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Christopher Marks

Memorable words are often two 'chunks' long

2 min read

The simplest way to illustrate this point is just to name successful companies, prestigious schools, famous cities, and other everyday words:

Companies

  • Goo-gle
  • Face-book
  • A-pple
  • Win-dows
  • Ya-hoo
  • e-Bay
  • Twi-tter
  • Snap-chat
  • In-sta(gram) - colloquially Insta
  • Tin-der
  • Ven-mo
  • U-ber
  • My-Space
  • Flick-r
  • You-Tube
  • Linked-In
  • Whats-App
  • Out-look
  • G-mail
  • Face-Time
  • Net-flix
  • Drop-box
  • Git-hub
  • We-chat
  • Click-hole
  • i-Tunes
  • Bai-du
  • Wealth-front
  • Word-press
  • Best-Buy
  • Wal-mart
  • Safe-way
  • Whole-foods
  • BA-ML (abbreviation for Bank of America Merill Lynch)
  • Gold-man (instead of Goldman Sachs)
  • Black-rock
  • Roths-child
  • E-Y
  • De-loitte
  • etc.
  • notable exceptions: Amazon (a place), Spotify (3 syllables but arguably said as two, 'Spot-Ify'), Airbnb (still sort of broken down into two chunks, 'Air-bnb'), Skype (one syllable), KPMG (abbreviation), PWC (abbreviation), a billion other companies I can't think of

Really prestigious schools (no order)

  • Cam-bridge
  • Ox-ford
  • Stan-ford
  • Har-vard
  • Prince-ton
  • notable exceptions: Yale (one syllable), MIT (abbreviation)

Famous cities

  • Lon-don
  • Pa-ris
  • Ma-drid
  • Ber-lin
  • Lis-bon
  • Pi-sa
  • Flor-ence
  • Du-bai
  • Hong-Kong
  • Pe-king
  • Mos-cow
  • Que-bec
  • New-York
  • S-F (San Francisco)
  • L-A (Los Angeles)
  • Bos-ton
  • D.C. (Washington D.C.)
  • Dall-as
  • De-troit
  • this is a stretch, because there are a ton of famous cities that aren't 2 syllables, but there are also quite a few that are

Everyday words

  • Drink-ing
  • Danc-ing
  • Runn-ing
  • Cook-ing
  • Talk-ing
  • Eat-ing
  • Cry-ing
  • Fuck-ing
  • Sleep-ing
  • Yell-ing
  • these are just verbs ending in -ing
  • massively grasping at straws
  • T-shirt
  • Sweat-shirt
  • Box-ers
  • im just naming clothes
  • Foot-ball
  • Ath-lete
  • Pop-star
  • Sing-er
  • Ac-tor
  • Writ-er
  • Hack-er
  • E-con
  • Eng-lish
  • but it's also weird how our description of actions people take are usually 2 syllables long
  • yeah that's enough of this list

The simple reason for this is that it's much easier for things to spread by word of mouth if it's easy for people to say the word being spread. It's especially easy if people are able to quickly visualise how the word should be spelt in their head, and even more so if there's a consonant dividing the first and second syllable.

On a personal note, I've found it's infinitely quicker to say I go to school at Hog-warts than Warw-ick (especially if I'm talking to an American). That weird English 'rw' sound is as baffling as wor-ces-ter-shire being pronounced wooster-shire.