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  • Vainio, Lari (2019)
    Mounting evidence shows interaction between manipulative hand movements and movements of tongue, lips and mouth in a vocal and non-vocal context. The current article reviews this evidence and discusses its contribution to perspectives of development and evolution of speech. In particular, the article aims to present novel insight on how processes controlling the two primary grasp components of manipulative hand movements, the precision and power grip, might be systematically connected to motor processes involved in producing certain articulatory gestures. This view assumes that due to these motor overlaps between grasping and articulation, development of these grip types in infancy can facilitate development of specific articulatory gestures. In addition, the hand-mouth connections might have even boosted the evolution of some articulatory gestures. This account also proposes that some semantic sound-symbolic pairings between a speech sound and a referent concept might be partially based on these hand-mouth interactions.
  • Vainio, Lari; Vainio, Martti (2021)
    Recent evidence has shown linkages between actions and segmental elements of speech. For instance, close-front vowels are sound symbolically associated with the precision grip, and front vowels are associated with forward-directed limb movements. The current review article presents a variety of such sound-action effects and proposes that they compose a category of sound symbolism that is based on grounding a conceptual knowledge of a referent in articulatory and manual action representations. In addition, the article proposes that even some widely known sound symbolism phenomena such as the sound-magnitude symbolism can be partially based on similar sensorimotor grounding. It is also discussed that meaning of suprasegmental speech elements in many instances is similarly grounded in body actions. Sound symbolism, prosody, and body gestures might originate from the same embodied mechanisms that enable a vivid and iconic expression of a meaning of a referent to the recipient.