The Study of Sound Symbolism Based on Phonosemantic Association Experiment With the Vowels of the Ukrainian Language


  • T. V. Vlasova


Ключові слова:

phoneme, sound-letter, speech perception, onomatopoeia, synesthesia, psycholinguistics


The research deals with the relationship between sound symbolism and the theory of natural origin of the language.There is a certainassociation between particular sound sequences and different meanings in speech. But such a definition of sound-meaningdoes not explain fully the properties of wordsnot only to represent some meaning but also deal with perception caused by different sounds. It is important to demonstrate this mechanism in theory and practiceto examine correspondence between sounds and the meanings the sounds are associated with. Scholars have studied onomatopoeiaand inner meaning of words in different languages since ancient time. Most of their lexical-semantic explorations are devoted to the correlation between sounding and meaning of short onomatopoeic words on the basis of the statistical review. Chronology of the sound semantic explorations in linguistics, philosophy and psychologyis analyzed in the article with a detailed description of experimental studies. The scientific methods used to study associations arising between the proposed colors and Ukrainian sound-letters are as follows: psycholinguistic, mathematical, descriptive, inductive and method of semantic differential. The analysis of the data received finds out the presence of a sound symbolic component in all the vowels of the Ukrainian language and the correspondence of a certain color to each examined sound-letter. The term ‘sound-letter’ is first used in psycholinguistics and is determined as a unit of speech, realized in a text which forms the speaker’s certain mental image. The conclusions made on the basis of this research confirm the interconnection betweensounding, speech perception, general perception, and the speaker’s individual comprehension. Further study is needed to justify sound symbolism of vowels in different positions of short words, through series of practical experiments with a larger number of speakers.


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