The mashups of our Top
100 Alternative Search Engines
list continue! The Name Inspector, a fun and interesting
blog run by a PhD in Linguistics, has done a linguistic analysis of
the 100 search engine names on the list. His conclusion is that “the search for search
engine names has drawn on some creative linguistic strategies.” The top 100 alt search
engines (from February) fall into the following categories:

  • Real words (23) – e.g. Sphere; sub-categories: Misspelled words – e.g.
    filangy (phalange ‘finger bone’); Foreign words – e.g. hakia
    (Finnish hakea ‘to fetch’)
  • Compounds (20) – e.g. Dogpile
  • Phrases (17) – e.g. liveplasma
  • Blends (9) – e.g. collarity (collaborative +
    clarity)
  • Made up or obscure origin (8) – e.g. onkosh (something derived from
    Arabic?)
  • Tweaked words (7) – e.g. Clusty (cluster)
  • Affixed words (6) – e.g. crossEngine
  • Initials and acronyms (4) – e.g. Omgili (Oh my god, I love it!)
  • Puns (3) – e.g. gnod (nod, n –>
    gnostic ‘relating to knowledge’)
  • People’s names (3) – e.g. riya

In addition, The Name Inspector has identified some search engines names that belong
to more than one category, which he labels “mashonyms”. An example is Phrase + Misspelled
Word + Domain Hack = alltha.at.

So now we’ve had a geographic
analysis
of the top 100 list and a linguistic one. Let us know of any other mashups
out there – and don’t forget there’s also an excel spreadsheet
version
available for this purpose.

richard macmanus

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