Phonosemantic biases found in Leipzig-Jakarta lists of 66 languages

Ian Joo
2019 Linguistic Typology  
Based on the vocabulary of 66 genealogically distinct languages, this study reveals the biased association between phonological features and the 100 lexical meanings of the Leipzig-Jakarta List. Morphemes whose meanings are related to round shapes ('egg', 'navel', 'neck', and 'knee') tend to contain phonemes that bear the [+round] feature. Also observable is the positive association between buccal actions and the phonological features they resemble ('to blow' with [+labial] and 'to suck' with
more » ... nd 'to suck' with [+delayed release]). Grammatical morphemes related to proximity ('this', 'in', 1sg and 2sg pronoun) are positively associated with [+nasal]. The phonosemantic patterns found in the most basic vocabulary of spoken languages further confirm that the sound-meaning association in natural languages is not completely arbitrary but may be motivated by human cognitive biases.
doi:10.1515/lingty-2019-0030 fatcat:axe4jar6vbecpneolsmyjvayyu