Introduction
Literature Review
Theoretical Preliminaries
Theory and Review
Endnotes


Experiment 1
Experiment 2
Experiment 3
Experiment 4
Experiment 5
Experiment 6
Experiment 7
Experiment 8
Experiment 9
Experiment 10
Experiment 11
Experiment 12
Experiment 13
Experiment 14


4. Phonosemantic Experiments

4.1 Experiment 1 -- Classification First by Phoneme Sequence and then by Semantic Domain

See Appendix I for full data and results.

4.1.1 Methodology

· All the monosyllables familiar to me were extracted from Houghton Mifflin's American Heritage Dictionary.

· These words were divided into 24 classes based on the consonantal phonemes that they were composed of. The consonants in my dialect of American English are /b/, /d/, /g/, /p/, /t/, /k/, /v/, /D/ (as in bathe), /z/, /Z/ (as in beige), /f/, /T/ (as in bath), /s/, /S/ (as in wash), /h/, /J/ (as in jump), /C/ (as in cheese), /m/, /n/, /G/ (as in hang), /r/, /l/, /w/, /j/. (Nonstandard (non-IPA) symbols are employed due to technical limitations.)

· An attempt was made to find a Phonosemantic Classification for each of these subclasses.

· The words within each of these resulting phonesthemes were then subdivided again according to position in the syllable. The following positions were identified:

1. initial position.
2. second position
3. third position
F1. pre-pre-final position
F2. pre-final position
F3. final position

· 114 of the 3485 monosyllables (or 3%) did not fall easily into a Phonosemantic Classification. These were placed in a different Natural Classification. All of these exceptional words fell into one of the following natural semantic classes. I will refer to these as the Concrete Noun classes:

Concrete Noun Classes (Nouns with Rigid Referential Domains)
people, titles, body parts, clothing, cloth, periods of time, games, animals, plants, plant parts, food, minerals, containers, vehicles, buildings, rooms, furniture, tools, weapons, musical instruments, colors, symbols, units of measurement.

Notice that very few people disagree on what constitute the referents for a word in one of these classes. That is, people largely agree on which trees are oaks, which tools are hammers, which rooms are kitchens and so forth. This is not as true of other semantic domains. (In addition to being less ambiguous and more impervious to Clustering than other semantic domains, the Concrete Noun classes seem to be more nearly universal cross-linguistically than other semantic domains.)


4.1.2 Example

I endeavored to make the lists in Appendix I exhaustive.

The format of the output is as follows:

Classification Type (Phonesthemes or Concrete Nouns)

Relevant Phoneme

 

Superclass # Superclass Descriptor # words in SC, % -- words in SC/all words containing RPh
Phonestheme # Phonestheme Descriptor Position Indicator
Word List words in phonestheme, % -- words in phonestheme/all words in this superclass

_________________________

A sample entry:

A1. Consonantal Phonesthemes

/r/

A1 Walk, Run and Ride 133 13.3%
______________________________________
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) 1
race, raid, range, reach, rip, roam,
romp, rove, run, rush
10 7%
______________________________________
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) 2
break, crawl, creep, cross, cruise, drag, drift,
drop(by), frisk, prance, press, prowl, thread,
trace, track, trail, tramp, tread, trek, tromp,
troop, trot, trudge
23 6%
______________________________________
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) 3
scram, scream, spread, spring, sprint, stray,
streak, stream, stride, strike, stroll, strut
12 15%
______________________________________
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) F2
barge, charge, course, curve, dart, ford, forge,
fork, forth, hurl, march, part, storm, swarm,
swerve, warp
16 6%
______________________________________
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) F3
fare, near, scour, tear
4 3%
______________________________________

Explanation:

· The A1. Consonantal Phonesthemes indicates that this is the section of phonesthemically classified words

· /r/ is the relevant phoneme in this case
· A1 is the superclass number
· Walk, Run and Ride is the superclass designator
· 133 is the total number of unique words in this superclass
· 13.3% is the percentage of words in this superclass as compared to the total number of monosyllabic words containing /r/. That is, there are 1003 monosyllabic words in my vocabulary which contain /r/ and 133= .133*1003.
· 1. is the phonestheme number
· Walk, Run (No Vehicle) is the phonestheme designator
· 1, 2, 3, F2, F3 refer to the relevant phoneme's position within the syllable

· In the first phonestheme: 'race, raid, range, reach, rip, roam, romp, rove, run, rush' is, I believe, the list of all monosyllables with /r/ in initial position and which have at least one sense which refers to non-vehicular motion with a human agent.

· 11 is the number of words in the first class

· 7% is the percentage of words in the phonestheme as compared to all the monosyllables starting with /r/. There are 140 such monosyllables.


4.1.3 Discussion of Findings

4.1.3.1 Overview

The most important result of this experiment is, of course, that the phonology of a word affects its meaning. Furthermore, it has a much more specific effect on meaning than is generally supposed.

Much of my effort over the last years has been directed at trying to find a Phonosemantic Classificational system for each consonant for which the classes were as clear and indisputable and as obviously interrelated as possible. I do this in an effort to make the fundamental meaning underlying each phoneme very accessible, and of course in an effort to make the phonosemantic data as incontestable as I can. I have devoted myself primarily to English in part, of course, because English is my native tongue. But I also use English because there is a very common attitude -- even among those who accept linguistic iconism -- that it's not productive and therefore occurs only in obscure vocabularies of obscure languages that have undergone relatively little change over time. My findings show that iconism runs throughout the most basic vocabulary of at least one language in very broad usage... a language that has been as overwhelmed as any by foreign influences and radical and sudden diachronic changes.

This experiment provides evidence for criteria 1-6 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which as the reader will recall, constitute the criteria required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis -- that all phonemes have an identifiable meaning:

Criterion 1. Very nearly every word with the given phonological characterization fits in some semantic class.
Criterion 2. Each semantic class contains a large percentage of the words which match that phonological characterization.
Criterion 3. There are relatively few semantic classes in the classification.
Criterion 4. The semantic classes in the classification are distinct
Criterion 5. Each word fits into an average of a fairly large number of classes.
Criterion 6. The semantic classes are narrowly defined. By a 'narrowly defined' semantic class, I mean one which encompasses a small percentage of words in the language as a whole.

In addition it provides strong evidence for the basic claim regarding the relationship between concrete reference and iconic meaning

The Arbitrariness of Reference
The salience of iconic meaning in a word is related inversely to the concreteness of its reference.

It provides only indirect evidence for general character of Phonosemantic Association and of Iconism:

Phonosemantic Association
When semantic domain S is associated disproportionately frequently with phoneme X, then people will be inclined to associate semantic domain S with phoneme X productively.

Iconism
The connotation of a word is affected directly by its phonological form.

In addition, this experiment:

1. provides a general idea of the semantic domains to which each phoneme is restricted and the percentages of words that fit into these semantic domains.
2. allows us to observe indirectly the effect that phoneme position has on the semantics of the word.

Appendix I sums up data compiled and analyzed over many years. Naturally, in the course of a project of such large scope, one makes many more specific observations than can be written down. Only the fundamental results are summarized here. In my more detailed discussion of this first test, I will limit myself to the following topics:

1. I will outline the major phonesthemes provided in Section A1 to give the reader an indication of the semantic domains associated with each of the English consonants. (4.1.3.2)
2. I will discuss the mechanism whereby concrete reference obscures the manifestation of phoneme meaning. (4.1.3.3)
3. I will discuss the nature of the 'senses' of the word and give a brief overview of the structure of word semantics suggested to me by the phonosemantic data. (4.1.3.4)
4. I will discuss how the position that a given consonant occupies within the syllable affects the semantics of the word. (4.1.3.5)
 


4.1.3.2 Semantic Domains of the Consonants

This Phonosemantic Classification shows that words containing each of the consonantal phonemes fall within the semantic domains listed below in the quantities and percentages indicated. I am not hereby suggesting that this is the 'right' phonesthemic classification. This data only provides one profile of the semantic domains to which each of the English consonants are constrained. If word-meanings were insensitive to phonological form, we would anticipate that these profiles would all be the same. But they are not. And though this remains to be proved, in the course of formulating these phonesthemes, it becomes obvious that it is impossible to make them the same.

Notice that the semantic characterizations of the consonants seem to resemble the articulation of the consonants themselves. For example, to pronounce /b/, one creates a barrier by closing together the lips; one builds up pressure behind the lips causing the cheeks to bulge slightly; and one releases the barrier to produce a sort of explosion. I think it's not coincidental that 14% of words containing /b/ can be described as barriers and interferences, 6% involve binding, 11% concern bulging and 6% exploding. /b/ is one of the most 'high pressure' or subjectively 'big' consonants. Neither /d/, /g/ nor /p/, /t/, /k/ among the stops seems to involve as much air under pressure. And /b/ also involves disproportionately many words of bigness, money and large quantities. This similarity between a phoneme's articulation and its semantic characterization as formed by Clustering is indirect evidence for True Iconism, i.e. that there is a direct, unmediated effect of form on semantic content in a word.

The percentages do not add up to 100%, of course, because for each consonant, each word fits on average in several phonesthemes. These profiles are compiled for all English consonants in all the positions in the word:

A1. Consonantal Phonesthemes

/b/

A1 Bulging, Brushy 64 11.4%
A2 Big, Much, Many 109 19.4%
B1 Barriers, Interference 76 13.5%
C1 Emptiness 35 6.2%
D1 Binding, Contact, Connection 33 5.9%
E1 Foundations, Carrying and Balance 50 8.9%
F1 Explosion, Blowing and Breaking 35 6.2%
F2 Departure 19 3.4%
F3 Hitting, Battling, Games 50 8.9%
F4 Bizarre and Chaotic 8 1.4%
G1 Noises and Music 36 6.4%
G2 Effusive Language and Writing 74 13.2%
G3 Bother and Bargain 19 3.4%
H1 Birth and Beginnings 45 8.0%
I1 Badness 31 5.5%
I2 Pain 43 7.7%
I3 Error 22 3.9%
J1 Water 68 12.1%
J2 Alcohol 16 2.9%
J3 Boats 27 4.8%
K1 Fire, Light 18 3.2%
K2 Saturated Color 20 3.6%
L1 Boards and Bricks 18 3.2%

/d/

A1 End, Death, Sleep, Drug 50 10.4%
A2 Diminishment, Smallness 83 17.3%
A3 Breadth, Dragging On 41 8.5%
A4 Scarcity, Danger 60 12.5%
A5 Confusion, Discord and Barriers 69 14.4%
A6 Dark, Dirty and Dreary 97 20.2%
B1 Divisions, Groups, Amounts 130 27.1%
C1 Execution of Pending Process 91 19.0%
C2 Motion 31 6.5%
D1 Down 154 32.1%
E1 Good, Dear 33 6.9%
F1 Water 62 12.9%
G1 Light and Color 11 2.3%

