Ordinal Linguistic Personification

The other day while I was reading frankie, I came across a story on Synesthesia which is a condition where 2 senses are overlapped with each other or something.

There are many forms, some people can “taste” words or associate colours with certain letters.

I found it quite similar to what I have been doing when I was younger and went to research it. I found out that for me, it’s Ordinal Linguistic Personification (OLP). I associate certain words, letters or numbers with a personality. It’s a rare form of synesthesia and thus lesser studied. When I was younger, some numbers and words conjure up a certain personality trait or image in my mind. (It has stopped somewhat as in I’ve done these lesser and lesser but the personification I associated with words or letter don’t go away).

5 was a neutral “yes man”. 6 was always a good handsome guy. 7 was a pretty female. 8 was a pain the ass, bitchy but pretty girl (thus i always hated the number 8), 9 was a good guy who liked 8 but 8 liked 6. In my mind, 6 and 7 always went together.

Left was always good while right was bad. I liked my left hand better than my right hand but alas my right hand was my dominant hand no matter how hard I tried to change it. Sometimes when I was bored (when i was much much younger) I envision both hands fighting and of course, I would hit my right hand with my left. Bad, bad hand. Haha.

The word “Hokkien”, conjures images of a noddle stall hawker in local food courts in Singapore. The word “Cantonese” conjures an image of an ostrich for some reason [Hahaha I really don’t know why though!].

There are other words that I would subconsciously tie a personality trait to and little did I know, only 20 years later, that it is actually some sort of medical condition. It’s become such a part of me I didn’t think it was abnormal. OLP is a very normal thing for me till I read the frankie article and thought “what the crap I do that too and I dont even realise it!”  I don’t think it really affected me much growing up but I thought it is quite interesting isn’t it?

Obviously my mum would probably freak up but hey, it’s not a mental illness or anything!

EDIT: Thanks so much everyone who came to my blog and sharing about their own OLP experiences! I really appreciate it and decided to add in more about my own (^_^)

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21 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Kym Lee said,

    Just like OCD. It’s normal :D

    So… what number am I? Hurhurhurrrrr

  2. 2

    Melike said,

    Omg same for me.Im 16 y old and i think 6 and 7 is great couple too!(6 is female 7 is male)
    You may know the feeling when it is 6+7=13 OR 6.7=42 when i see that i became a little happy.Idk it s so strange feeling!Oh but for me 8 and 9 r girl friends.8 is innocent.But 9 is absolutely betchy!
    And too alll OLP people:
    Anywayyy have a good life w numbers!
    İf u dont u may fail at math like me :)

  3. 4

    Sarah said,

    Hey, I have OLP too! I found our reading wikipedia.

    • 5

      Ashley said,

      Hey, I’m 13 and just realized I have OLP a couple days ago. I find that three and four are a good couple, and 6 and 7 don’t really care about each other. I suppose if any number was bitchy it would be 35, which is one thing that irritates 7…

  4. 6

    Jane said,

    I have that too! does anyone ever do it with objects or rooms/places too? like if we havn’t spent much time in our den lately, I will feel guilty because it might fee lonely. maybe i’m the only one

  5. 9

    Anna said,

    OMG! 8 is bitchy to me too!! She’s also purple, although I usually don’t assign colors to numbers, 8 is always purple. I have this too. I assign genders to numbers, colors, letters and various objects. There’s a message board and site you should look at: http://www.mixsig.net Good info and more people like us! :)

  6. 11

    doona star said,

    I am 52 and have always thought of the numbers and letters having personalities, and being male or female…so weird. It was never abnormal for me to do so. # and 5 are definetly crabby numbers, while 2 and 4 are female and peacemakers….6 and 7 are pals, 9 is austere and stays a bit to himself. The letter C is crabby too….I also consider vehicles as male or female and think that if a car is involved in an accident the car knows this and feels this! (Its just metal I know, but cars have personalities too) Interesting to find this out that others have thought the way I have after all these years!

    • 12

      Yeah, the gender thing exists for me too!

      Thank you so much for sharing with me! It’s really interesting to read about others thoughts on different words and numbers!

