Name it: Heonia or Cruckwic?


In your reply, let me know which one you think is Heonia, and which one is Cruckwic, and a short reason why you think so!

These are portraits of two creatures that I conjured up from the two made-up names. Next week, I will reveal which name originally inspired which portrait.

If you feel like it, also try drawing Heonia & Cruckwic youself (in a random order) and let me know! I will try to guess yours. I tried this with my family and they loved it.

This activity is inspired by a recent study in cognitive science. It found that, when people are asked to draw creatures with made-up names, they nonetheless make drawings with consistent features. Furthermore, another set of people who viewed the drawings could match them with the original names better than chance. There are suggestions that this may be due to the “iconicity” of the words – the similarity between the words and its meaning. But that position goes against the conventional wisdom:

with the exception of words that directly imitate sounds, the relationship between word-forms and meanings is arbitrary: “There is no reason for you to call a dog ‘dog’ rather than ‘cat’ except for the fact that everyone else is doing it” (Pinker & Bloom 1990, p. 728)

More on this next week.

Until then, let me know which one you think is Heonia and which one is Cruckwic, and a short reason why you think so. If you feel like it, also draw them yourself in a random order and let me know!