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  • Titill er á ensku Sound Effects: Investigating the Cross-Modal Mappings Between Sound and Meaning
  • Bakkalár
  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    Language is generally assumed to be a strictly arbitrary system with no linkage between linguistic form and meaning other than convention. However, a growing body of research into sound symbolism has challenged this assumption and demonstrated that people systematically map certain sounds with certain meanings. A well-known and widely attested example is the bouba/kiki effect, describing how subjects of varying age and nationality consistently choose the pseudoword bouba for a rounded shape and kiki for a spiky shape. Sound symbolism encompasses many such mappings, ranging from onomatopoeias to cross-modal relations between aspects of sounds and meaning. This paper provides an overview of the main types of sound symbolism and reviews pertinent experimental research on vowel-size correspondences and vowel-shape correspondences. Building on the theory that the articulatory feature of roundedness is the basis of vowel-roundness associations, this paper proposes a study to determine if there is a difference in sound-symbolic effects between individual rounded vowels. The study expands on the bouba/kiki paradigm and follows the experimental design of Ković, Plunkett and Westermann (2010), using a complicated label-object categorisation task to test the hypothesis that the pseudoword búba that has a tightly rounded vowel sound will produce a stronger roundness-association than the pseudoword boba, that has a less tightly rounded vowel sound. The prospective study is intended as a small step towards a growing understanding of the relationship between arbitrariness and sound symbolism in language.

  • 11.5.2017

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