Triskaidekaphobia, also known as paraskevidekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia, is the fear Friday the 13th. Isn't language astonishing?
I have, on occasion, worked as a "freelance namer" for an advertising agency that specializes in corporate identity, charged with creating names for everything from entertainment systems in high-end hotel rooms or innovative healthcare programs to a line of Middle Eastern canned goods destined for N. American supermarkets.
Naming something validates it. Think Adam in the Garden of Eden. Configure a new arrangement of consonants and vowels and that thing -- an object, a service, a condition -- becomes real, official. Frigidaire, Minute Maid, Xerox, Power Bars, Google, iTunes, anthrax, Prada. Suffragette. Philanthropist. Fag Hag. Workaholic. Generation X. Oniomania (compulsive shopping). Some new words/phrases manage to travel at the speed of light, nonexistent one day, uttered from Maine to Mumbai the next. Weapons of Mass Destruction. The People's Princess. Eco-Terrorist. It's difficult to talk about something, to wrap our brains around it, without a label. Think Orwell's "Newspeak" in 1984, with its systematic eliminations.
Particularly fascinating is it that most (if not all) human languages contain words no one is allowed to speak or write. Expletives. Blasphemies. Secret, sacred utterances. Invented-but-forbidden words. Little time bombs imbedded within the tongues being spoken everywhere in the world at this particular moment, as well as within all the many, many human languages that have "gone missing" over time.
Causes Barbara Szerlip Supports