Tag Archives: Adam Alter

Names and implications

Excerpt from “The Power of Names” by Adam Alter:

“The German poet Christian Morgenstern once said that ‘all seagulls look as though their name were Emma.’ Though Morgenstern was known for his nonsense poetry, there was truth in his suggestion that some linguistic labels are perfectly suited to the concepts they denote. ‘Dawdle’ and ‘meander’ sound as unhurried as the walking speeds they describe, and ‘awkward’ and ‘gawky’ sound as ungainly as the bodies they represent.

When the Gestalt psychologist and fellow German Wolfgang Köhler read Morgenstern’s poem, in the nineteen-twenties, he was moved to suggest that words convey symbolic ideas beyond their meaning.”

I feel like this research is connected to a post I wrote the other day about how important names are to our identity and our connection to a place. I don’t believe that our potential is completely limited to our names, but I do believe that names influence the manner in which we walk through life each day.