521-Class 20

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<sidebar>Psych521</sidebar>

Iconicity and Sound Symbolism[edit]

Readings: Perniss, Thompson, & Vigliocco (2010); Optional, but recommended: Lupyan & Casasanto (2014)

Perniss et al. (2010)

  • Why has iconicity/non-arbitrariness been ignored as much as it has by language researchers?
  • Be familiar with the various examples of non-arbitrariness in signed languages, spoken languages.
  • Make sure you understand that there is a difference between language showing non-arbitrariness and people being sensitive to such non-arbitrariness.
  • What evidence is discussed by Perniss et al. in support of the proposition that people are sensitive to the non-arbitrariness in language?
  • Reading the introduction of Lupyan & Casasanto may help to answer some of the questions above.


Take home points[edit]

  • Language is traditionally thought to be arbitrary, but closer examination reveals many examples of nonarbitrariness, e.g., types of iconicity: Onomatopoeia, expressives/mimetics/sound symbolism
  • We see this in all forms of language: signed, spoken, and written
  • Iconic mappings may be easier to learn, but perhaps are less generalizable.
  • What are the mechanisms? Where does iconicity/nonarbitrariness come from?

Both innate and learned crossmodal mappings

Analog world “bleeding through” into discrete, categorical language