1. Endearing nicknames



    To collect and analyze metaphor-based family nicknames.

    Research question

    • Are family nicknames used primarily to express love, tenderness, and caring?
    • Does our attitude toward, and our use of, family nicknames change as we grow older?

    Why use data from multiple participants?

    The data supplied by multiple participants will yield a comprehensive picture of affectionate metaphors used by adults when addressing their children. Only this collective effort can reveal the many and varied terms of endearment used around the world. It will also help us trace the evolution of these diminutive forms of address and track the ages of those being addressed.

    Investigation Protocol

    1. Fill in and submit the Report Form . 
    2. If you have more than one nickname, fill out a separate Report form for each metaphor.
    3. Check the data submitted by other participants and compare it in charts and on the maps.
    4. Check the answers for the Research Questions’ customizing charts.

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    We are hoping to compare in this project family nicknames from many countries. It may be the case that in different countries, adults use different affectionate nicknames to address their children.

    However, all such terms of endearment (diminutive forms of address) carry a hidden metaphor. This metaphor always contains a comparison of the addressee with/to some attractive, alluring, and desirable object. The sources of metaphors vary from images of animals, plants, and celestial bodies to folklore personages, articles of art, and even our favorite foods.

    When we use diminutive forms of address, we endow our addressees with qualities of an object which gives rise to a metaphor. It could be, for example, the warmth of the sun, agility of a lizard, freshness of a ripe apple, etc. By collecting such words and phrases and studying their positive qualities, we can analyze and research various value systems worldwide.

    Quite often, these diminutives become ‘life-long companions’ of the children, their affectionate family nicknames.

    Report Form Before filling in the Report Form, please read the Investigation Protocol