/g/

A1 The Gullet 27 7.2%
B1 Sound and Talk 33 8.8%
B2 Voice 14 3.7%
C1 Containers and Valleys 49 13.0%
C2 Quantity 50 13.3%
D1 Getting, Holding and Greed 77 20.4%
D2 Blockage 38 10.1%
E1 Giving 6 1.6%
E2 Going 55 14.6%
E3 Growing 26 6.9%
F1 Goodness 15 4.0%
G1 Light (Generally Indirect) 18 4.8%
H1 Understanding 23 6.1%
I1 Grids and Grains 12 3.2%
J1 Death and Gloom 30 8.0%
K1 Too Much Where It Doesn't Belong 112 29.7%
K2 Not Enough Where It's Needed 106 28.1%
L1 Hidden Source or Goal 117 31.0%

/p/

A1 Prongs, Peaks, Points 105 15.8%
B1 Puffy and Plane 84 12.6%
C1 Containers and Enclosed Areas 74 11.1%
D1 Parts and Pictures 91 13.7%
E1 Groups, Units, Levels, Size 94 14.1%
F1 Picking, Pulling 107 16.1%
G1 Patrolling 20 3.0%
H1 Pamper, Pester, Prepare 88 13.2%
I1 Pouring, Putting, Pushing and Punching 183 27.5%
J1 Stepping and Paths 48 7.2%
K1 Endings, The Past 22 3.3%
L1 Talk 72 10.8%
M1 The Problem 62 9.3%
N1 Heat 2 0.3%

/t/

A1 Travel 125 15.0%
A2 Cast, Blow, Flow 60 7.2%
A3 Sprout, Bloat 19 2.3%
A4 Coat, Cover 11 1.3%
B1 Time and Counting 65 7.8%
C1 Fast, Bright, Lively 75 9.0%
D1 Up, Down, Around 77 9.3%
E1 Trying, Tending, Tiring 82 9.9%
E2 Trickery, Error, Nervousness 96 11.5%
F1 Teach, Tame 54 6.5%
F2 Language, Sound 60 7.2%
G1 Traits, Timbres, Tastes 42 5.0%
H1 Touch and Take 214 25.7%
H2 Tie, Tight, Still 130 15.6%
I1 Tips and Tops 146 17.5%
J1 Groups, Area 71 8.5%
K1 Tininess, Ending 148 17.8%
L1 Unpleasantness 55 6.6%

/k/

A1 Containers, Closure and Crevasses 167 20.2%
A2 Corners and Crinkles 105 12.7%
A3 Closeness, Catching, Collecting and Contact 243 29.3%
B1 Carrying, Crawling 64 7.7%
C1 Cutting, Ending, Weakness 141 17.0%
C2 Cruelty, Ache and Irritation 104 12.6%
D1 Kings and Commoners 33 4.0%
D2 Care, Control 66 8.0%
D3 Clumsy, Queer 74 8.9%
E1 Speaking and Throaty Sounds 31 3.7%
E2 Knowledge 67 8.1%

/v/

A1 Containers, Narrow Opening 29 20.0%
B1 Carving 5 3.4%
C1 Vying, Evil 20 13.8%
D1 Veering 7 4.8%
E1 Solving and Serving 8 5.5%
F1 Energy 27 18.6%
G1 Have and Empty 32 22.1%

/H/

A1 Function Words, Definite, Distant 18 56.3%
B1 Coming Close Up Against 7 21.9%
C1 Smooth and Flexible 4 12.5%
D1 Loathe and Soothe 7 21.9%
E1 Causatives 4 12.5%

/z/

A1 Grammatical Function 20 17.1%
A2 Ways and Means 5 4.3%
B1 Energy 19 16.2%
B2 Vibration 27 23.1%
C1 Pause, Fuse 38 32.5%
D1 Altered Consciousness, Smarts 22 18.8%
E1 Ease and Irritation 19 16.2%

/Z/

A1 Highfalutin 2 100%

/f/

A1 Full and Fuzzy 63 15.6%
A2 Fizz, Fountain 20 5.0%
A3 Narrow Opening, Limitation 107 26.6%
A4 Foundations, Fuel 19 4.7%
B1 Weakness, Failure 53 13.2%
B2 Falling, Floating 28 6.9%
B3 Flight 20 5.0%
B4 Freedom, Fate 15 3.7%
C1 Face, Deceive 46 11.4%
D1 Fight and Fuss 52 12.9%
E1 Flap, Flick 29 7.2%
F1 Fire 14 3.5%
G1 Fun, Fine, Fast, Fable 46 11.4%
H1 Family, Sex 22 5.5%

/T/

A1 Theme 3 3.2%
B1 Through 14 14.9%
C1 Thick, Thin, With 28 29.8%
C2 Viscous, Frothy 5 5.3%
D1 Thrust, Thud 9 9.6%
E1 Thrill 7 7.4%
F1 Thrive 23 24.5%
G1 Heat, Thirst 5 5.3%
H1 Earth 6 6.4%
H1 Theme 6 6.4%
I1 Three 3 3.2%

/s/

A1 Smooth Movement 100 9.2%
A2 Walk 40 3.7%
A3 Sink 40 3.7%
A4 Smooth and Fast 37 3.4%
B1 Long 90 8.3%
B2 Circular 33 3.0%
B3 Small 50 4.6%
B4 Spread 39 3.6%
B5 Secrete 43 4.0%
C1 Source, Start 86 7.9%
C2 Stop, Stash 254 23.4%
C3 Seize, Seduce, Mix 81 7.5%
D1 Seek, See 56 5.2%
D2 Swallow 27 2.5%
E1 Struggle, Strike 103 9.5%
E2 Sever 65 6.0%
E3 Scrub 21 1.9%
F1 Strong, Spirited 102 9.4%
G1 Serve, Support 103 9.5%
H1 Several, Series, Size 151 13.9%
H2 Single, Symbol 40 3.7%
H3 Uncountably Many 41 3.8%
H4 Sex 20 1.8%
I1 Surface 85 7.8%
J1 Heat, Light and Fire 50 4.6%
K1 Nose 17 1.6%
L1 Money -- Spend, Save, Steal 75 6.9%
M1 Speak, Seduce 92 8.5%
N1 Soul, Spirit 112 10.3%
O1 Dirt, Spoilage, Sorrow, Sickness, Evil 239 22.0%

/S/

A1 Shake and Shatter 45 23.2%
B1 Shout 15 7.7%
C1 Sheet 27 13.9%
D1 Gush, Brash, Lush 20 10.3%
E1 Shelter 38 19.6%
E2 Shake Off 24 12.4%
F1 Shallow 36 18.6%
G1 Should 24 12.4%

/h/

A1 Have, Hold, Home 62 23.1%
A2 Halt 50 18.7%
A3 Hunger 19 7.1%
A4 Haste 21 7.8%
A5 Hosts, Heavy 15 5.6%
B1 Help and Hear 20 7.5%
C1 Center, Half 11 4.1%
C2 Holy, Health 10 3.7%
C3 High 27 10.1%
D1 Harm 47 17.5%
D2 Difficulty 21 7.8%
D3 Happy 24 9.0%
E1 Happen 6 2.2%
F1 Who and He 9 3.4%
G1 Containers 2 0.7%

/J/

A1 Join 25 14.7%
A2 Jab 14 8.2%
A3 Jutting, Jumping 36 21.2%
A4 Journeying 17 10.0%
B1 Joy, Jazzy 23 13.5%
C1 Judgement, Subtlety 6 3.5%
C2 Smallness 10 5.9%
D1 Giant and Gems 13 7.6%
D2 Junk 36 21.2%
E1 Job 8 4.7%

/C/

A1 Challenge, Forward Motion 119 62.3%
A2 Chew, Scratch 55 28.8%
A3 Scrunch 18 9.4%
B1 Chanting, Charm, Chum 15 7.9%
C1 Much, Money, Quantity 31 16.2%

/m/

A1 Measure 168 29.8%
A2 Match 28 5.0%
B1 Mask, Frame 57 10.1%
C1 Make and Maintain 20 3.6%
D1 Move and Mix 112 19.9%
E1 Must and May 12 2.1%
F1 Mash 55 9.8%
G1 Flames, Earth, Moisture 56 9.9%
H1 Boom 19 3.4%
H2 Mouth 25 4.4%
I1 Mistake 19 3.4%
I2 Mad and Monstrous 106 18.8%
J1 Mirth and Magic 41 7.3%
K1 Mind 22 3.9%
L1 Man 24 4.3%

/n/

A1 Number 45 8.4%
B1 None 99 18.5%
C1 Narrow, Near, Nudge 216 40.3%
D1 Distant 36 6.7%
E1 Bumps and Small Amounts 72 13.4%
E2 Nose 14 2.6%
F1 Line and Plane 66 12.3%
G1 Now, Nave, Knowledge 162 30.2%
H1 Fun, Fine 48 9.0%
I1 Nasty 89 16.6%
K1 Burn, Shine 17 3.2%
L1 Water 17 3.2%

/G/

A1 Noises 21 21.4%
B1 Strong, Bonk 17 17.3%
C1 Sting 4 4.1%
C2 Fling, Bring 11 11.2%
D1 Long, Sink, Hang 22 22.4%
E1 Wrong 21 21.4%
F1 Blank, Mysterious 13 13.3%
G1 Ring, Rink 21 21.4%
H1 Thing 3 3.1%

/l/

A1 Little 89 10.7%
A2 Long 76 9.1%
A3 Levels 13 1.6%
B1 Loop, Curl, Ball 89 10.7%
C1 Flat 93 11.2%
D1 Large, Prolonged 122 14.7%
D2 Prolonged Sound 24 2.9%
D3 Prolonged, Smooth Motion 51 6.1%
E1 Live, Hold, Lock 173 20.8%
F1 Lead, Lunge 43 5.2%
G1 Leave, Lose 66 7.9%
H1 Lone 35 4.2%
I1 Lend, Dole Out 27 3.2%
J1 Loot, Call, Blend, Collide 91 10.9%
K1 Lousy, Negative 154 18.5%
L1 Lash, Kill 95 11.4%
M1 Lie, Fall, Limp 111 13.3%
N1 Lift 41 4.9%
O1 Liking 106 12.7%
P1 Liquid 65 7.8%
P2 Light, Color 44 5.3%
P3 Heat and Cold 31 3.7%
P4 Land 31 3.7%
P5 Air 13 1.6%
Q1 Learning, Law 60 8.2%

/r/

A1 Run and Ride 135 13.9%
B1 Word, Ruckus 114 11.7%
C1 Emotion 228 23.4%
D1 Fire, Dark 46 4.7%
E1 Rot, Wrong 125 12.8%
E2 Rid, Ruin 220 22.6%
E3 Parts 57 5.9%
F1 Strength, Quantity, Intensity 185 19.0%
G1 Rise, Drop, Rank, Peer 68 7.0%
H1 Linear, Round, Wrinkle 162 16.6%
I1 Support, Hard, Work 116 11.9%
J1 Rule 50 5.1%
K1 Room, Where 110 11.3%
K2 Closeness, Connections, Taking 139 14.3%
L1 Prepare, Raw, Beginnings 117 12.0%

