The Meaning of Syn Alia

serendipitous etimology

When I coined the phrase, Bridge and Target Training, based on the two main tools of marine mammal training as I knew it, in 1991, I never liked the name for this great communication system. Naming a dynamic system of communication after two tools, is kind of like naming a great cooking tradition “knife and fork eating”.

When I came to the point that I wanted a name for my training system – a name to encompass the trainers, the tools, the materials – I decided to really give the matter some thought. The name needed to have deep meaning for me, as its meaning for others would be determined by the experience they had with me and my teaching. In other words, I did not want a name that brought immediate recognition, like “Cover Animal Training Enterprises”, I wanted a name that reminded me, each and every time that I saw it, of what the essence of my activities was to be. If none others knew what the meaning was, no problem. I needed to to know.

After about 3 months of studying and contemplating words, and endless scribbling and mumbling, I decided on Syn Alia – a hybridized word stemming from SYNergistic ALlAnces. The term evoked the certainty that humans and animals in teams are stronger together than the sum of all their members, solo. My activities were to be aimed toward developing humans and animals and their ability to form highly effective, synergistic teams.

So, imagine my surprise when, as I was walking down a street in Annapolis, Maryland (wearing one of my tee shirts with my logo and name on it), a woman stopped me, saying, that “That’s my name! Do you know what it means?” She meant is that her name is Alia. Alia means “pilgrim” and “homecomer” in Hebrew, and “the one that reaches the highest place” and “the brightest light” in Arabic.

Later, I found that in Latin, Syn Alia means:

“Going a different way, together.”

I think that about says it all.

I hope that in your sharing of the origin and meaning of the name, “Syn Alia”, you will also share the vision that fuels it.