Sound Symbolism


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Related to Sound Symbolism: onomatopoeia

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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KEYWORDS: sound symbolism, sound-meaning interplay, language learning, EFL, classroom experiments.
All the definitions of sound symbolism seem to coincide in the idea that it is the motivated relationship between the formal elements in a word and its meaning component.
A foundation for sound symbolism and cross-modal matching comes from the study of synesthesia.
Jespersen (1933) in his contribution to the search for the universality of sound symbolism found many confirming instances of the vowel [i] occurring in words carrying the meaning of "sm all, insignificant, weak and rapid" (Brown 1958: 118) in several Indo-European languages.
Such sound symbolism, according to some scholars, goes beyond the onomatopoeia of words like "bow wow" and reflects an intuitive attempt to capture in human speech the salient or essential traits, like size or shape, of at least certain objects.
If sound symbolism could lead to apparently significant relationships between actually unrelated languages it would presumably have to be a universal - the same meaning must tend to be associated with the same phonetic substance in every language.
In the wake of Sapir, Fonagy (1980: 89-109) developped the kinaesthetic basis for sound symbolism into the concept of phonetic metaphor, said to be speakers' symbolic projection of their intersensory image of sounds.
An international group of scholars of languages, literature, music, and other fields contributed papers on theoretical and applied novel approaches to iconicity on the aural, visual conceptual, and structural levels; the iconic properties of film and multimedia performance; and language, poetry, sound symbolism, concept formation, and multimedia performance.
The second type, wild language, refers to such phenomena as sound symbolism, aspects of child language, and lengthening of vowels for emphasis.
Visual aids are particularly effective in foregrounding elements of a lecture, and perhaps the most well remembered on LING 131 comes during the lecture on sound symbolism in poetry.