/w/

A1 Function Words, Not Known or Present 27 8.7%
B1 War 31 10.0%
C1 Wrong and Wild 29 9.4%
D1 Want 53 17.2%
E1 Work 16 5.2%
F1 Know 19 6.1%
G1 Away, Fro 56 18.1%
H1 Wee 21 6.8%
I1 Wind and Water 41 13.3%
J1 Wail, Whish, Wheeze 37 12.0%
K1 Waves 59 19.1%
L1 Walking, Whizzing 32 10.4%
M1 Whole and One 81 26.2%

/j/

A1 Extent 65 39.2%
A2 Young, Die 17 10.2%
B1 Try 21 12.7%
C1 Use, Yield, Pay 10 6.0%
D1 Protected, Secretive 10 6.0%
E1 Yay, Nay 46 27.7%
E2 Spirituality 3 1.8%
F1 Pronouns 13 7.8%


4.1.3.3 'Exceptional' Words and Concrete Noun Classes:

It was mentioned that 3% of English monosyllables did not fit in some phonosemantically defined class. It was also mentioned that all the dictionary senses of those 'aberrant' words fit in the (natural) Concrete Noun classes itemized above. These exceptional 3% of the monosyllables for this particular Phonosemantic Classification are:

People -- bach, bub, chef, gal, Jew, pa, senate, thane, vet, yid
Body Parts -- beak, jowl, thigh
Clothing -- drawers, gown, jeans, pants, togs
Games -- craps, golf, whist
Animals -- chimp, coon, cub, daw, deer, doe, drake, ewe, flea, foal, gnu, goat, hake, hare, hart, hen, loon, mare, moose, newt, pooch, prawn, pup, scrod, squid, stag, stork, swan, tern, thrush, tom, trout, wren
Plants -- beet, chard, chive, clove, cress, dill, kale, larch, maize, pear, phlox, plum, rice, rye, sedge, soy, tea, thyme, wheat, yew
Food -- beet, bran, chard, chive, clove, coke, dill, ghee, kale, kirsch, knish, lox, pear, plum, quiche, quince, rice, roe, rum, rye, schnapps, scone, scrod, slaw, soy, squid, steak, tea, thyme, torte, trout, veal, wheat, wine, wurst, yam
Materials -- jean, lye, myrrh, quartz, teak, zinc
Time -- June
Color -- mauve, roan, taupe, teal
Symbols -- dah, five, four, pi, schwa
Units -- ton

To some extent, a different Phonosemantic Classification would result in a different list of exceptions, but whenever I have formed a Phonosemantic Classification all of the words which don't conform to the classification end up being Concrete Nouns.6 In addition to these 3% that don't fit in my phonosemantic classes, there are hundreds of words that fit in both the phonosemantic classes and the Concrete Noun classes. Very broadly, these words listed here that fit in only the Concrete Noun classes (not the phonesthemic classification) tend to have a single narrow and well-defined function in the language. The word is rarely used metaphorically or poetically.

A much higher percentage of polysyllabic than monosyllabic monomorphemes fail to fit in the Phonosemantic Classification. The reason for this is that the large majority of common monosyllables in English have been in the language for some time and have acquired a broad range of usages. Polysyllabic monomorphemes tend to a much higher degree to be more recent borrowings and to have very concrete reference.

By way of example, I include here a summary of my Concrete Noun classification for people words. A complete summary of all Concrete Noun classes, and a complete listing of the words themselves can be found in Section B1 of Appendix I. Notice that words for people are fairly evenly divided among the phonemes. Those phonemes which occur less frequently in the language in general also occur proportionally less frequently in People words. This is typical of the Concrete Noun classes.

Some of the classes are not marked sequentially, because the classificational system was set up to include also polysyllabic words. When the polysyllables were deleted from the list, some classes fell away altogether:

People

878 words

53% of Concrete Nouns

 

/b/

63 words 7% of people words

1 Beautiful, Handsome, Sexy People 22 35%

2 Mean, Criminal People 11 18%

3 Big, Loud People 22 35%

4 Ugly, Stupid People 17 27%

5 Professions 8 13%

6 Children 4 6%

7 Smart, Enthusiastic People 3 5%

8 Other People 2 3%

9 Groups of People 12 19%

 

/d/

26 words 3% of people words

1 Dear People 4 15%

2 Ladies, Gentlemen 7 27%

3 Titles 3 12%

4 Dummies 7 27%

5 Negative Women 3 12%

6 Mythical Beings 3 12%

7 Other People 2 8%

 

/g/

29 words 3% of people words

1 Socially Inept People 9 31%

2 Mythical Beings 3 10%

4 Grumpy People 2 7%

5 Going People 4 14%

6 Gracious People 6 21%

7 Directing People 4 1%

8 Sexual Orientation 1 3%

9 Groups of People 5 17%

 

/p/

37 words 4% of people words

2 Small People 6 16%

3 Mythic Beings 2 5%

4 Two People 2 5%

5 Substitutes 2 5%

6 Endearing Terms for Women 7 19%

7 Powerful People 3 8%

8 Priests 2 5%

9 Papas 4 11%

10 Prudes 3 8%

13 Unpleasant People 8 22%

15 Groups of People 2 5%

16 Other People 2 5%

 

/t/

26 words 3% of people words

1 Teams 12 46%

3 Tyrants 1 4%

4 Young, Small People 5 19%

5 Groups of People 4 15%

6 Two People 2 8%

7 Travellers 6 23%

8 Sexually Appealing Women 4 15%

9 Unpleasant People 5 19%

 

/k/

52 words 3% of people words

1 Kin 4 8%

2 Clique, Club, People with Special Knowledge 15 29%

3 Other Groups 1 2%

4 People of High Position 9 17%

5 Commoners 13 25%

6 Queer People 7 14%

7 Clowns 2 4%

9 Grouchy People 2 4%

10 Derogatory Terms for Nations 2 4%

12 Other People 3 4%

 

/v/

2 words 0% of people words

3 Other People 2 100%

 

/z/

1 word 0% of people words

1 People 1 100%

 

/f/

28 words 3% of people words

1 Friends, Family 3 11%

2 Groups of People 3 11%

4 Women 3 11%

5 Gay, Effeminate Male 4 14%

6 Mythological Beings 2 7%

7 Contemptible People 8 29%

8 Criminals 2 7%

9 Enemies 3 11%

11 Flirts 2 7%

 

/T/

6 words 1% of people words

1 People 6 100%

 

/s/

66 words 8% of people words

1 Soul 2 3%

2 Mythological and Holy People 6 9%

3 Spirits, Spooks 3 5%

4 Sir, People of High Position 9 14%

5 Groups of People 7 11%

6 Servants 6 9%

8 Snobby People 2 3%

9 Contemptible People 8 12%

10 Sneaky People 4 6%

11 Slow People 4 6%

12 Stiff People 2 3%

13 Sloppy People 4 6%

14 Small People 4 6%

15 Drunk People 4 6%

16 Relatives 4 6%

17 Professions 5 8%

18 Other People 1 2%

 

/S/

13 words 2% of people words

1 Pronouns 1 8%

2 Contemptible People 8 62%

3 Protectors 3 23%

4 Other People 1 8%

 

/h/

31 words 4% of people words

1 General Person 3 10%

2 Negative People (Mostly Secretive and Evil) 12 39%

2 Judges 1 3%

3 Married Partner 2 7%

4 Unmarried Partner 2 7%

5 Comic People 2 7%

8 Hired People 2 7%

9 Other People 1 3%

10 Who 3 10%

11 He, She 5 16%

 

/J/

12 words 1% of people words

3 Wonderful People 3 25%

4 Jerks 4 33%

5 Outsiders 1 8%

6 Guys 2 17%

 

/C/

12 words 1% of people words

1 Chiefs and Champs 4 33%

2 Groups of People 1 8%

4 Informal, Friendly Words for People 3 25%

5 Children 2 17%

6 Derogative Words for People 2 17%

 

/m/

25 words 3% of people words

1 Mothers 4 16%

3 Men 3 12%

4 Mates 4 16%

7 Gods 2 8%

8 Mavericks 2 8%

12 Small People, Servants 3 12%

13 Mutes 3 12%

16 Mobs 2 8%

18 Me 3 12%

 

/n/

9 words 1% of people words

1 Small People 2 22%

2 Insignificant People 2 22%

3 People Who are Near 2 22%

5 Noble People 3 33%

6 People who Renounce Something 1 11%

 

/l/

14 words 1% of people words

1 Lord, Lady 7 50%

4 Louts 3 21%

5 Other People 2 14%

 

/r/

15 words 2% of people words

1 Rabble 10 67%

2 Royalty 2 13%

3 Other People 3 20%

 

/w/

19 words 2% of people words

1 Common or General Words for People 3 16%

2 Abandoned People 2 11%

3 Children 3 16%

4 Unpleasant People 6 32%

5 Women 3 16%

6 Watchful People 4 21%

7 Competent People 3 16%

8 Other People 2 11%

 

/j/

6 words 1% of people words

2 Naive or Inexperienced People 2 33%

3 You 3 50%

4 Other People 1 17%

 

*************

I suggest that it is the specificity of reference that is interfering with the more obvious manifestation of iconic semantics. Let me provide an example to clarify why this is so. The consonant /b/ appears in initial position in words referring to loud sounds, explosions, irreverent behavior, bulging and large quantities much more frequently than one would expect statistically if phonology and semantics were completely unrelated. The phoneme /b/ also appears in initial position in a lot of words referring to large animals: bear, boar, bull, buck, behemoth, buffalo, etc. And even when the animal is small, it still tends to be among the largest or most irritating in its phylum: bee, beetle, bug. In some cases, like 'bug' and 'beast' and even 'bear', 'boar' and 'bull', the loud, irreverent connotative meaning is prevalent enough that The American Heritage Dictionary lists it as a separate sense. But the more obscure and specific the animal, the less likely this is to be the case. We don't say, "*He's such a bandicoot," probably in part because this animal isn't part of the average English speaker's everyday experience. In addition, the less specific the animal is (bug, beast, brute, animal, creature, critter), the more likely it is to be used metaphorically. It is these common or general terms that fall most easily in the Phonosemantic Classifications.

Strictly speaking, a 'buck' and a 'boa' and a 'bison' do not fit in the phonesthemes. At least according to most dictionaries, the word 'bison' has no alternate sense involving loudness, strength and obstreperousness in general. It only has what we think of as its 'basic' sense -- that of a bovine. Observe how this quality of concrete reference interferes with Phonosemantic Classification.

