  60. Spence, Charles
    2011 “Crossmodal Correspondences: A Tutorial Review.” Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics73 (4): 971–995. doi: 10.3758/s13414‑010‑0073‑7
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-010-0073-7 [Google Scholar]
  61. Suojanen, Tytti , Kaisa Koskinen and Tiina Tuominen
    2015User-Centered Translation, Translation Practices Explained. Abingdon, NY: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Tanz, Christine
    1971 “Sound Symbolism in Words Relating to Proximity and Distance.” Language and Speech14 (3): 266–276.
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Tsai, Nancy
    2014 “The Translation of Names and the Fallacy of Representation – and the Creative Consequences for Literary Translation in the Chinese-English Context.” Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies1 (1): 63–81. doi: 10.1080/23306343.2014.886398
    https://doi.org/10.1080/23306343.2014.886398 [Google Scholar]
  64. Valdeón, Roberto A.
    2009 “Info-Promotional Material Discourse and Its Translation: The Case of the Asturian Tourist Board Texts.” Across Languages and Cultures10 (1): 21–47. doi: 10.1556/Acr.10.2009.1.2
    https://doi.org/10.1556/Acr.10.2009.1.2 [Google Scholar]
  65. Vanden Bergh, Bruce , Keith Adler , and Lauren Oliver
    1987 “Linguistic Distinction among Top Brand Names.” Journal of Advertising Research27 (4): 39–44.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Willems, Klaas and Erika Mussche
    2010 “Fred or farīd, bacon or bayḍun (‘egg’)? Proper Names and Cultural-Specific Items in the Arabic Translation of Harry Potter .” Meta55 (3): 474–498. doi: 10.7202/045066ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/045066ar [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Charles Dickens; Oliver Twist; proper names; Slovene; sound symbolism
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error