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The role of sound symbolism in language learning.

Monaghan, Padraic and Mattock, Karen and Walker, Peter (2012) The role of sound symbolism in language learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38 (5). pp. 1152-1164. ISSN 0278-7393

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Certain correspondences between the sound and meaning of words can be observed in subsets of the vocabulary. These sound-symbolic relationships have been suggested to result in easier language acquisition, but previous studies have explicitly tested effects of sound symbolism on learning category distinctions but not on word learning. In 2 word learning experiments, we varied the extent to which phonological properties related to a rounded–angular shape distinction and we distinguished learning of categories from learning of individual words. We found that sound symbolism resulted in an advantage for learning categories of sound-shape mappings but did not assist in learning individual word meanings. These results are consistent with the limited presence of sound symbolism in natural language. The results also provide a reinterpretation of the role of sound symbolism in language learning and language origins and a greater specification of the conditions under which sound symbolism proves advantageous for learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 54131
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 15 May 2012 14:48
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2015 17:22
Identification Number:

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