'Reference' answers the question, "What is word X?" That is, in general, the Natural Classification is organized along the semantic axis of metonymy/hyponymy. The phonological component answers the question, "What is X like?" In the case of non-concrete Natural Classes, these two questions often overlap. For example, "What is 'bungle'?" A bungle is a clumsy aggressive action -- that is its referent. That's also what a bungle is like. If we ask, "What is a 'bull'?" The answer is that it is a mammal, a male, a bovine. That's how it fits in its Natural Classification. It does not answer the question, "What is this animal like?" So what is this animal like? Speaking objectively, it is large, powerful, hairy, horned, etc. But folk mythology also makes it aggressive and clumsy. We speak of 'a bull in a china shop'. Is a bull factually clumsier or more aggressive than a hippo? That's not at all certain. Therefore, whereas 'bungle' is a clumsy action by its very definition, 'bull' is by definition a large mammal, and is only perceived as clumsy. If a bull is only perceived as clumsy, we are already on slipperier ground classifying it phonosemantically as 'clumsy' than we are classifying 'bungle' as 'clumsy'. In this case, American Heritage provides a 'clumsy' definition which allows us to classify 'bull' phonosemantically. In a similar manner, strictly speaking, a bison is a mammal with a certain DNA sequence, and that's all it is. 'Bisons' are close neighbors of 'bulls' and 'buffaloes', which also both begin with /b/. Does the /b/ in 'bison' predispose us to think of it as clumsy analogously with 'bull' and 'buffalo'? Perhaps. But there's no direct 'official' evidence for that within the language. To determine whether that is true, we cannot use dictionaries; we have to resort to psycholinguistic experiments.

Why is it that 'bull' and buffalo' are perceived as more clumsy than 'bison'? One possibility is that they both contain an /l/. The phoneme /l/ appears in a disproportionately large number of 'clumsy' words. The phoneme /s/ on the other hand occurs disproportionately frequently in words of competence: smart, snappy, sassy, swift, smug, style,... Most sloppy words that contain an /s/ also contain an /l/. If Phonosemantic Association happens on the level of the phoneme, then the evidence in fact suggests that the aggressiveness in 'bull' and 'buffalo' comes from the /b/, and the 'clumsiness' comes from the /l/. 7

So some of the words like 'bison' and 'pi' fall outside the Phonosemantic Classification, and one is initially inclined to think that the Phonosemantic Hypothesis cannot therefore be wholly maintained. The /p/ in 'pi' cannot directly be placed in a /p/ phonestheme for 'precision', though there is such a phonestheme. 'Pi' has no metaphorical usage meaning 'precise' or any other connotative usage for that matter -- it means 3.14159..., and that's all it means. Still I hope to demonstrate that there is good evidence to suggest that the precision so prevalent in /p/ otherwise is also likely to influence the English speaker's dynamic usage of the word 'pi', and that therefore even those words that don't fit in a Phonosemantic Classification are influenced by their sound. If this proves to be the case, that is, if the /p/ is having a semantic effect even in very Concrete Nouns (pi, spinach, piccolo, piranha), then it is most effective to view Iconic meaning as the fundamental level of word semantics, and to view referential semantics as superimposed on it.


4.1.3.4 Theoretical Status of Senses and Phonesthemes

Unlike a Natural Classification, a Phonosemantic Classification is not right or wrong unless it also violates the Natural Classes. Some Phonosemantic Classifications bring out certain semantic aspects of a given phoneme, and others bring out other aspects of the phoneme. The phonesthemes are therefore epiphenomena. I find that they are not psychologically real in the way that Natural Classes are. That is to say, I do not think they are part of 'langue'. I experience this subjectively as I work devising phonosemantic classes for a given set of data. I find that to some extent, I'm free how I would like to organize and present the phonosemantic data, and to some extent, I'm not free. Certain classifications are, so to speak, ungrammatical. Those which are ungrammatical are those which fail to do deference to the 'Natural Classes' built into English. But although I do not think of Phonosemantic Classifications as psychologically real, I do find them to be an extremely important device to make the phonosemantic data accessible and readable to the average researcher.

I think the senses of a word -- like the phonesthemes -- are useful, but not psychologically real. The reader will notice that the various dictionary senses or referents of the words in the Phonosemantic Classification in Appendix I are not explicitly marked. For example, 'cross' has many senses other than the motional one intended in the /r/ phonestheme used as an example in the previous section (4.1.2): 'to cross the street'. Yet nowhere in this experiment have I made a list of the senses for each of these words and then cross-referenced them with the occurrences of these words in the phonesthemes. It may be presumed that the reason for this is that the sense intended is obvious from the superclass and phonestheme designators, and this is in part true, but the reason for omitting references to the intended sense also runs deeper than this.

I distinguish, as mentioned, three levels of semantics: the iconic, the classificational and the referential. I will discuss them in much more detail in the final chapter of this dissertation. Suffice it to say for now that in my view, the iconic level of word semantics is fundamentally what makes word semantics sensitive to the phonological structure of the word. The classificational level is the level of Natural Classes, we have so frequently discussed. Each successive layer is superimposed on the previous. So the iconic level in semantics is primary. Superimposed on it is the classificational and superimposed on that again is the referential.

The senses of a word arise as a side effect of filtering the iconic meaning of a single word through the level 2 classificational system and then providing them with a referent at level 3. The phonesthemes arise analogously as a side effect of filtering the iconic meaning of all the words containing a given phoneme through the classificational system. Word senses therefore are epiphenomena, and like the phonesthemes themselves are not psychologically real -- not a part of 'langue', or the 'grammar'. And a brief comparison of the definitions provided in 3 different dictionaries of a few basic English words like 'get' or 'take' will convince anyone that lexicographers in no way agree on what constitute the correct 'senses' of a word.

Put another way, the sense of 'cross' that I have in mind in the above sample entry is actually defined as that sense which fits in the level 2 class of non-vehicular motion verbs with a human agent. Further giving it a sense definition would not only be redundant, but misleading, because it implies that word 'senses' are not analyzable in terms of more basic concepts. I believe that they are.


4.1.3.5 The Positional Effect

The process of coming to understand what specific effect each aspect of the word's phonology is having on its semantics is something like teasing apart a puzzle. One first uncovers what semantic domains are disproportionately represented in which phonemes. Then one goes into specific Natural Classes such as the 'light' words discussed above and observes how these more general tendencies manifest within a specific semantic domain. In addition to the pure effect of the phoneme on the meaning of the word, there is a positional effect that at least for me is much harder to discern at first. In order to see it, one has to first abstract away from the Natural Classes, and then abstract away from the semantics of each individual phoneme. It may seem trivial, but I find it to be no small matter to uncover which aspects of meaning are attributable to what.

As discussed above, non-vehicular motion is well represented in /r/ no matter what position it appears in. But in words of 'light' containing /g/ and /l/, both consonants must precede the vowel. Why? And what are the differences between the various /r/s for motion in the various positions? I will give some examples here to try to make clear what effect I believe the position of the relevant phoneme to have.

Briefly, a consonant which appears before the vowel has a function of 'setting the stage' for the action that plays itself out in the word. A consonant which occurs after the vowel constitutes a sort of conclusion or 'punch line'. The vowel is somewhat analogous to a verb in a sentence. It defines the nature of the flow or action. The initial consonants are like subjects, and the final consonants like objects. In addition, the positional effect depends on whether the consonant appears in absolute initial position or after another consonant. If it appears in absolute initial position, it is given free reign in a manner of speaking over the backdrop of the word. If a semi-vowel follows another consonant but precedes the stressed vowel, its effect is mitigated or modified by the initial consonant. The phonemes /l/ and /r/ are initially the most useful consonants to look at in English to get a sense for the effect of position on the semantics of the word, because they can occur in the most positions within English syllables.

Consider the words containing /r/ and referring to some kind of noise. There are 114 of them making up 13% of English monosyllables containing /r/:

1 Ruckus, Sound
1
rage, rant, rap, rasp, rave, ring, roar, rout, row
2
bray, breath, crack, crash, creak, croak, croon, crunch, cry, drawl, drone, drum, frog, groan, growl, grunt, shriek, shrill, thrum, trill, troll
3
screak, scream, screech, strain, strike, stroke, strum
F2
bark, birl, burp, chirp, chord, dirge, fart, hoarse, horn, snarl, snort, storm
F3
birr, blare, chirr, churr, purr, roar, snore, whirr
 
2 Word, Speak
2
brag, bring, broach, greet, grill, gripe, grouse, phrase, praise, prate, pray, prayer, preach, prove, threat, thresh, train, trope
3
screen, spread, spring, stress, stretch
F2
blurt, harp, spurt, word, yarn
F3
air, pour, prayer, share, square
 
3 Read, Write
2
braille, browse, draw, graph, phrase, press, print, proof, prose, trace
3
scrawl, scribe, script, scroll
F2
card, chart, clerk, forge, mark, term, verse, word
F3
score
 
4 Hear
F2
hark, learn, mark
F3
ear, hear

Notice that those words which have an /r/ in initial position tend to have a loud, devil-may-care quality about them. This quality runs throughout the phoneme /r/. Notice that /r/ does not occur in initial position in words of sound which require more focus or precision, specifically words involving coherent language. The phoneme /r/ can provide raw energy to something, but it implies no inherent control over this energy -- that control must be provided from without. Notice that nearly all the /r/ words of speaking have a great energy about them. Notice that /r/ doesn't occur in the most receptive of sound words -- those of hearing -- except after the vowel. When the energy that /r/ provides, in other words, happens at the receiving end of the speech event, /r/ appears after the vowel in English. Notice that if /r/ occurs in absolute final position in words for noises, the noise is prolonged. If /r/ occurs in pre-final position, the noise is cut short. Once again, this little exposition does not of itself prove anything. But hundreds of other examples of this nature can be found by looking at the data in Appendix I.


4.1.3.6 Summary of Results of Experiment 1 and Outline of Resultant Theories about Language

· Monosyllabic words in English which contain a given consonant fall within much narrower semantic domains than one would expect if the relationship between phonology and semantics were arbitrary. This semantic domain resembles the articulation of the consonant in question, and this is one piece of circumstantial evidence that the relationship between phonology and semantics is essentially 'Iconic' in the Peircean sense. The phonology of a word has a much more pervasive and specific effect on its semantics than is generally supposed.

· There is a type of psychologically real classificational system which I term a 'Natural Classification'. The phonesthemes are not in general psychologically real in the way that the Natural Classes are. Phonesthemes are subsets of the Natural Classes. They are epiphenomena resulting from the combination of Natural Classifications with the semantics of sound. Such a combined classificational system I call 'phonosemantic'. Because of the epiphenomenal nature of the phonestheme, there is no one right Phonosemantic Classification. Various Phonosemantic Classifications make various aspects of phoneme semantics more accessible to analysis. The possibility of creating Phonosemantic Classifications as defined in this dissertation is one of the primary means I use for testing the Phonosemantic Hypothesis stated in the introduction. This particular experiment tests for criteria 1-6, but not criteria 7-9 of a Phonosemantic Classification.

