Eeeeeeeeee, How I Love Thee

It occurred to me recently, why do many of us name our cats with names ending in E, EE, EY, I, Y or IE?

Indee, Geordie, Gypsy, Monti, Freddy, Evie, Rogie, Tuppy, Charlie, Henry, Misty, Teddy and so on?

And for that matter why we shorten some of our friends names to also end in E or Y…Scotty, Kimmie, Helli, Robbie, Nicky (ok that’s how that name’s spelt anyway), you get the idea.

My theory is that the sound of ‘ee’, is friendly and warming and we use it as a way to feel close and as a term of endearment.
To make a loving, kind connection and to sound less threatening.

We somehow feel a closer connection to our cat/s through the sound we make and perhaps they respond (or not, as we know they’re choosy) because they often connect to a higher pitch frequency.

I contacted Professor Kate Burridge at the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University and she said, “there is a lot more meaning attached to sounds than is often acknowledged”.

“Many languages, for example, show a strong connection between sounds produced with the tongue high in the mouth (like “ee”) and the meaning “small”; by comparison sounds made with the tongue low in the mouth suggest “largeness”. Compare words like teeny weeny, itsy bitsy, wee and even little with words like large, vast and grand.” 

Kate also went on to add “I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that when we want to make little sound even smaller we make it leetle; that is, we raise the tongue even higher”. 

“When we produce that “ee” sound we only have a very tiny opening in the mouth and this matches its meaning. Some have suggested this connection has come about because small vocal tracts are possessed by smaller, weaker and less threatening beings”…hmm like cats maybe!

I’m doing more research into this and I’ll share more of what I’ve discovered in the New Year. Suffice to say there’s definitely a connection between our Psychology, Linguistics, sound and pitch frequency and cats themselves.