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Color Sound Symbolism in Natural Languages

Johansson, Niklas LU ; Anikin, Andrey LU and Aseyev, Nikolay (2019) In Language and Cognition
Abstract
This paper investigates the underlying cognitive processes of sound–color associations by connecting perceptual evidence from research on cross-modal correspondences to sound symbolic patterns in the words for colors in natural languages. Building upon earlier perceptual experiments, we hypothesized that sonorous and bright phonemes would be over-represented in the words for bright and saturated colors. This hypothesis was tested on eleven color words and related concepts (red–green, yellow–blue, black–white, gray, night–day, dark–light) from 245 language families. Textual data was transcribed into the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and each phoneme was described acoustically using high-quality IPA recordings. These acoustic... (More)
This paper investigates the underlying cognitive processes of sound–color associations by connecting perceptual evidence from research on cross-modal correspondences to sound symbolic patterns in the words for colors in natural languages. Building upon earlier perceptual experiments, we hypothesized that sonorous and bright phonemes would be over-represented in the words for bright and saturated colors. This hypothesis was tested on eleven color words and related concepts (red–green, yellow–blue, black–white, gray, night–day, dark–light) from 245 language families. Textual data was transcribed into the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and each phoneme was described acoustically using high-quality IPA recordings. These acoustic measurements were then correlated with the luminance and saturation of each color obtained from cross-linguistic color-naming data in the World Color Survey. As expected, vowels with high brightness and sonority ratings were over-represented in the words for colors with high luminance, while sonorous consonants were more common in the words for saturated colors. We discuss these results in relation to lexicalization patterns and the links between iconicity and perceptual cross-modal associations. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Language and Cognition
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85074164232
ISSN
1866-9859
DOI
10.1017/langcog.2019.35
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
278f788c-bd8a-4d2c-8f3d-968bb5effaed
date added to LUP
2019-10-10 13:30:31
date last changed
2019-11-13 05:41:40
@article{278f788c-bd8a-4d2c-8f3d-968bb5effaed,
  abstract     = {This paper investigates the underlying cognitive processes of sound–color associations by connecting perceptual evidence from research on cross-modal correspondences to sound symbolic patterns in the words for colors in natural languages. Building upon earlier perceptual experiments, we hypothesized that sonorous and bright phonemes would be over-represented in the words for bright and saturated colors. This hypothesis was tested on eleven color words and related concepts (red–green, yellow–blue, black–white, gray, night–day, dark–light) from 245 language families. Textual data was transcribed into the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and each phoneme was described acoustically using high-quality IPA recordings. These acoustic measurements were then correlated with the luminance and saturation of each color obtained from cross-linguistic color-naming data in the World Color Survey. As expected, vowels with high brightness and sonority ratings were over-represented in the words for colors with high luminance, while sonorous consonants were more common in the words for saturated colors. We discuss these results in relation to lexicalization patterns and the links between iconicity and perceptual cross-modal associations.},
  author       = {Johansson, Niklas and Anikin, Andrey and Aseyev, Nikolay},
  issn         = {1866-9859},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Language and Cognition},
  title        = {Color Sound Symbolism in Natural Languages},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/langcog.2019.35},
  doi          = {10.1017/langcog.2019.35},
  year         = {2019},
}