· I find an additional process called 'Clustering' or Phonosemantic Association. Clustering is the tendency for phonemes and phoneme sequences to become even more narrowly limited than their iconic semantics demands -- the tendency to try to assign a coherent referent to every phoneme or phoneme sequence. (The whole becomes more narrow than the sum of the parts.) For example, words beginning with /gl/ are inherently limited to a certain semantic domain by the very nature of the semantics of /g/ and the semantics of /l/. We find that a fairly large range of this potential is factually represented in the vocabulary of English, but disproportionately so. A much larger percentage of these /gl/ words fall into the sub-domain 'reflected light' than one would expect if the semantics of /gl/ simply were a combination of the semantics if /g/ plus the semantics of /l/.

· At the third level of semantics, a specific referent is assigned to each word. The more concrete and unambiguous the referent for the word, the less salient is its phonosemantics. The reason for this concerns what the word 'is'. If the referent for a word by its very nature is connotative or interpretive, then the word's phonosemantics can cooperate with its referent. If, however, the word refers to some concrete object in the world, and no room is left for connotation or interpretation, then the phonosemantics of the word seems to impose a connotation or interpretation to the word rather than affecting what the word actually refers to. For example, the verb 'bungle' is an aggressive, clumsy act by its very definition. Therefore the verb falls easily in phonesthemes for bungling and aggression. But the primary sense of 'buffalo' is merely a mammal with a certain DNA sequence, so it falls less readily into phonesthemes for bungling and aggression. The bungling and aggression of a buffalo is merely a cultural interpretation. Because 'buffalo' exists as a verb of bumbling and aggression, it can still be classified into these phonesthemes. But since no such formal usage for 'bison' exists, it falls outside the Phonosemantic Classification. This does not, however, mean that sound has no effect on its meaning, as can be demonstrated by other kinds of tests for the psychological reality of sound-meaning among native informants.

· Like the phonesthemes, the 'senses' of a word are not stored as part of langue. They are epiphenomena resulting from the combination of all three levels of word semantics -- the iconic, the classificational and the referential.

· The position that a consonant occupies in a syllable also affects its meaning. Consonants that appear before the vowel form the backdrop for the action of the word, and consonants that appear after the vowel express the result of the action implicit in the word.

 




4.2 Experiment 2 -- Classification First by Phoneme Sequence, Subclassification by Semantic Domain and then Regrouping of Different Phonemes by Semantic Domain

See Appendix II for full data and results.

4.2.1 Methodology

· Find all monomorphemic or root words containing a given consonant in a given position in the word. In this case all monomorphemes in my active English vocabulary in which /r/ occurs in second position were used.

· Divide the words according to another phonological characteristic. In this case, the monomorphemic English words containing /r/ in second position were sub-classified by initial consonant.

· For each of these resultant classes, create a Phonosemantic Classification. If necessary, ignore Concrete Nouns.

· Now match up phonesthemes cross-phonemically that fall in the same Natural Classes. For example, the 'breaking' phonestheme for /br/ is aligned with the 'fracturing' phonestheme for /fr/ and the 'cracking' phonestheme in /kr/.

· Identify how these matching phonesthemes differ semantically.


4.2.2 Example

Rupture and Fractioning

/r/ appears in many words of destruction. The ruptures that are non-iterative show up when a stop consonant is in initial position. If the stop is voiced, we find an additional and related class of words which are fractioned into many pieces. If a fricative is in initial position, the result is broken into uncountably many fine particles. We can more or less characterize the effects of the phonological features in this classes follows:

[+stop, +voiced] -- many distinct but countable parts
[+stop, -voiced] -- snip off an end or pierce at a point
[+fricative] -- mashed into single consistency, pieces are uncountably many
[+labial] -- ends, points, tips
[+dental] -- lines
[+velar] -- rupture in a surface

The verbs are listed first followed by related words which are the results of the actions of these verbs.

a. Rupture
[+stop]
/b/
Break -- something hard broken off or severed into two or more pieces
bran, branch, breach, break, brief, brittle, brook, browse, bruise
 
/d/
Dig -- regular breaking downward through dirt
dredge, drill
Dirt -- that which remains from digging
dreck, dredge, dregs
 
/g/
No verb exists
Groove -- an open indentation in a surface, the deepest point is typically not visible
grave, groin, groove, grotto
 
/p/
Prick -- a long hard object with a point which pierces a surface at one point
prick, prickle, probe, prod, prong
 
/t/
Trim -- something linear and often growing the tips of which are cut back just slightly
trim
Trifle -- a small thing which has been made out to be bigger than it is
trifle, trinket, trite
 
/k/
Cut -- to cut a surface
crack, crop
Crack -- deformities in a surface
crack, cranny, crater, crease, crevasse
Crunch (Crinkling sounds) -- the sound of deforming a surface
crack, crackle, crash, crinkle, crunch
 
b. Fractioned/Many Pieces
[+stop, +voiced]
/b/
Branchy -- radiating lines from a base
bracken, braid, brake, bramble, branch, briar, bristle, broom, brow, brush
Breed -- offspring of a single source
brace, breed, brood, brother
Type -- a group which all fit a specific characterization and have a common source
brace, bracket, branch, brand
 
/d/
Drip -- liquid flowing linearly cut into drops
dribble, drip, drizzle, drop
Drop -- particles of liquid resulting from dripping
dribble, drip, drivel, drizzle, drop
 
/g/
Grind -- to push through a grid
grind, grate
Grid -- a network of lines crossing at 90 degrees to form squares
grate, grid, grill, grille, graph
Grainy -- small bits resulting from grinding
grain, gravel, grit
 
c. Broken into a Mass of Uncountably Many Tiny Particles
[+fricative]
/f/
Fray -- to split the tips of something soft into a mass of fuzz or foam
frizz, frizzle, fray, froth, fry
Frill -- intricate decorations at the edge
frill, frieze, fringe, frock
Froth -- foam, uncountable, small bubbles or bits, usually in liquid
(freckle), frost, froth
 
/T/
Thresh -- to flail something flexible and linear fairly violently
thrash, thresh
Thread -- a long piece of materials thinner than a string
thread
 
/S/
Shred -- to cut something solid into many small strips or particles
shred
 
The non-concrete monomorphemic words which have an /r/ in second position and which are not mentioned in Appendix II are:
 
brawn, bribe
graze, greet
prey, prowl, price, prairie
trace, trait, trend
crux
frail, fraught, frisk


4.2.3 Discussion of Findings

4.2.3.1 Evidence this Experiment Provides for the Major Theses in this Dissertation

Evidence for the Phonosemantic Hypothesis

This experiment does not so readily give one a general overview of the semantics of the whole phoneme as did the first experiment (4.1 -- Appendix I), but it does provide a better view of what specific role each phoneme has within a given semantic domain. This is the best test I've come up with for identifying the semantics of phonetic features.

This experiment provides evidence for criteria 1-6 and criterion 9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis:

Criterion 1. Very nearly every word with the given phonological characterization fits in some semantic class.
Criterion 2. Each semantic class contains a large percentage of the words which match that phonological characterization.
Criterion 3. There are relatively few semantic classes in the classification.
Criterion 4. The semantic classes in the classification are distinct
Criterion 5. Each word fits into an average of a fairly large number of classes.
Criterion 6. The semantic classes are narrowly defined. By a 'narrowly defined' semantic class, I mean one which encompasses a small percentage of words in the language as a whole.
Criterion 9. Any class in a Phonosemantic Classification can be defined narrowly enough that words not matching the relevant phonological characterization are excluded from it.

Evidence for Clustering

The fact that this test can be conducted at all is, of course, indirect evidence for Clustering. But there is additional evidence for Clustering on another level. Consider this 'rupture' class above for voiced stops in initial position. The phoneme /r/ tends to rip, break, part and tear no matter where it's positioned in the word, and /d/ is downward and linear throughout the English lexicon (as well as frequently wet), but /dr/ in this rupture class is not just a vertical line that is fractioned into several pieces -- which is what the /d/ combined with the /r/ alone optionally predispose the word toward; the large majority of the /dr/ words specifically concern a vertical line of water that is fractioned into many pieces -- in other words, dripping water. The tendency is therefore to attribute an identifiable referent to /dr/ which is narrower than the semantic range formed by /d/ and /r/ alone. This Clustering manifests not as a single invariable referent, but only as skewed distributions -- a tendency to prefer dripping water over other potential referents.

Evidence for the Interference of Reference

The above example can be used to explain why one finds information about the semantics of phonetic features more readily by subdividing words into small groups defined by two phonemes rather than one first, and then recombining them, as I do in this experiment. The alternative would have been to create a Phonosemantic Classification for all the words containing /r/ in second position and then subdividing all the 'fracture' words according to initial consonant afterwards. Had I done this, I would have found no words for multiple fractioning beginning with /d/, because it wouldn't have seemed to me that 'dripping' involves a fracture, since it refers to a motion of water, and the dotted line is only how the water moves. However, having seen that there is a very obvious 'branching' class in /br/ and 'grid' class in /gr/, and having seen from the previous 'rupture' class that in those cases as well, labials seem to imply a point and velars a surface, I am already asking myself, "If this pattern holds, then I would expect to find the form of a dotted line somewhere in words beginning with /dr/. Do I find such a thing?" Well, as it turns out, I do... dripping water. Had I, however, done the experiment the other way around, I wouldn't have thought of 'dripping water' as a dotted line, but rather as downwardness and water. When I ask myself what other occurrences of 'dotted lines' I find commonly in the world around me, I'm hard pressed to think of any besides dripping water. So from this perspective, it's not surprising that English has chosen /dr/ for dripping water. Performing the experiment in the order I suggest, in other words, helps focus attention away from the referential aspects of meaning and toward those aspects which are determined by sound, and this is why I think it is so effective in bringing out the meanings of the phonetic features.

Again, the characterizations of the phonetic features were all derived from the non-concrete word classes. The more concrete the semantic class, the more the referential aspects of the meaning -- like the 'water', as opposed to the linearity, in 'dripping' -- impose themselves on the researcher. So this aspect of the experiment also provides evidence that reference interferes with the salience of sound-meaning.


