Phonetic iconicity

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 5337
Date: 2001-01-05

Here's some introductory reading for people interested in "sound symbolism". Of course the debate really began with Plato's "Cratylus", which can still be regarded as a stimulating contribution (and is also highly readable). The debate is between Hermogenes, who represents the opinion that the relation between linguistic form and meaning is purely symbolic (arbitrary, "conventional"), and Cratylus, whose view is that language is iconic (non-arbitrary, "natural").
Jakobson, Roman, & Linda R. Waugh. 1979. The Sound Shape of Language [esp. Ch. IV: "The Spell of Speech Sounds"]. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Jespersen, Otto. 1964 (1st ed. 1922). Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin [Ch. XX: "Sound Symbolism"]. London: Unwin.
Ultan, Russell. 1978. "Size-Sound Symbolism". In: Joseph Greenberg (ed.). Universals of Human Language. Vol. II: Phonology. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 525-568.
Wescott, Roger W. 1971. "Linguistic Iconism". Language 47: 416-428.
Wescott, Roger W. 1980. Sound and Sense: Linguistic Essays on Phonosemic Subjects. Lake bluff, IL: Jupiter Press.