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Euphonics

6 i Names are important, particularly in public life and when one is young and selfconscious. Actors, politicians and businessmen are prone to worry about such things, and adolescents who suffer under a name they deem ridiculous or inappropriate commonly exchange it for one which better expresses their personality, as they see it. Personal names acquire historical associations Winston, Marilyn and sometimes express moral qualities Faith, Prudence, which make them more or less popular at different periods. But apart from the flow of fashion, names may be seen as having their own peculiar characters, formed by nothing more substantial than the logic of alliteration. So parents agonize about the right names for their children, whether Polly sounds too pert or Deirdre rather depressing, Bill too blunt, Willie too weak, or whether nicknames might produce a cheeky Charlie, big Bertha or slippery Sid. This may seem childish and neurotic, but behind such trivia lies a feature of language which poets have always, more or less consciously, acknowledged. Names and words are made up of sounds, and each sound has some kind of natural meaning, expressing and evoking a certain human emotion. In some cases even the shapes of letters the serpentine, sibilant S for example seem introduction
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