4.2.3.2 Common Semantic Domains for /r/ in Second Position

The natural domains which /r/ in second position was found to occur in frequently were:

· Rupture and Fractioning
· Garbage
· Negative People
· Iteration
· Deception
· Containers
· Verge, Brim
· Directed Movement Verbs
· Pressure
· Receiving
· Support
· Future
· Groups
· Grab/Crave
· Three

These are similar to the classes that were found for /r/ in Experiment 1 (Appendix I). Words in the following Natural Classes were also classified for this experiment:

· Heat
· Water
· Sound
· Emotion
· The Mind
· Materials
· Pretty


4.2.3.3 Characterizations of the Phonetic Features

By performing this experiment for this set of data, one arrives at the following characterizations of the phonetic features:

[+voiced]
many distinct but countable parts
dirty, angry
heavy duty
creative source, but little concern for results
[-voiced]
specific intention or result
an ongoing, preexisting or pending process
[+stop]
emphasis on a thing or product as opposed to a process
specific path, starting point, boundaries
receiving, support
end, point, boundary, container
[+fricative]
mashed into single consistency
soft
uncountably many
emphasis on the activity or process itself
release, no concern for the path
hysteria
[+labial]
a narrow opening
selected for a purpose
ends, points, tips, edges, initiation
senseless, empty waste of time or energy
completed, clear
[-labial]
sadness
fear
group selected for a purpose
[+dental]
linearity
natural motion, sleep/trance
implicit goal or direction
mid-stream, process
[-dental]
large size
[+velar]
surface
a mature process
gathering, grabbing, craving, excess
something hidden, unclear, unexamined


4.2.3.4 Characterizations of the Phonetic Features Sorted by Semantic Class

Iterative/Nonbreaking
[+stop, -voiced]
Containers
[+stop, -voiced]
Edge of Something
[+labial]
Directed Movement Verbs
[+voiced] -- no concern for the result
[-voiced] -- specific intention or result
[+labial, +stop] -- pressure onto something, often from within a container with a narrow opening like a well or the lungs
[+dental] -- natural linear motion, against resistance in /d/ and generally with little resistance in /t/ and /T/
[+voiced] -- motion over (/k/) or rooted in (/g/) a surface or terrain
[+stop] -- specific path
[+fricative] -- no concern for the path
Pressure
[+voiced] -- focus on the process, heavy
[-voiced] -- focus on the point of contact
[+labial, +stop] -- support or preparation from behind
[+dental, +stop] -- natural linear motion
[+voiced] -- pressure against a surface out in front
[+stop] -- pressure causes a permanent effect
[+fricative] -- solidify into a mass, effect in place only as long as the conditions maintain
Support
[+stop]
Future
[+labial] -- initiation
[+dental] -- propelling a process in mid-stream
[+voiced] -- a mature process
[+stop] -- emphasizes a starting point, boundaries
[+fricative] -- emphasizes the process itself
[+voiced] -- creation of something new
[-voiced] -- implies an ongoing, preexisting or pending process
Groups
[+labial, +stop] -- group selected for a purpose
[+dental] -- gathered by following a common goal
[+voiced] -- general gathering
Size
[+stop, -dental]
Grab/Crave
[+voiced]
Receiving
[+stop]
Garbage
[+labial] -- senseless, empty waste of time or energy
[+dental] -- that which is thrown or drained away
[+voiced] -- greasy or crumbly texture, excess from something eaten or used
[+stop] -- emphasis on the waste itself
[+fricative] -- emphasis on the activity of discharging and its subsequent release
[+voiced] -- dirtier, more heavy duty garbage
Derogative Terms for People
Was not able to see semantic patterns across the phonetic features
Deception
[-voiced]
The Mind
[+labial] -- completed, clear
[+dental] -- process, implicit goal or direction
[+voiced] -- unclear, unexamined
 




4.3 Experiment 3 -- Natural Classes for Arbitrary Sets of Words

See Appendix III for full data and results.

4.3.1 Methodology

· Choose a random set of words. In this case, every 10th English monosyllable in alphabetical order was used. This resulted in a random set of 342 words.

· Find a Natural Classification for this set of words.

· Separate off the Concrete Noun classes resulting from that classification.

· Look for phonological commonalities in the remaining classes. Break larger classes down into smaller ones if necessary.

· Compare the classification of random words to a classification found for a similar number of words sharing a common phonological trait. In this case, the 295 monosyllables with initial /b/ were used.


4.3.2 Example

I compare the random set of 342 with the 295 monosyllables beginning with /b/:

Bump
Random -- [+labial]: bulge, dune, heap, lobe, nub, paunch, rough
B-Words: bag, bale, ball, bay, bead, belch, bell, bilge, blimp, blip, bloat, blob, blouse, blow, boil, boll, boob, breast, bud, bug(eye), bulb, bulge, bum, bump, bunch, bun/s, burl, burst, bust, butt, butte
 
Incline/Fall
Random: cline, cock, prone, sheer, step, stoop, swoon
B-Words:
 
Float/Bounce
Random:
B-Words: ball, bank, bath, bathe, beach, bilge, birl, blimp, bloat, boat, bob, boil, bounce, bound, breach, breeze, buck, bulge, bump
 
Long/Thin
Random: flue, knife, oar, peg, pole, rake, saw, screw, shot, strand, thorn, trunk
B-Words (Sticks, Building Materials): balk, bar, bat, bead, beam, birch, birl, blade, bloom, board, bone, boom, bough, brace, branch
 
Foamy, Frilly
Random -- [+fricative]: frill, froth, shag
B-Words (Brushy): bang, barb, beard, bosk, braid, brake, branch, broom, brow, browse, brush, bur, burr, bush
 
Cry/Talk
Random -- /b/, /p/: bawl, beg, bill, bode, mot, pitch, preach, squib, weep, yawp
B-Words (Loud, Effusive): bah, barb, bark, bash, baste, bat, beard, beck, beef, beg, bend, bet, bid, bilge, bill, bis, bitch, blab, blame, bless, blot, blow, bluff, blunt, blurb, blurt, boast, bode, bolt, book, bore, bosh, boost, boss, bounce, bout, brag, brand, bull, bunk, butt, buzz
 
Exclamations
Random:
B-Words: bad, bah, bam, bang, bash, blah, blast, blaze/s, boo, boom, bosh, boy, bud, bull, bye
 
Noise
Random -- [+liquid]: bawl, blare, clang, cluck, grunt, hark, horn, peal, roar, taps, ti, tune, tweet
B-Words (Loud, Sudden): baa, bam, bang, bark, bawl, bay, beep, belch, bell, birr, blare, blast, bleat, bleep, blow, bomb, bong, boo, boom, brawl, bray, burp, burr, buzz


4.3.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment provides evidence for all the criteria 1-9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis:

Criterion 1. Very nearly every word with the given phonological characterization fits in some semantic class.
Criterion 2. Each semantic class contains a large percentage of the words which match that phonological characterization.
Criterion 3. There are relatively few semantic classes in the classification.
Criterion 4. The semantic classes in the classification are distinct
Criterion 5. Each word fits into an average of a fairly large number of classes.
Criterion 6. The semantic classes are narrowly defined. By a 'narrowly defined' semantic class, I mean one which encompasses a small percentage of words in the language as a whole.
Criterion 7. A much smaller percentage of the words which do not match the relevant phonological characterization fit into any class.

Whenever words chosen at random are classified, they fall into the Natural Classification. Among these Natural Classes one will find the Concrete Nouns, but also others, many of which are represented in this data: water, fire and light; sound and language; big, medium, small; beginning, middle, end; strong, weak; good, bad; crime and deception; quantities and emptiness; long, round, flat; bumps and indentations; strong, weak; smooth, fuzzy, bumpy; dirt and washing; verbs of motion (vehicular, non-vehicular), verbs of contact, verbs of destruction, verbs of creation; verbs of wiggling and turning; happy, sad, angry, irritated; give, get; boundaries, containers, groups, impediments; etc.

However, one finds a number of classes which appear in the /b/ classification and therefore are very prevalent among words beginning with /b/, but which accept no words from the random list: These are boundaries(5% of monosyllables beginning with /b/ have at least one sense which refers to a boundary vs. 0% of random monosyllables), impediments(8% /b/ vs. 0% random), interference(11%! /b/ vs. 0% random), stopping and waiting(5%), binding and fastening(5%), floating and bouncing(7%), breaking(6%), exploding(5%), blowing(4%), departing(7%), badness(2%), crime(2%), emptiness and blindness(11%), carrying(6%), future(7%), immersion(4%), growth(6%). In all of these classes, there are, of course, some words which don't contain /b/, but the disproportions are great enough that in a random sampling, I came up with no matches in many cases.

The converse also holds. There were several classes which are quite common in the language generally, but which are relatively rare in words beginning with /b/: eating, taking and receiving, throwing and giving, spending, slowness, surfaces, ability. There were no words starting with /b/ that didn't fit in the Concrete Nouns or the /b/ phonesthemes. There were, however, 12 non-concrete random words which fell into a Natural Class which they shared with no other words in the random selection. These words were: air, mend, quark, sky, snide, stint, toy, troth, west, yep, yon, yum

Criterion 8. Those words that do not match the relevant phonological characterization but which nevertheless do fit in the phonesthemic classification fit on average in a smaller percentage of classes, than those words which do match the phonological characterization.

The average word containing a /b/ in initial position falls into about 3 classes (which is typical of phonemes which begin about 300 monosyllabic words), and words in the random classification fit into an average of only about 1.5 classes.

Criterion 9. Any class in a Phonosemantic Classification can be defined narrowly enough that words not matching the relevant phonological characterization are excluded from it.

Clustering will cause words with common phonological traits to be unevenly distributed among the natural semantic domains. In Appendix III some classes were marked to indicate which phonemes appeared there most frequently. For example, a disproportionately large number of the verbs of physical contact start with /b/. One can get an approximate picture of how the semantics of words containing /b/ is biased by looking at the variations in distribution between the words in the classification. In many cases, very few or no words beginning with /b/ appear in certain classes which are quite common in the language otherwise. Instead, words beginning with /b/ fall in other classes which are similar. Examples are slowness ( from the randomly selected words) vs. interference and blockage (in words starting with /b/), ability and possibility (random) vs. the future (/b/), beginnings, middles and endings (random) vs. only beginnings (/b/), negativity and loss (random) vs. emptiness and blindness (/b/), weak (random) vs. blocked (/b/), touch (random) vs. beat (/b/), cut or chafe (random) vs. break (/b/), frills and froth (random) vs. brushy (/br/), take and receive (random) vs. bind and fasten (/b/), areas (random) vs. boundaries (/b/), etc.

Words which have common phonological traits and which fit into narrower semantic domains than those covered by the entire vocabulary will fit into subsets of the Natural Classes. For example, the language as a whole will have many words for people, and /b/ also has many words for people. But the words for people which begin with /b/ are confined to a subset of people. Words for people beginning with /b/ are outrageous, sexy, bad and beautiful. There are also many children and many groups of people in /b/. People in /p/ tend to go into the priesthood; they are often prudish or work in professions which give them authority and control over others. In the above classification, I have tried to indicate in one or two words what semantic trait distinguishes the words in a given class which begin with /b/ from all the other words in that class.

Once again, all the exceptions to the Phonosemantic Classification are Concrete Nouns, which constitutes evidence that the salience of iconic meaning in a word is related inversely to the concreteness of its reference.

There is evidence for Iconism as well. In addition to these disproportions in the Natural Classes, each phoneme will deliver to the word within a given Natural Class a specific element of meaning. For example, of the /b/ words of physical contact, essentially all are violent (bat, beat, bash, bonk,...). And unlike their counterparts starting with /p/ (prick, pike, pin, poke,...), they rarely pierce the surface. The disproportions we observe are due to Clustering or Phonosemantic Association. But the specific meaning which each phoneme provides within a given semantic domain is a reflection of what I have called Iconism.

 




4.4 Experiment 4 -- Classify Words Containing a Phoneme Sequence X into a Classification Designed for Words Containing Phoneme Sequence Y

See Appendix IV for full data and results.

