From: Piotr Gasiorowski
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"].
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