Sound Symbolism

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Sound Symbolism

 

a conditional interrelationship between the sound of a word and its emotional coloring. Sound symbolism is used in poetic speech; for example, the sound of l is “appropriate” for designating something soft, tender, and poetic (for example, K. Bal’mont’s use of sound symbolism with l:S lodki skol’znulo veslo, “The oar slipped from the boat”).

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Pejoration is extremely common, especially in monosyllables; and dimensionality of one sort or another is equally normal in phonosemantic terms.
This is the perfect phonosemantic interpretation for this word, and its perfection continues to delight me; to use Sapir's stirring phrases, it's an example of the high quality of the "mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations" that fashion language, "the most massive and inclusive art we know" (235).
That leaves only those 34 vigesimal rimes that I do not consider to have any significant phonosemantic coherence.
"On the Phonosemantic Coherence of English Times." Annual Meeting of the Michigan Linguistic Society.
For those assonances that display phonosemantic coherence, (10) the coherence rate is on the order of 70%; that is, if a given assonance is associated with some meanings, around 70% of the English simplex words beginning with that assonance will show the meanings.
A recent study (Lawler "Phonosemantic Coherence") of the 96 rimes with more than 20 occurrences in English (which account for about 54% of English simplex words) showed that, though some, like -emp, -enk, -eb, -ink, -ip, -cl, -ap, -aeg, and -aef, are around 70% coherent, most are much lower (around 47% on average for rimes displaying coherence), and many are not coherent at all, yielding an overall coherence rate of only 30% (including 37 non-coherent rimes).
Since the origins of poetry, in fact--this kind of phonosemantic coherence is one of the important semiotic facts that make poetry possible in the first place.
Metaphor themes are frequently radial classes, and embodied images are also common in phonosemantic classes.
(6) See Rhodes and Lawler, McCune, Lawler ("Women"), Rhodes, Hoover, Lawler ("Phonosemantic Coherence"), and the online Simplex Words Database.