2018, Volume 15, Issue 1

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James O. Butler
Lancaster University
Lancaster, UK

The Rocket’s Red Glaringly Apparent Intent: The Dazzling Effects of Firework Naming

Voprosy onomastiki, 2018, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp. 168–180 (in English)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2018.15.1.008

Received 14 February 2017

Abstract: This article provides a preliminary investigation into the naming practices of a unique product group: pyrotechnics. It is conducted through a comprehensive survey of units made available in the UK marketplace (of 2015) during peak seasonal availability (end of October through early November), when fireworks can easily be purchased from non-specialist retailers. The semantic content underpinning effective branding is shown as being predominantly focused on the sensory impact of the explosions, which provides the primary naming impetus. The analysis is conducted through a statistical assessment against thematic grouping — this approach is typical for the statistical assessment of brand names linguistic categorisation. The author introduces a range of twelve thematic categories that correspond to the semantic fields used as the associative basis for each name. This analysis features a dedicated assessment of two specific categories: Rockets (which provide a statistically-representative snapshot of the entire range) and Sparklers (which were omitted from the quantitative data). The article shows that most often firework names are retrieved from military and cosmic thematic groups and point mainly to the expected visual effects. Besides providing relevant quantitative data, the paper demonstrates the qualitative linguistic versatility of firework names, arguing that they hold significant analytic opportunities for examining the role of associative semantics in the commercial naming of entertainment products.

Keywords: commercial names, fireworks, rockets, marketing, branding, metaphor, onomastic database, semantics


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