Fear of the unknown is nothing new. What you may not know is, that fear translates to negative perceptions about words, when people can’t pronounce them.
This happens more often than you’d think. The average English-speaking adult (American, Canadian, Australian) reads at nearly a 10th grade level. That’s perfectly adequate for regular daily life, but it means most people don’t do well with new and out-of-the-ordinary vocabulary words or names.
A recent set of studies found that this problem has a couple implications for business.
In the first studies, people rated benign food additives as much more harmful when their names were difficult to pronounce than when their names were easier to say.
In the last study of the set, people rated amusement park rides as both more risky (and nausea-inducing) and more risky (and adventurous) when their names were difficult to pronounce.
The conclusion: if it’s hard to read or say, people perceive it as a potentially harmful risk.
Take-away: it’s a risk for you if it sounds like a risk to them.