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We tested the hypothesis that phonosemantic iconicity--i.e., a motivated resonance of sound and meaning--might not only be found on the level of individual words or entire texts, but also in word combinations such that the meaning of a target word is iconically expressed, or highlighted, in the phonetic properties of its immediate verbal context. To this end, we extracted single lines from German poems that all include a word designating high or low dominance, such as large or small, strong or weak, etc. Based on insights from previous studies, we expected to find more vowels with a relatively short distance between the first two formants (low formant dispersion) in the immediate context of words expressing high physical or social dominance than in the context of words expressing low dominance. Our findings support this hypothesis, suggesting that neighboring words can form iconic dyads in which the meaning of one word is sound-iconically reflected in the phonetic properties of adjacent words. The construct of a contiguity-based phono-semantic iconicity opens many venues for future research well beyond lines extracted from poems.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
Empirically-observed word frequency effects in regular sound change present a puzzle: how can high-frequency words change faster than low-frequency words in some cases, slower in other cases, and at t...
Recent advances in the literature have focused on sketching phonosemantic mappings of imitative or iconic utterances by relying on vowels and consonants, leaving the suprasegmental information unexplo...
Contiguity is one of the major predictors of recall dynamics in human episodic memory. But there are many competing theories of how the memory system gives rise to contiguity. Here we provide a set of...
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A reference book containing a list of words - usually in alphabetical order - giving information about form, pronunciation, etymology, grammar, and meaning. A foreign-language dictionary is an alphabetical list of words of one language with their meaning and equivalents in another language.
A test to determine the lowest sound intensity level at which fifty percent or more of the spondaic test words (words of two syllables having equal stress) are repeated correctly.
Lists of words, usually in alphabetical order, giving information about form, pronunciation, etymology, grammar, and meaning.
Lists of words to which individuals are asked to respond ascertaining the conceptual meaning held by the individual.
A receptive visual aphasia characterized by the loss of a previously possessed ability to comprehend the meaning or significance of handwritten words, despite intact vision. This condition may be associated with posterior cerebral artery infarction (INFARCTION, POSTERIOR CEREBRAL ARTERY) and other BRAIN DISEASES.