Social Question

ben's avatar

Why do certain names naturally sound like alien names?

Asked by ben (8681points) September 15th, 2010


All aliens, right? I often enjoy coming up with these, but I’ve become curious as to where this association started. “Bortag” is still pretty alien-like, but “Freetoto” has a very low alien score.

Why is this and how did it start?

Also: what’s your favorite alien name?

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22 Answers

Ben_Dover's avatar

Like Zowie Bowie, or Moon Unit Zappa?

Hawkeye's avatar

Some names from the Bible seem alien. Starbuck is a cool alien name and I mean from the 1970’s Battlestar Galactica show.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Zaphod Beeblebrox is my favourite alien name.

Maybe the voiceless velar plosive is one aspect. A lot of German words sound like they could be alien names in English to me. Lot of plosives in German. English is more deeply influenced by Latin than we think, I guess. Certain sound combinations that we don’t use so much in English sound weird and alien to us when we do use them.

erichw1504's avatar

I think the use of a lot of Z’s, Q’s and X’s are necessary for the best alien names.


Sarcasm's avatar

I think it’s related to the normality of a letter. We have 26 letters, but a lot of them are mostly ignored. G, Q, X and Z for example, are quite rare. So seeing a name with them is rare as well, and must clearly be extraterrestrial.
Zaphod Beeblebrox FTW.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@erichw1504 Yeah, they think the same when coming up with pharmaceuticals. Research shows people gravitate to meds that have lots of x, z, k in their names.

ucme's avatar

Meet Trevor, at least that’s how i’ve always imagined him.

downtide's avatar

I think words that sound alien are ones with letter combinations that don’t appear frequently in any recognised language. When they’re unusual, and they don’t automatically make you think of real words, it’s more plausible to think of them as alien.

erichw1504's avatar

See what your name would be in the Star Trek world.

CMaz's avatar

Donald R. DeCicco

Mary Margaret DeCicco

erichw1504's avatar

@ChazMaz Coneheads, nice!

janbb's avatar

I was all ready to get on my high horse about xenophobia until I read the details. Come to think of it, that would make a great alien name!

Bluefreedom's avatar

@erichw1504. Using the name generator you linked to, my name came out to be Ariennye Ariennye.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@erichw1504 – I’m Karana Leskit.

morphail's avatar

@aprilsimnel Latin has a lot of voiceless velar plosives too.

monocle's avatar

That allergy medicine, zyrtec.. I think of aliens on a warship whenever I read it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@morphail – Are they all bunched together like in alien names?

morphail's avatar

@aprilsimnel if you mean “are there words with 2 instances of /k/ in Latin”, then yes: quinque, calcar, crucis, quisquis, scilicet, circa

btw “Zaphod Beeblebrox” has only one /k/

Sarcasm's avatar

@monocle The Zoloft blobs live upon the great ship Zyrtec.

janbb's avatar

Paxil, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Risperdal, Elavil, Klonopin….all great alien names

monocle's avatar

@Sarcasm yes, they come from planet Zantac.

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