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Constructional Linguistics

NameLab creates brand names and company names using a process we invented in 1981 — constructional linguistics. Here's how it works.

Like all English nouns, brand names and company names are constructed from linguistic elements called morphemes.

Morphemes are small, semantic units that, when combined, form words. The van in advantage is a morpheme that means front of, top of or leading edge of wherever it appears. American English contains more than 7,000 morphemes.


At NameLab, we compile a table of all morphemes that might express your desired messages. By combining these morphemes, we construct every new word, existing word, or short phrase possible in English as a source of candidate names.


Unlike natural language, a brand name or company name derives much of its meaning from the perceiver's experience of names of similar brands or companies.

Because the positioning effect of your brand name or company name can benefit from or be hindered by customer experience with similar products or services, we analyze the set of proprietary names your new identity will join to establish linguistic rules that describe an effective naming solution.

Candidate names are screened against the rules of legitimacy and positioning defined by our category analysis, eliminating those that are structurally "mis-symbolic."


The remaining names are culled and refined to improve visibility, comprehension, and multilingual function. (Examples include the q of Compaq and the phonetic spelling of Acura).

Further analysis and screening yields a shorter list of major candidate names expressing the input statement messages (through relevant morphemes) in a form that is legitimate to the category and positionally accurate.


In NameLab's process, candidate brand names and company names are amended to enhance linguistic performance - optimizing speechstream visibility, notational visibility, phonetic transparency, and multilingual function.

Speechstream visibility is the probability that a word will be recognized in a normal spoken stream of English speech.

Notational visibility is the probability that a word will be deciphered from typeset text, such as the columns of a newspaper.

A phonetically transparent name is spoken-as-spelled and easily pronounced from alphabetic notation.


Because we learn to speak five years before we learn to read, language is sound (or phonetic) in the brain.

That's why you think and remember in sound rather than by alphabetic notation. Because your brain works this way, phonetic transparency affects the memorability of a brand name or company name you see or hear, which affects the advertising cost per retained impression.


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