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Title: Japanese sound-symbolic words for representing the hardness of an object are judged similarly by Japanese and English speakers
Authors: Wong, Li Shan
Kwon, Jinhwan
Zheng, Zane
Styles, Suzy J.
Sakamoto, Maki
Kitada, Ryo
Keywords: Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Wong, L. S., Kwon, J., Zheng, Z., Styles, S. J., Sakamoto, M. & Kitada, R. (2022). Japanese sound-symbolic words for representing the hardness of an object are judged similarly by Japanese and English speakers. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 830306-.
Project: 04INS000116C430 
Journal: Frontiers in Psychology 
Abstract: Contrary to the assumption of arbitrariness in modern linguistics, sound symbolism, which is the non-arbitrary relationship between sounds and meanings, exists. Sound symbolism, including the "Bouba-Kiki" effect, implies the universality of such relationships; individuals from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds can similarly relate sound-symbolic words to referents, although the extent of these similarities remains to be fully understood. Here, we examined if subjects from different countries could similarly infer the surface texture properties from words that sound-symbolically represent hardness in Japanese. We prepared Japanese sound-symbolic words of which novelty was manipulated by a genetic algorithm (GA). Japanese speakers in Japan and English speakers in both Singapore and the United States rated these words based on surface texture properties (hardness, warmness, and roughness), as well as familiarity. The results show that hardness-related words were rated as harder and rougher than softness-related words, regardless of novelty and countries. Multivariate analyses of the ratings classified the hardness-related words along the hardness-softness dimension at over 80% accuracy, regardless of country. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the number of speech sounds /g/ and /k/ predicted the ratings of the surface texture properties in non-Japanese countries, suggesting a systematic relationship between phonetic features of a word and perceptual quality represented by the word across culturally and linguistically diverse samples.
ISSN: 1664-1078
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.830306
Schools: School of Social Sciences 
Rights: © 2022 Wong, Kwon, Zheng, Styles, Sakamoto and Kitada. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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