The changing role of sound symbolism for small versus large vocabularies

Brand, James and Monaghan, Padraic and Walker, Peter (2018) The changing role of sound symbolism for small versus large vocabularies. Cognitive Science, 42 Sup (Suppl.). pp. 578-590. ISSN 0364-0213

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Natural language contains many examples of sound-symbolism, where the form of the word carries information about its meaning. Such systematicity is more prevalent in the words children acquire first, but arbitrariness dominates during later vocabulary development. Furthermore, systematicity appears to promote learning category distinctions, which may become more important as the vocabulary grows. In this study, we tested the relative costs and benefits of sound-symbolism for word learning as vocabulary size varies. Participants learned form meaning mappings for words which were either congruent or incongruent with regard to sound-symbolic relations. For the smaller vocabulary, sound-symbolism facilitated learning individual words, whereas for larger vocabularies sound-symbolism supported learning category distinctions. The changing properties of form-meaning mappings according to vocabulary size may reflect the different ways in which language is learned at different stages of development.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Cognitive Science
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Brand, J. , Monaghan, P. and Walker, P. (2018), The Changing Role of Sound‐Symbolism for Small Versus Large Vocabularies. Cogn Sci, 42: 578-590. doi:10.1111/cogs.12565 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? sound symbolismlanguage learningvocabulary developmentlanguage evolutionartificial intelligencehuman factors and ergonomicslinguistics and languagelanguage and linguisticscognitive neuroscienceexperimental and cognitive psychology ??
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Deposited On:
23 Oct 2017 12:20
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 17:17