4.4.1 Methodology

· Choose a natural set of words which have some common phonological feature. In this case, all the English monosyllables beginning with /b/ were chosen.

· Find a Phonosemantic Classification for this set of words.

· Choose a different natural set of words which have some common phonological feature. In this case, all the English monosyllables beginning with /l/ were chosen.

· Try to fit these words into the Phonosemantic Classification found for the first set of words.


4.4.2 Example

A1 Bulging, Brushy
1 Bulging
/b/ Words -- bag, bale, ball, belch, bell, bilge, blimp, bloat, blob, blouse, blow, boil, boob, bulge, bum, bun/s, burl, burst, bust
/l/ Words -- lung
 
2 Bump
/b/ Words -- ball/s, bay, bead, blip, bloat, blob, boil, boll, boob, breast, bud, bug(eye), bulb, bulge, bum, bump, bun, bunch, bun/s, burl, bust, butt, butte
/l/ Words -- lobe, lump
 
3 Round
/b/ Words -- bale, ball, bead, bell, blimp, blip, bloat, blob, blotch, bowl, bulb, bulge
/l/ Words -- loop
 
4 Bend
/b/ Words -- bay, belt, bend, bight, bow
/l/ Words -- lens
 
5 Brushy
/b/ Words -- bang, barb, beard, bosk, braid, brake, branch, broom, brow, browse, brush, bur, burr, bush
/l/ Words -- lace, lash


4.4.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment provides evidence for criteria 1-9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis:

Criterion 1. Very nearly every word with the given phonological characterization fits in some semantic class.
Criterion 2. Eeach semantic class contains a large percentage of the words which match that phonological characterization.
Criterion 3. There are relatively few semantic classes in the classification.
Criterion 4. The semantic classes in the classification are distinct
Criterion 5. Each word fits into an average of a fairly large number of classes.
Criterion 6. The semantic classes are narrowly defined. By a 'narrowly defined' semantic class, I mean one which encompasses a small percentage of words in the language as a whole.
Criterion 7. A much smaller percentage of the words which do not match the relevant phonological characterization fit into any class.
Criterion 8. Those words that do not match the relevant phonological characterization but which nevertheless do fit in the classification fit on average in a smaller percentage of classes, than those words which do match the phonological characterization.
Criterion 9. Any class in a Phonosemantic Classification can be defined narrowly enough that words not matching the relevant phonological characterization are excluded from it.

· Criteria 7 and 8 There are 295 monosyllables beginning with /b/ and 148 beginning with /l/ in my monosyllabic vocabulary. There were 4 words beginning with /b/ which did not fit in the Phonosemantic Classification designed for /b/, and all of these fit in the Concrete Noun classification. There are 4 words beginning with /l/ which do not fit in the Phonosemantic Classification designed specifically for /l/, and all of these were Concrete Nouns. Once again, all the exceptions to the Phonosemantic Classification are Concrete Nouns as evidence that the salience of iconic meaning in a word is related inversely to the concreteness of its reference. There were, however, 77 words beginning with /l/ which did not fit in any superclasses designed for /b/. Of these, 23 fit in the Concrete Noun classification. In addition, 24 words beginning with /l/ did not fit in any superclass designed for /b/. There are therefore 101 /l/-words -- or 68% -- that fit in no /b/ phonestheme.

Let me provide an example to clarify what I mean by /l/-words that fit in the /b/ superclasses, but not the /b/ phonesthemes. There is a /b/ superclass for explosions and breakage. There is also a /b/ phonestheme for verbs of breakage. The phoneme /l/ starts two words -- lance and lathe -- which are not verbs of cutting like the /b/ words, but nouns referring to tools or weapons which cut. These words therefore fit in the natural 'superclass' of breakage and cutting, but not in the particular phonestheme to which words beginning with /b/ are confined. Thus 'lance' and 'lathe' constitute 2 of these 24. Similarly, the verb 'leak' is a verb related to breakage, but unlike all the /b/ verbs, it is not itself a type of breaking or cutting. Words beginning with /b/ fit in the /b/-based classification an average of 3.3. times. Words beginning with /l/ fit in the /l/-based classification an average of 3.2. times. Words beginning with /l/ fit in the /b/-based classification an average of 3/10 times, or one tenth as frequently.

The example given above is typical of what happens. Notice that although most of the bulging, circular and bumpy words beginning with /b/ do contain an /l/, very few words which actually begin with /l/ refer to anything bulging, circular or bumpy. Most of the /l/-words that are in this bulging class contain either an /b/ or a /p/. The one counter-example is 'lung', which happens to be a Concrete Noun.

· Criterion 9 Notice that the /l/-words which do fit in this classification fit differently. This is easiest to see in comparing the word 'loop' with the circular words beginning with /b/. The 'loop' is a ring with a hole in the middle. The circular /b/ words that are hollow are 3-dimensional (and coincidentally contain an /l/). This 'loop' shape is typical of words containing /l/ in conjunction with other sounds beside /b/: leap, lip, lob and lop all involve that same 'loop'-shaped motion, though they are not themselves circles. (Leap, lip, lob and lop do not fit in this particular phonestheme with 'loop', because this phonestheme was reserved for nouns, not that there are any /b/ words involving circular motion.) When /b/ occurs before the /l/ in a 'bulging' word, the word tends to refer to some membrane or cover which is pushed outward from within by air or water pressure: ball, bloat, boil, bulge. Exceptions are blip, blob, bulb and boll. Three of four of these end in a labial stop and are semantically similar to 'lobe' in that they do not imply air or water pressure. The last two of these (bulb and boll) are Concrete Nouns.

· Criterion 9 One can see this loop-shape also when /l/ is not in initial position: claw, coil, curl, fleece, flounce, fold, kilt, plait, pleat, reel, roll, scroll, sleeve, sling, spool, swirl, twirl, whirl, whorl. It is less obvious in comparing 'lobe' and 'lump' with the 'bumpy' /b/-words. The words 'lump' and 'bump' both fall in the same Natural Class. What then is, after all, the difference between words like 'lump' and 'bump' and how do we learn that difference?

Because there is so little which distinguishes 'lump' and 'bump' on the classificational and referential levels, then if I am at all correct in my hypotheses regarding word semantics, much of the semantic difference between the two can be attributed to True Iconic meaning differences, that is, to the unmediated effect that the phoneme /l/ vs. /b/ has on the semantics of these words. Every English speaker subconsciously recognizes the difference between a 'bump' and a 'lump'. A 'bump' is harder, more immobile and attached to the surface. A lump is moister, softer, more mobile and tends to be below the skin or in the cookie dough. These tendencies toward moistness, mobility and softness are quite generally typical of /l/ vs. /b/. It therefore sounds strange to talk of a 'bump' in the cookie dough or a 'lump' in the road.

· Concrete Nouns: It is typical that only 4 Concrete Nouns beginning with /l/ do not fit in the Phonosemantic Classification designed for /l/, but 23 Concrete Nouns beginning with /l/ do not fit in the classification designed for /b/. A couple of examples may make clear why this is so. The animal 'leech' fits in an /l/ phonestheme of sucking and slurping, but not in any /b/ phonesthemes. 'Lamb' fits in an /l/ phonestheme for gentle things, but not in any /b/ class. 'Leaf' fits in an /l/ phonestheme for flat things, but not in any /b/ phonestheme... and so forth.

· Concrete Nouns: There is a considerable number of /l/ words which neither fit in the Concrete Noun classes nor in any of the /b/ superclasses. These do, however, fit in classes typical of /l/:

Little: least, less, light, lint
Lead, Late, Follow: last, late, lax, lead, left, lest, lorn
Land: land, lawn, lea, loam
Fall, Lay: land, lay, lean, leap, lie, log, low, lug
Launch: leap, lunge, lurch
Lazy/Limp: limp, lithe, loaf, loll, lop, lounge
Lift: leap, lift, lob, loft
To the Side: lean, left, limp
Flat: lawn, lay, leaf, ledge, lie
Get, Eat, Take, See: lap, learn, leech, leer, lick, lunch
Run/ Walk/ Jump: leap, lick, lilt, look, lope, lug
Long: lane, limb, line
Happy: life, lift, light
Attraction: like, love
Life: life, live, live
lewd, lie (fib), like (similar), loom, lunge

By looking at this classification, one can begin to see what types of things /l/ conveys that /b/ does not. The phoneme /l/ conveys elements of linearity, light, laziness and loving where /b/ conveys bumpiness, burdens, business and brutality.

 




4.5 Experiment 5 -- Monolingual Classification First by Semantic Domain, then by Phoneme -- Words of Motion on Foot

See Appendix V for full data and results. -- Results are also listed in full below.

4.5.1 Methodology

· Locate all the words in a language which fit some narrowly defined semantic characterization. Try to insure insofar as possible that all these words fit in the same natural subclass, so that their referents, part of speech, argument structure, semantic class, etc. differ as little as possible. This tends to be easier to do with words other than the Concrete Nouns.

· In this case, I have used the monosyllabic words in my English vocabulary which in at least one of their senses refer to motion necessarily on foot. In this case I have excluded many words which may be verbs of walking, running, etc. and included only those for which the movement must be with the feet. For example, the verb 'stalk' is omitted, because it is grammatical to say that one stalks someone in a car as well as on foot. All the verbs of departure beginning with /b/ are omitted, because although in most cases the departure can be on foot, the mode of leaving is not specified inherently in the word, and any means of transport is possible. However, verbs of stamping, hopping and dancing which are not verbs implying motion from one point to another, but which necessarily involve the feet are included.

· Classify these by common phonological traits and attempt to determine whether individual phonemes are contributing specific aspects of meaning.