  7. 13

    Shamash said,

    It’s so interesting reading your comments!
    I’m 22. Years ago I found out I have grapheme-color synesthesia, but just recently I found out that my personality giving is also a form of synesthesia. I don’t have a couple among the numbers, but D and N are together and R and S are in love, but don’t want to admit, the same as with wednesday and tuesday. L is a attractive rebel who travels a lot, C is a party animal and kind of insane. 8 and X are co-workers and best friends, 8 is the silly one, X rather serious, you don’t see him smile often. I could talk about all of them for hours.. But I don’t talk about this to friends, they would think of it either as weird and wild childish imagination, or making stuff up. Besides, for me it would be as talking about lemons being sour or the sky being blue.

  8. 14

    Shannon said,

    I just learned today about synesthesia and that I have the the OLP form. I always thought I was a ‘weirdo’ or at least a little too ‘creative’. All letters and number have a gender and at least some personality. (8 is a nice guy to me. 6 is a girl and 6 & 8 like each other but 7 -a girl- keeps them apart) What a relief to know that I’m not the only one. It feels like a gift now! I’ve always performed very well in English and reading comprehension, I remember numbers very easily and have a very sensitive sense of smell. I wonder if there is a correlation. Anyone else?
    Oh, days of the week have genders and personalities as well =)

  9. 15

    Allie said,

    I just found out I have this. No colors are associated, but I applied genders to each letter and number, and see the progression of numbers, days, weeks, months, and years in a certain order.

    But the left and right thing!! I felt the same way about my left side (somehow it was superior) and would even touch something with my left hand, that my right hand touched first.

    Until today, I didn’t know it was a “thing”. I just thought I was a weird kid who retained these visions and perceptions throughout my life.

  10. 16

    Mike J said,

    I can only echo what everyone’s said. Very fun seeing how other’s view things. Like most people, it was just a part of childhood, and I would make up stories about the alphabet and numbers interacting–but the interactions were always based on their pre-defined personality traits. The traits for a specific number or letter never changed.

    You can read more about OLP here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinal_linguistic_personification

    And I documented my own views here:
    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150535677900469

    Funny, I made a comment about how I envision time/the calendar year and then I read today that that can be part of it too! :)

  11. 17

    Kayla said,

    I do it too. & I just found out about OLP literally an hour ago, now I’m researching away. I can’t fathom the thought that there is an actual medical term for it. Like you said it is so normal for me that it’s hard to realize its actually abnormal. I tried to explain to my roommates about it & they were looking at me like I’m a crazy person so I decided to google it & found I’m not the only one!

    All my life I would see..
    1.Boy
    2.Girl
    3.Boy
    4.Girl
    5.Girl (Tomboy)
    6.Girl
    7.Boy
    8.Boy
    9.Girl
    10.Boy

  12. 18

    Perry Hunt said,

    I have this too!! OLP!! It’s so interesting to hear from other people who have the same thing! I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago that this is what is was called, but I knew I had synesthesia. My OLP is kind of faded now, but i remember it being very vivid when I was younger!!

    • 19

      Hahaha yes my OLP really faded off too, but the personalities I’ve attached to those words still lingers sometimes @_@ But I have stopped attaching personalities to other words now ~ Thanks for commenting!

      • 20

        nun said,

        This is a relieve, I always thought I had some type of mental problem lol… Well my numbers have personalities too
        Can you see them walking, or smiling..?. I see 5 blong hair, wearing high heels, she walks fas o get her purse I see the side of her face that’s it.
        What about your fingers?. I see my fingers with personalities. 4 boys n the mom maybe. She wears an apron. I see her walking fast from a kitchen to the table.

  13. 21

    Aleksander said,

    Wow, found out today…

    1-ordinary guy

    2-A little girl

    3- little girl and friend of 2

    4-Brother of 1, but not much age ddifference

    5-That mean kid from across the street

    6-Sister off 2, very caring

    7-douchebaaag

    8-Father/caring big brother of 1 and 4

    9-caring mother of 2 and 6

    0-powerfull guy, also my favorite number.

    Now I know I’m not an ordinary guy! Watching X-Men is gunna be awesome!


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