Schmidtke, David S.; Conrad, Markus; Jacobs, Arthur M.
Year of publication:
The arbitrariness of the linguistic sign is a fundamental assumption in modern
linguistic theory. In recent years, however, a growing amount of research has
investigated the nature of non-arbitrary relations between linguistic sounds
and semantics. This review aims at illustrating the amount of findings
obtained so far and to organize and evaluate different lines of research
dedicated to the issue of phonological iconicity. In particular, we summarize
findings on the processing of onomatopoetic expressions, ideophones, and
phonaesthemes, relations between syntactic classes and phonology, as well as
sound-shape and sound-affect correspondences at the level of phonemic
contrasts. Many of these findings have been obtained across a range of
different languages suggesting an internal relation between sublexical units
and attributes as a potentially universal pattern.