A Blog About Witing and the written word

Why Mondgreen?

Why Mondgreen?


One of the most exciting – yet most challenging – things about starting your own business is to come up with a good name.

It’s a rare opportunity to get to name something! Unlike when you are naming your kids, you don’t have to compromise (that is, if you are in a sole proprietorship. Otherwise, good luck!). When it’s your company, the name can be anything you want…well, almost anything.

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     Finding a good name is more than choosing a word that sounds pretty. There are many other things to consider: your business’ character and angle, your audience, whether the name is easy to pronounce and to remember. You also need to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of naming the business after yourself (read here a blog post from talented Emily McDowell from Emily McDowell Studio). Then, you have to make sure the name you choose is not already registered by someone else and that the domain is available. So, the whole process was a bit more complicated than I thought!

     I began obsessed with the idea of including the word “magenta”, because it’s one of my favourite colours and because it’s spelled the same both in English and Spanish (it’s pronounced differently, though). I wanted to combine magenta with a character or an editing symbol so the name would go well with the focus of the business, but then I realized that “magenta” suggests graphic design rather than editing, and we don’t offer design services (yet).

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I went thorough a myriad of potential names, covering every single combination of words, symbols and colours. During this process, Aeolidia’s tips helped me to stay sane (most of the time). If you are not following Aeolidia's blog yet, do it. It is an amazing source of inspiration and useful (free!) tips for small business owners.

     From my obsession with magenta I moved to an obsession with the & symbol, the ampersand. I thought “Marvan & …” would be nice but it sounded too lawyerly (plus I would have to come up with an imaginary partner). I had to have the ampersand somewhere as I found it so beautiful and a perfect visual representation of language. So, I started digging into the origins of the symbol and I came across a blog post that mentioned the word ampersand was “a mondegreen”. Hmm, that sounds pretty!

     A mondegreen is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a word or phrase (most commonly a lyric in a song), in a way that gives it a new meaning. Think of the Alphabet Song and how, as a four-year old, you thought “ellemenopee” was a cool, yet very long consonant. It may make sense in your head but it’s often incorrect.

     According to Wikipedia, American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in her essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen", published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954. The term was inspired by a misinterpretation of the line "...and laid him on the green" from the Scottish ballad "The Bonnie Earl O' Moray".

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,

Oh, where hae ye been?

They hae slain the Earl o' Moray,

And laid him on the green

When Wright was a little girl, she thought the last line said “And Lady Mondegreen”.

And thus, the word was added to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate dictionary in 2008.

     I immediately fell in love with the word. It was perfect for a business about interpreting from one language to another and revising misinterpretations. It was love at first sight!

     The design team at Tomate Design did an amazing job on the logo, letting me include an ampersand, the beautiful symbol that led me to the word Mondegreen.

Entrada #1, originally written Jueves 17 Septiembre 2015