Magnitude sound symbolism influences vowel production

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Segmental properties of speech can convey sound symbolic meaning. This study presents two novel sound meaning mappings using a choice reaction time paradigm in which participants have to select quickly one of the two vocal response alternatives based on predefined categories of perceptual magnitude. The first study showed that the short distance between perceived objects facilitates the initiation of the vowel [i] production, while long distance facilitates the production of [u] and [?]. Correspondingly, in the second study, vocal responses produced with [i] and [e] were initiated faster when the stimuli required short vocalizations, while responses produced with [u], [?] and [y] were faster when the stimuli required long vocalizations. Hence, similar sound-meaning mappings were observed concerning concepts of spatial and temporal length. This suggests that different sound-magnitude effects can be generalized to the common processing of conceptual magnitude. A conceptual magnitude seems to be implicitly and systematically associated with an articulatory response of a specific vowel. The study also suggests that in addition to the vowel openness and backness, the vowel roundness can also associate particular vowels with large magnitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104213
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology
  • 6162 Cognitive science
  • 6161 Phonetics

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