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Word associations needed from English native speakers
Thread poster: Wladyslawie83

English to French
Nov 14, 2006

Hello everyone!

I have a rather unusual question that concerns english native speakers. Our company engaged in software development is about to launch a new product.
Our marketing department has invented a brand new name for it - SAPIE.
Originally, it was thought that consumers will associate the word SAPIE with something like SAPIENT and all the positive stuff coming with it.
However today, our CEO pointed that the word SAPIE resembles him an expression say pee. That fact enraged him greatly, he insisted on halting all the work on the project.
Thus, i'm here to ask English native-speakers about their associations on the word SAPIE. Any answer will be highly appreciated as it will help to clarify the situation and find the way out of this bizarre stalemate.
Thanks in advance.

[Edited at 2006-11-14 14:34]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-11-14 17:48]


Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:13
German to English
+ ...
Didn't have either association Nov 14, 2006

What type of software is this, and who is the audience for the software?

I certainly didn't associate SAPIE with "say pee" until you mentioned it. Probably that's because of the spelling, even though the pronunciation would be the same (or would it be pronounced "say pie"?)

Also, (it's OK, you can laugh if you want to) I had to look up the word "sapient" - it's just not such a common word that most English speakers would think of it immediately.

To be honest, the very first thing I thought of when I saw SAPIE was "homo sapien," something that has neither a positive, nor a negative connotation.

Interested to hear what others have to say!


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:13
Italian to English
+ ...
no association at all Nov 14, 2006

it suggests nothing to me at all - certainly not "say pee" or "sapient" (although I do know what the latter means).

I don't think it's a great name, to be honest, but it doesn't pull any "negative" strings.


Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:13
German to English
sappy Nov 14, 2006

As soon as something goes wrong, some people might start referring to the brand name as "sappy", which means silly or foolish.


Heather Chinchilla
United States
Local time: 11:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
My input Nov 14, 2006

Hello, here's my reaction. I don't know if I would have thought of "say pee" if you hadn't mentioned it, but now that's what I see. I would suggest that if you ask another group of people for their opinion that you don't mention "say pee" or anything else, that you just let them see what they come up with on their own.

The following came to mind for me: "homo sapien" and "sappy". Neither of these give me a positive or negative feeling.

I don't think adults think of these types of things as much as children. I hope you find this helpful!icon_smile.gif


English to French
negative associations Nov 14, 2006

Daina and Marie-Helene,

the very idea was to trigger associations with the word sapient which goes ['seipjent], so homo sapiens was the right thing to think about.

thus, phonetically it has nothing to do with sappy negative string.

the point is that we had an acronym implied here. S.A.P.I.E. are the first letters, although in slightly different order, to





One of our first deas was P.A.I.S. that is a "straight acronym", but later we decided to attach some sapient associations. perhaps we failed, but still the point are negative associations.

[Edited at 2006-11-14 18:41]

[Edited at 2006-11-14 19:21]


Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:13
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Sapie/sappy/sap/sap Nov 14, 2006

Wladyslawie83 wrote:

Originally, it was thought that consumers will associate the word SAPIE with something like SAPIENT and all the positive stuff coming with it.

I doubt native English speakers would associate SAPIE with SAPIENT - most native English speakers don't know the word SAPIENT.

Some associations:

sappy - very emotional in an embarrassing way
sap - a stupid person who is easily tricked
sap - to weaken over time

[Edited at 2006-11-14 19:16]


Local time: 17:13
German to English
Sappy Nov 14, 2006

My first impression was also "sappy".

That's not a good connotation for a product.


Heather Chinchilla
United States
Local time: 11:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
P.A.I.S. Nov 14, 2006

Of course, "país" means "country" in Spanish...


Local time: 17:13
English to Latvian
+ ...
... Nov 14, 2006

Maybe he'd like the acronym PArIS LOL? But then again, some people might want to associate peeing with anything.


Sherey Gould  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:13
German to English
SAP (application) Nov 14, 2006

I agree with the rest of the respondents here that "say pee" never came to mind and that "sapient" is not a common word (in the US). What did come to my mind first, particularly after reading your introduction explaining that your company develops software, is that this product must be a SAP product/application.
There are so many acronyms in use today (and seemingly 5000 more newly developed each week), SAP being just one, that I would say your boss has no cause to be enraged. I think most people will take it on face value as just another "interesting" or unusual software product name!
Although I do also agree with Kim, that "sappy" (at least in the US) could very well be associated with it if there turns out to be problems with it....


Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:13
Member (2005)
Italian to English
Made me think of "knowledge", "wise" or "wisdom" (from the Latin "sapiens" - Nov 15, 2006

although I suspect this is probably on account of the fact that I studied Latin for several years and am bilingual in English and Italian and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I am a native English speaker ...

What your CEO saw was a rather odd association - I'd be very surprised if his mothertongue were English! I don't see the association at all - even after you pointing it out!


Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:13
French to English
Not so much word association but... Nov 15, 2006

... I do wonder exactly how to pronounce iticon_smile.gif

Is it supposed to be pronounced say-pee? (possibly not ideal, as your CEO has pointed out)
Sappy? (ditto, as others have pointed out)

The thing is, that as it does not immediately remind one of any (common) English words, it's hard to know where to take one's cue (as our spelling is, of course, no guide to how we say stuff!). I would guess, if forced, that following the model of words like scabies and rabies, then "say-pee" IS how it would be said. But the others I've suggested are all valid pronunciations to a lesser or greater degree, and if you want people to talk about your product, I would suggest that you make sure its pronunciation is obvious.

This could, of course, be said to be a failing of ProZ - is it like prose, or pro-zed, or pro-zee, or prozzz, or....??icon_smile.gif


David Wright (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:13
Romanian to English
Bit of a sap Nov 15, 2006

I agree with the comments about "sap" ; i.e. the name could be associated with someone who is stupid or a bit "sappy".


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:13
Italian to English
Sappy Nov 15, 2006

I don't see your (or any other) negative connotations.
I would naturally pronounce it "Sappy" and, rather than the emotional / stupid / weak connotation, would immediately think of the Healthy / Energetic / Vital meaning that derives from sap as the fluid in a healthy plant.

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