Lexico-Cultural Variations in Product Naming: A Note on the Names of Handcrafted Soaps

Lindsey N.H. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This comparative study examines the names of handcrafted soaps, a group of natural products that has become popular among environmentally conscientious consumers in recent years. In particular, 339 names of US-based handcrafted soaps (US-HS) and 324 names of Taiwan-based shou gong fei zhou ‘lit. hand craft soap’ (TW-HS) were analyzed and compared. The findings show that plant and food names predominate in HS names and reflect the cultural and herbal preferences in both regions. In addition, colorful, allusive, and novel coinages were found to be frequent among US-HS names. By comparison, function-denoting words were mainly found among TW-HS names. This study provides insights into potential cross-cultural variations in consumer product naming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-87
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 2


  • phytonymy, Asia
  • plant names
  • product names
  • soap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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