Vol. 61 No. 2 (2013)
Research Article

Identifying Authors by Phonoprints in Their Characters’ Names: An Exploratory Study

Published 2013-06-01



If authors put words together in ways that can be recognized as wordprints (; ; ), do they put sounds together in identifiable ways when they invent names? Could they have unique sound prints (phonoprints) as well? This exploratory study compared phonemic patterns of fictional names in the poorly written Manuscript Story by Spalding and the extremely well-written Lord of the Rings and related works by J. R. R. Tolkein with names from an authentic public record, the nineteenth-century US Census. Phonotactic probabilities were determined using a calculator (Vitevitch and Luce, 2004) available on the Internet. When multivariate patterns of mean phonotactic probabilities at each ordinal phoneme position were considered, phonoprints emerged that merit further examination.


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