Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Cogn Sci
Impact Factor: 2.218

Sound symbolism: the role of word sound in meaning

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

The question whether there is a natural connection between sound and meaning or if they are related only by convention has been debated since antiquity. In linguistics, it is usually taken for granted that ‘the linguistic sign is arbitrary,’ and exceptions like onomatopoeia have been regarded as marginal phenomena. However, it is becoming more and more clear that motivated relations between sound and meaning are more common and important than has been thought. There is now a large and rapidly growing literature on subjects as ideophones (or expressives), words that describe how a speaker perceives a situation with the senses, and phonaesthemes, units like English gl‐, which occur in many words that share a meaning component (in this case ‘light’: gleam, glitter, etc.). Furthermore, psychological experiments have shown that sound symbolism in one language can be understood by speakers of other languages, suggesting that some kinds of sound symbolism are universal. WIREs Cogn Sci 2017, 8:e1441. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1441

Kammu vowel formants and the size scale for ideophones. To conform with the usual vowel charts, the first formant (F1) is plotted on the y‐axis and the second formant (F2) on the x‐axis.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Browse by Topic

Linguistics > Language in Mind and Brain
Linguistics > Linguistic Theory

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts