How to name a product with reduplication
How do you name a product, or a company? One approach is to generate “babble” - sounds made by babies. Here’s one cluster of names:
- Tic Tac, a brand of sweets
- Tik Tok, an app for sharing videos
- Yik Yak, a (dead) social network
- Kit Kat, a brand of chocolate bars
- Nik Naks, a brand of crisps in the UK (and, separately, in South Africa)
- Dig Dug, a classic arcade game
- RepRap, a (mostly) self-replicating 3D printer
- Dip Dab, a brand of sweets in the UK
- Giff Gaff, a mobile telephone network
The most important pattern in babble is reduplication, or repetition of syllables. Think of the words “mama”, “papa”, “dada”, which are near-universal and derive from babble.
“Mama” and “papa” are exact reduplications, but the cluster of names above uses ablaut reduplication. This means it varies the syllable by changing the the vowel. The first vowel is usually “i”, and the second vowel is never “i”. Consider how wrong the inversions sound, such as “Tac Tic” or “Dug Dig”.
The consonants tend to be those most commonly used in babble.
Wikipedia says these are
They’re mostly the stop consonants
i.e. those in which airflow is completely blocked.
The above group uses ablaut reduplication, but there are other kinds of reduplication. Rhyming reduplication modifies the first consonant, instead of the vowel. Here are some examples from the rhyming reduplication cluster:
- Fit Bit, an activity tracker
- PubNub, a publish/subscribe service
- StubHub, a ticket exchange
- Grubhub, a food delivery service
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