It was theorized that phonemes and meaning may
be related in a manner that is not arbitrary. Japanese reduplicative onomatopoeia and metaphoric onomatopoeia were used for an investigation of the functioning of the phoneme as a minimal meaningful unit in language. The reduplicative words were broken down into groups according to what phonemes and CV sequences they contained and checked for recurring meaning attributes within those groups. It became apparent that there are sound-meaning correspondences and that there is a relation between the signification of a sound and its articulation. The findings point toward possible universals in phonetic symbolism.
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