ERIC Number: EJ850919
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Sound-Symbolism: A Piece in the Puzzle of Word Learning
Parault, Susan J.; Schwanenflugel, Paula J.
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v35 n4 p329-351 Jul 2006
Sound-symbolism is the idea that the relationship between word sounds and word meaning is not arbitrary for all words, but rather that there are subsets of words in the world's languages for which sounds and their symbols have some degree of correspondence. The present research investigates sound-symbolism as a possible route to the learning of an unknown word's meaning. Three studies compared the guesses that adult participants made regarding the potential meanings of sound-symbolic and non-sound symbolic obsolete words. In each study, participants were able to generate better definitions for sound-symbolic words when compared to non-sound symbolic words. Participants were also more likely to recognize the meanings of sound symbolic words. The superior performance on sound-symbolic words held even when definitions generated on the basis of sound association were eliminated. It is concluded that sound symbolism is a word property that influences word learning.
Descriptors: Semantics, Definitions, Literary Styles, Vocabulary Development, Auditory Stimuli, Adults, Comparative Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A