Random Musing

Ah brand is usually understood as the identity that corporations and other entities go by. I've mused often in private and public about how our ability to identify people is changing rapidly from the biological methods we've used in the past hundreds of thousands of years. Rather than using identifiers such as gait, eye colour, hair colour, height, smell, facial recognition and such, we are moving into a society that uses trademarks, logos, campaigns, slogans, rules of grammar or word preference, graphic design, and product. Brand is also something very important to both Red Hat and Fedora as well, our marketing presence revolves around it.

The origin of the word 'brand' is interesting. From it's germanic roots, it comes from the word for fire. It's even a false cognate between Dutch and English, as well as the Scandinavian languages. The word for a brand in Dutch is merk and in other Germanic languages, it's something very similar. This word can also share the meaning 'to notice' or in otherwords, to be aware of. We even use it in English, in the word trademark. A native speaker of one of these languages might accidentally use the word 'mark' to mean a brand, thinking that the word 'brand' is already taken. It seems a bit strange.

This kind of semantic change is actually pretty common when languages are isolated and change is introduced. In our case here, brand comes from raising cattle. When a ranch would have a herd of cattle, they would brand their cows and steers with a metal rod bent into the shape of their logo and heated in fire. The logo would be etched into the cattle hide, which would hopefully prevent honest people from dealing in stolen cattle, as well as certifying the origin of the cattle itself. Nowadays, this practice is considered inhumane and cruel. Yet that is the origin of the word, and in a way where everything we handle comes from.

Eat your heart out PETA.

2 flames:

eadmund zei

I'm pretty sure branding cattle is still considered A-OK

Yankee zei

It probably doesn't make PETA too happy.