Browsing by Subject "sound symbolism"

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  • Vainio, Lari; Tiainen, Mikko; Tiippana, Kaisa; Rantala, Aleksi; Vainio, Martti (2017)
    The shape and size-related sound symbolism phenomena assume that, for example, the vowel [i] and the consonant [t] are associated with sharp-shaped and small-sized objects, whereas [E] and [m] are associated with round and large objects. It has been proposed that these phenomena are mostly based on the involvement of articulatory processes in representing shape and size properties of objects. For example, [i] might be associated with sharp and small objects, because it is produced by a specific front-close shape of articulators. Nevertheless, very little work has examined whether these object properties indeed have impact on speech sound vocalization. In the present study, the participants were presented with a sharp- or round-shaped object in a small or large size. They were required to pronounce one out of two meaningless speech units (e.g., [i] or [E]) according to the size or shape of the object. We investigated how a task-irrelevant object property (e.g., the shape when responses are made according to size) influences reaction times, accuracy, intensity, fundamental frequency, and formant 1 and formant 2 of vocalizations. The size did not influence vocal responses but shape did. Specifically, the vowel [i] and consonant [t] were vocalized relatively rapidly when the object was sharp-shaped, whereas [u] and [m] were vocalized relatively rapidly when the object was round-shaped. The study supports the view that the shape-related sound symbolism phenomena might reflect mapping of the perceived shape with the corresponding articulatory gestures.
  • 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.