Ninety-two Hebrew-speaking subjects judged the magnitude, brightness, and hardness symbolism of orthographic characters designating five vowel phonemes in Hindi and in Japanese. For both languages and all three symbolic dimensions, the figural symbolism of the orthographic characters was found to replicate very closely the sound symbolism of their phonemic referents. The ranking of the five vowel characters in order of increasing magnitude and decreasing brightness and hardness was as follows:i, e, a, u, o. The results were interpreted to suggest that sound patterns and visual patterns tend to carry cross-culturally consistent connotations, and that the symbolic implications of sounds have been embodied in the pattern of orthographic characters in natural languages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Psychology (all)