Have you ever considered how the spelling of words can reflect their content? An example that no doubt blew up your Facebook newsfeed at one point was how ‘bed’ looks like a bed. I don’t believe for a second whoever came up with words thought this out, yet it’s still incredibly intriguing how spelling and pronounciation add layers of interpretation. ‘Bed’>the ‘b’ is hard sounding, the ‘e’ offers relief from that hard sound, and the ‘d’ shifts back to that hard sound. Like mimicking two sturdy pieces of wood fringing in the soft comfort of the mattress.
Words and the letters forming them are so interesting. There’s almost somewhat of a hierarchy in the alphabet, like when you’re playing Hangman and immediately guess ‘a,’ ‘e,’ ‘s,’ and ‘t.’ Plus each person looks at certain ones differently with a context of pre-existing ideas and images.
As I’ve stated before, most of this analysis is due to me-being-an-English-major-please-get-me-a-life, but check out below some of my favorite words and how their look and pronounciation portray content.
Dream: This word begins with the firm consonance of ‘d,’ although it’s full strength of sound slips into the less firm ‘r,’ before all the harshness of those beginning consonants fade into the vowels ‘ea’ and the entire sound melts away into the soft curves of the ‘m.’ The sound thus seems to lose its hardness in fading into a more mellow whisper. Even the sharpness of the first two letters gives way to the smoother edges of the others, with the overall effect depicting the method of drifting off to sleep.
Soul: Definitely one of my favorite words! It begins with that strong but equally soft ‘s,’ which presents the short, round vowels of ‘ou,’ with the unobtrusive, straight ‘l’ tucking them in, giving both an image and sound of something resonating, echoing, like the soul within us all.
Technology: Okay, so this one isn’t exactly one of my favorite words, but it’s neat to notice it’s not organically formed, humans putting the letters together, creating the clump of phrases such as ‘tech’ and ‘ology.’ The former sounds very robototic, the ‘t’ and ‘ch’ automatic and brief, especially juxtaposed with the more flowing, ‘ology,’ a science.
Ghost: Another non-favorite, although I love how the soft complement of the hard ‘g’ ‘ghosted’ by the ‘h,’ like in the alphabet,makes that haunting, quiet sound–it’s not intrusive but it’s still there and yet fades into the round, echoing ‘o,’ and then completely blends away into ‘st,’ almost as though you can’t be quite sure if you caught sight of a real ghost 🙂
Love: Formed of simple letters, the dark horse ones that don’t carry as much clout or dynamic as others. The ‘o’ is the round, full middle that connects the tall, protective ‘l’ and sharp sounding ‘v.’ I’ve always thought the ‘o’ is underused and less noticed than your more frequent ‘a’s and ‘e’s, so it’s presence as the main sound of one of the most timeless ideas is nice. The ‘v’ thus makes a statement following after it, as if reaffirming its openness and acceptance as accurate, with the nearly quiet ‘e’ continuing what the word as to say.
Now for my favorite word ever:
Arise: ‘A’ is the first letter of the alphabet, so in a way it’s the boss, it comes before all others. It begins this word, which gives it authority and precedence. Plus, in my head, it’s there but not needed because ‘arise’ and ‘rise’ nearly mean the same thing, so I look at it as almost a necessity, or demand, that you must rise…Yeah, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The curve in the ‘r’ followed by the dotted ‘I’ and then another curvy letter in ‘s’ gives the image of an almost upward spiral, ascending, and the ‘e’ once again shows continuity.
So these are examples I’ve discovered of how the spelling and pronunciation of words reflect their content. Granted, this blog is poorly written and more freestyle of my analysis, but hey, it’s been busy these past couple of days. Any thoughts? What are your favorite words?