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Title: Phonetic symbolism for size, shape, and motion
Author: Thompson, Patrick Douglas
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines phonetic symbolism, the meaningful use of individual speech sounds to convey and infer size, shape, and motion. Chapter 1 presents a summary of the literature. Though there is evidence suggesting that phonetic symbolism exists and is pervasive, the literature presents several research opportunities. In nine experiments and one pre-test (total N = 357 participants), we use graded stimuli throughout, which is uncommon in the previous research. This use of non-dichotomous stimuli allows for the hypotheses that have arisen from a gestural model of language evolution and the Frequency Code to be more fully investigated. In the first set of experiments (Chapter 2), we demonstrate that phonetic marking for size is graded, i.e., it does not mark just very large and very small objects. In Chapter 3, the focus is on marking for size and shape, and their possible interactions. We show that marking for size and for shape are not as in line with each other as previous works might suggest. Marking for movement is the topic of Chapter 4, which includes moving stimuli, not just implied motion. We find that trait permanence is at play with the naming for motion tasks, with marking only occurring when naming the motion itself. Finally, a concluding chapter summarizes and further expounds on the results of the thesis, and how those results relate to the hypotheses suggested by gestural models and frequency code. The conclusion also includes a section of current and future research directions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; P Philology. Linguistics