Love at first sound: how phonosemantics helps copywriter


Take a little known test. Imagine looking from a height at two forest lakes. The first is called Eveloup, and the second is Zippeg. Mentally draw them, and then read on.

While you are fantasizing how it would be good to run into the woods from the stuffy office, I will say. The results of this test show that most of the respondents to the question about the shape of the lakes respond that they have turned rounded, and Zippeg - angular, elongated or with rugged banks.

This is phonosemantics

Phonosemanticism states that the same thought, expressed differently, makes a different impression on the reader or listener. According to its laws, it turns out that language has not only a semantic component, but also hidden phonetic impulses of influence. And where there is the possibility of hidden influence on a person, a cunning marketer immediately appears.

Phonosemantics is a relatively new trend in linguistics. In 1952, American Osgood noted in his work that a politician who uses a special melody of speech wins the debate. Our scientists went further. A.P. Already in 1981, Zhuravlev, in his book Sound and Meaning, gives an example: the word “seagull” is associated by respondents with the characteristics “fast and agile”, and the tick with scary and lowland images. In total, the academician identified 25 pairs of characteristics that can describe the effect of sound on the subconscious.

Sound and color

As part of phonosemantics, they distinguish sounds with colors. In the already familiar book "Sound and Meaning" Zhuravlev gives an example from the work of Yesenin:

The air is clear and blue,
I'll go to the flower thicket.
The traveler, in azure,
You will not reach the desert.
The air is clear and blue

Here, three times the norm of Russian speech, the number of "blue" sound "and". At the same time, the image of the poet conveys a blue evening.

One more example:

Scarlet dawn poked out on the lake.
On board with the cries, the wood-grouse cry.

There are many sounds "a" and "u" - they accurately color the atmosphere of the scarlet dawn. It is unlikely that Yesenin studied phonosemantics, but the poet’s sense was not deceived. Intuitively, he chose the right color for imagery.

Do you have similar associations? To me personally, “I” seems brown, and “yo” - bright yellow.

Imagine how to use it in marketing.

I see at least 4 effects that phonosemantics produce for fuller and more intimate contact with the target audience.

  1. The text of the speeches influences the audience in a proper way - it pumps up seriousness or relaxes the public. Moreover, depending on the audience, you can “play” with an emotional attitude. Investors are treated with "trust", and the team is set up with "inspiration and perseverance."
  2. Advertising and informational articles have the right emotional background. Meat is good and very important, but not only care about the reader brings dividends. The right words and emotions also work. When we read, we mentally pronounce the words, so that the effect is preserved.
  3. Learning materials are more readily remembered by students.
  4. The names of brands, products and services are better perceived and remembered. Baby food is associated with tenderness and care, and the network of car repair shops - with reliability and speed. For example, in the word "speed" there is not a drop of speed, so if a taxi or delivery service wants to put pressure on this quality, it is better to choose "Mig" or at least "Vzhuh." Phonosemantics helps especially when it is necessary to introduce the public with a new product or to bring an imported name to the market.
How many of you read Nike as the correct "Nike"? No one. Nike is a more pleasant name. If you check it according to the rules of phonosemantics, then the associations will be "courageous and good." If we get rid of Nike, we get “short, weak, silent, small”.

For more than 60 years, phonosemantics managed to acquire fans, acquired a skeptic sect and earned a number of enemies. Like NLP, neuromarketing or psychomarketing. I agree, each association has its own and one sound “b” seems big, and the other - rich or white. But associations still arise, and therefore, you just need to find universal rules. These rules and tried to squeeze into the framework of a simple desktop programm BAAL.


There are several online services on the Internet that help analyze the phonosemantic characteristics of a word or text. Here are the results of the analysis of the word "copywriter" on one site from the issue of Google.

But more often, when it comes to phonosemantics, the name VAAL comes up. This is a psycholinguistic system that helps analyze a single word or the whole text. A small program with a funny icon. The program, which has not been updated since 2002, but still causes controversy and finds fans among enumerators and other masters of short and long text forms.

The BAAL system uses the results of Zhuravlev's studies, which I have already mentioned. It relies on synesthetic effects — the hidden connection of a sound image with a non-sound one. The full program analyzes the text according to different components, but the free version of the BAAL-mini makes a simple analysis by pairs of characteristics.

Of course, the program has cons

For objectivity, read the article by Alexander Repiev, although it caused a sensation of some linguistic "grater" among specialists. There is Lebedev’s opinion on the program. Also negative, but you can argue with him. Rather, I want to argue with him, because it is strange to hear such a superficial conclusion from an intelligent person.

Indeed, if the word "dead" is thrown into the service, the BAAL will show "rude, courageous, big", and if you analyze "strength", then the characteristics will be "light, feminine, weak". But this is not about the meaning of the word, but about its perception. If I need to make an appeal that should inspire the troops to die, I will boldly write that "our enemies will die under the onslaught." Then the "courage" does not seem superfluous?

Phonosemantics can not be detached from the point, but you should not let out of sight either. Especially in short texts and single words. As in any other business, it is necessary to include the head. Moreover, this is just a part of the analysis, followed by almost 100 parameters, including content analysis and word meaning analysis. By the way, if the word needs to be re-invented, and the meaning comes later, phonosemantics can help a lot.

Putin vs Trump

To study the phonosemantic effect of the test on the listener's consciousness, the developers rated hundreds of prayers, sermons, spells, conspiracies, mantras, hypnotic formulas, autogenic training formulas, Kashpirovsky texts and the Hands Up group. This made it possible to reveal the stable characteristics of such texts. Using these characteristics allows you to create new texts with the same impact.

For example, here are the results of the evaluation of Vladimir Putin’s New Year's congratulatory speech. Evaluation of the text quite coincides with what effect should produce the leader of the state in his parting words.

And this is an assessment of the speech of Donald Trump after the presidential race. In order for the analysis to be correct, it was not the text translation that had to be driven into the service, but its sound. Manually it is difficult, therefore errors are possible, but program developers claim that this approach also has the right to life. In many respects, because the same sounds in different languages ​​were formed under the influence of the same natural factors (hissing snake, bee buzzing, woodpecker knocking), and therefore emotionally perceived equally.

A good text has a million parameters.

Maneuver between them all must be wisely. One cannot say that neuromarketing and phonosemantics are capable of moving advertising campaigns alone. Similarly, it cannot be said that only truth and care for the reader makes the message better and more understandable. In the arsenal, it is desirable to have all these tools. Dozens of ways to attract attention and capture the mind of the user or buyer - from the classic American copywriting to neuromarketing and infostyle. A good author must be able to use them.

What to remember

  1. Phonosemantics is a science that claims that a word affects not only consciousness with its meaning, but also sound into the subconscious.
  2. There is no iron guarantee that the approach works. As there is no 100% evidence of the effectiveness of NLP and other neurosciences.
  3. Phonosemantics is not a magic wand. By offering a bad product or service, you will not be able to confuse the buyer with the correct name. Maximum 1 time.
  4. Phonosemantics is able to analyze both short words and complex texts.
  5. Such an analysis is especially useful when creating new words that still have no meaning.
  6. Using phonosemantics, do not forget about the meaning of words. The meaning is primary. Phonosemantics is an auxiliary tool for creating an emotionally correct message.

Watch the video: Love At First Sound - Lost It (April 2020).


Leave Your Comment