4.5.2 Example

This is a small scale test, so I include the relevant data here in its entirety. 1 -- initial position, 2 -- second position, 3 - third position, F3 -- final position, F2 -- pre-final position, F1 -- 3rd from last position:

/H/, /z/, /Z/, /f/, /T/, /S/ -- no verbs of motion on foot contain these phonemes

/b/
1
Run, Jump - bound
/d/
1
Dance - dance
F3
Walk - plod, pound, stride, tread, wade, wend
Step - pound, tread
Run, Jump - bound
/g/
F3
Walk - slog
Run - jog
/p/
1
Walk - pace, plod, pound, prance
Step - pound
2
Run - sprint
Jump - spring
F3
Walk - tramp, trip, tromp, troop
Crawl - creep
Limp - limp
Step - stamp, step, stomp, tamp, tramp, tromp
Run - lope, romp, skip
Jump - hop, jump, leap, skip
/t/
1
Walk - tramp, tread, trek, trip, tromp, troop
Step - tamp
Run - trot
2
Walk - steal, stomp, stray, stride, stroll, strut
Step - stamp, step
F2
Walk - waltz
Dance - waltz
F3
Walk - strut
Run - sprint, trot
Skate, Ski - skate
/k/
1
Walk
Crawl - crawl, creep
2
Walk
Climb - scale
Run - skip
Skate, Ski - skate, ski
Jump - skip
F3
Walk - hike, trek
/v/
F3
Walk - rove
/s/
1
Walk - slog, steal, stray, stride, stroll, strut
Climb - scale
Step - stamp, step, stomp
Run - skip, sprint
Skate, Ski - skate, ski
Jump - skip, spring
F3
Walk - pace, prance, waltz
Step - prance, trounce
Dance - dance, waltz
/h/
1
Walk - hike
Jump - hop
/J/
1
Jump - jump
F3
Walk - trudge
Step - trudge
/C/
F3
Walk - march
/m/
1
Walk - march
F2
Walk - tramp, tromp
Limp - limp
Step - stamp, stomp, tamp, tramp, tromp
Run - romp
Jump - jump
F3
Walk - roam
/n/
F2
Walk - pound, prance, wend
Step - pound, trounce
Run - bound
Dance - dance
Jump - bound
/G/
F3
Run - spring
Jump - spring
/l/
1
Walk - limp
Run - lope
Jump - leap
2
Walk - plod
F1
Walk - waltz
Dance - waltz
F3
Walk - steal, stroll
Crawl - crawl
Climb - scale
/r/
1
Walk - roam, rove
Run - romp, run
2
Walk - prance, tramp, tread, trek, trip, tromp, troop, trounce, trudge
Crawl - crawl, creep
Step - tramp, tread
Run - trot
3
Walk - stray, stride, stroll, strut
Run - spring, sprint
Jump - spring
F2
Walk - march
/w/
1
Walk - wade, walk, waltz, wend
Dance - waltz
F2
Walk - rove, stroll, troop, trounce
Step - trounce
/j/
F2
Walk - hike
Crawl - creep, leap, steal, stride
Climb - scale
Jump - leap
Skate, Ski - skate
F3
Walk - stray
Skate, Ski - ski


4.5.3 Discussion of Findings

None of the words in this experiment have concrete reference, so this test provides no evidence for or against the inverse relationship of concreteness to the salience of iconic meaning. The experiment also provides only indirect evidence for general character of Phonosemantic Association. However it provides direct evidence for Iconism proper. It does not do much toward affirming the criteria for the Phonosemantic Classification, which primarily tests for Clustering. However, the test does provides some evidence for criterion 9:

Criterion 9. Any class in a Phonosemantic Classification can be defined narrowly enough that words not matching the relevant phonological characterization are excluded from it.

But it does provide strong evidence in this way for the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. (Recall that a phoneme is defined only within its language. The phoneme /b/ in one language is not the same as the phoneme /b/ in others.

Phonosemantic Hypothesis

In every language of the world, every word containing a given phoneme has some specific element of meaning which is lacking in words not containing that phoneme. In this sense, we can say that every phoneme is meaning-bearing. The meaning that the phoneme bears is rooted in its articulation.

· The following is a comparison of how frequently the consonant phonemes appear in monosyllabic verbs of walking vs. monosyllables in the language overall:

Total Monosyllables: 3425
Total Verbs of Walking: 48
Phoneme Total Words % of Eng Walking Verbs %
 
b 352 10.3% 1 2%
d 399 11.6% 7 15%
g 266 7.8% 2 4%
p 502 14.7% 23 48%
t 723 21.1% 21 44%
k 649 18.9% 8 17%
v 99 2.9% 1 2%
H 32 .9% 0 0%
z 111 3.2% 0 0%
Z 5 .1% 0 0%
f 320 9.3% 0 0%
T 93 2.7% 0 0%
s 812 23.7% 21 44%
S 288 8.4% 0 0%
h 153 4.5% 2 4%
J 132 3.9% 2 4%
C 187 5.5% 1 2%
m 370 10.8% 10 21%
n 496 14.5% 5 10%
G 45 1.3% 1 2%
l 745 21.8% 9 19%
r 912 26.6% 23 48%
w 261 7.6% 4 8%
j 158 4.6% 2 4%
 
 
Phonemes that appear much less frequently in walking verbs than in the language generally are:
/b/, /f/, /S/
 
Phonemes that are too rare for statistics to be meaningful are:
/v/, /H/, /z/, /Z/, /T/, /G/, /j/
 
Phonemes which occur in walking verbs with about the same frequency as in the language generally:
/d/, /g/, /k/, /h/, /J/, /C/, /n/, /l/, /w/
 
Phonemes which occur in walking verbs much more frequently than in the language generally:
/p/, /t/, /s/, /m/, /r/

· There is a subclass of walking verbs which contain predominantly those phonemes which occur much more frequently in walking verbs than in the language generally (/p/, /t/, /s/, /m/, /r/). It's very difficult to determine the effect of a phoneme in such small classes of words by examining one phoneme at a time, but by looking at classes of this type the patterning becomes much more apparent:

Most of the verbs of jumping contain a /p/. All 'jumping' verbs contain a labial stop:
bound, hop, jump, leap, skip, spring
 
Those that end in /mp/ imply a heavy landing compared to those that end in /p/ immediately preceded by a vowel.
jump, limp, romp, stamp, stomp, tamp, tramp, tromp
creep, lope, skip, step, trip, troop
 
One can see the effects of various consonants especially clearly in the verbs ending in /p/ and containing /t/ in the onset. There's often a verticality implicit in this combination throughout English (steep, stoop, tip, top, trip, topple). The /t//p/ combination also occurs in verbs of contact or touching whether using the feet and not (stamp, stipple, strap, tap, tamp, tamper, tape, trap, type)
Final /mp/ -- Something is Pressed or Mashed Underfoot:
stamp, stomp, tamp, tramp, tromp
Initial /tr/ -- Forward Motion
tramp, trip, tromp, troop
Initial /st/ -- Immobility, Stopping
stamp, step, stomp (out)

Those (non-jumping) verbs containing /p/ which also contain a liquid imply forward motion. Those verbs that contain a /p/ or have a dental stop after the vowel in general emphasize discrete steps as opposed to those that don't. All verbs that don't contain a /p/ imply forward motion:

Discrete Steps
Stationary Contain /p/ and no liquid:
pace, pound, stamp, step, stomp, tamp
Forward Motion -- Contain /p/ and a liquid:
creep, lope, limp, plod, prance, romp, sprint, tramp, trip, tromp, troop
Forward Motion -- [d,t] after the Vowel:
march, skate, stride, strut, tread, trot, trudge, waltz
No Discrete Steps -- no /p/ or [d,t] after the vowel:
roam, rove, run, scale, ski, slog, steal, stray, stroll, trek, trounce
 
Most verbs of running contain an /r/. All contain a liquid:
lope, romp, run, sprint

· Other phonemes also predispose walking verbs to take on a narrower set of meanings than would be the case if phonology had no effect on semantics:8

final /d/ -- Implies an obstacle that has to be worked through
bound, plod, pound, stride, tread, wade, wend
 
final /g/ -- Implies heavy physical labor
jog, slog
 
non-initial /k/ -- implies a surface or area being covered
hike, scale, skate, ski, skip, trek
 
initial /k/ -- implies a crouched position
crawl, creep
 
initial /h/ -- often implies an uneven hop or limp, not so visible in monosyllables:
hackney, halt, hitch, hobble, hock, hop, hulk, hunch, hunker, hurdle
 
pre-final /n/ -- bounce
bound, dance, pound, prance, trounce
 
initial /l/ (with /p/) -- loop-shaped motion
leap, limp, lope
 
final /l/ -- prolonged motion
scale, steal, stroll, crawl
 
initial /w/ -- back and forth motion
wade, waltz, wend
walk




4.6 Experiment 6 -- Monolingual Classification First by Semantic Domain, then by Phoneme -- Classes Typical of Certain Phonetic Features -- The Bias in the Labials

See Appendix VI for full data and results.

4.6.1 Methodology

· Locate all the words in a language which fit some narrowly defined semantic characterization. I used all the English monosyllables in my active vocabulary which fall in the following semantic classes.These classes were selected because I know them to emphasize the labials:

Bulges, Mountains, Humps and Peaks
Fountains and Blowing
Foundations
Beginnings
Pairs, Names, Pictures, Symbols

· Classify them by common phonological traits and attempt to determine whether individual phonemes are contributing specific elements of meaning to the word.


4.6.2 Example

Round Words

Initial Position
/b/ -- bale, ball, bay, bead, bell, blimp, blip, blob, blotch, bowl, bulb
/p/ -- pea, pearl, pill, pip, pit, plate, pock, pod, point, pore, puck
/r/ -- reel, ring, rink, roll, round, wrap, wreath, wrench, wrest, wring, wrist
/w/ -- waist, wheel, whirl, whorl
 
2nd Position
/p/ -- spin, spool
/r/ -- drill
/w/ -- swing, swirl, twirl, twist
 
3rd Position
/r/ -- screw, scroll, spring
 
Pre-Final Position
/m/ -- blimp
/r/ -- arc, arch, cirque, curl, earth, gear, girth, knurl, orb, pearl, swirl, torque, turn, twirl, whirl, whorl, world
/w/ -- bowl, coil, coin, cone, dome, globe, hole, hoop, loop, noose, orb, pore, roll, round, scroll, slouch
 
Final Position
/b/ -- blob, bulb, glob, globe, knob, lob, lobe, loop, orb
/p/ -- blimp, blip, drop, glop, grape, loop
/m/ -- dome
/r/ -- gear, spire, spur
/w/ -- screw
 
Percentages of words in above table which contain:
/b/ -- 14%, /p/ -- 30%, /v/ -- 0%, /f/ -- 0%, /m/ -- 3%, /r/ -- 48%, /w/ -- 30%
Monosyllabic 'round' words which do not contain a labial: disk
 
 
 

Curves and Ripples

Initial Position
/b/ -- bay, bend, bight, bilge, bow, bowl
/p/ -- plait, pleat, press, purl, purse
/v/ -- vault, veer
/f/ -- flare, flounce, flute, fold, frill, furl
/r/ -- rill, rock, roll, row, write, writhe
/w/ -- wad, wag, wake, wale, wall, warp, wave, wax, weave, web, weft, well, wend, whip, whirl, whorl, wick, worm, woof, worst/ed
 
2nd Position
/r/ -- crease, frill, press
/w/ -- squirm, swab, swap, swash, swat, sway, sweep, swell, swerve,swing, swipe, swirl, swish, swoop, twirl
 
Pre-Final Position
/p/ -- apse
/f/ -- weft, woof
/m/ -- clump
/r/ -- arc, arch, cirque, curl, curve, furl, girth, gnarl, knurl, purl, purse, squirm, swerve, swirl, turn, twirl, warp, whirl, whorl
/w/ -- bowl, cove, flounce, fold, loop, roll
 
Final Position
/b/ -- lob, lobe
/p/ -- clump, cusp, leap, loop, warp
/v/ -- cove, curve, swerve, wave, weave
/m/ -- squirm, worm
/r/ -- flare, gear, spire, spur, veer
/w/ -- bow, row
 
Percentages of words in above table which contain:
/b/ -- 15%, /p/ -- 21%, /v/ -- 9%, /f/ -- 10%, /m/- 4%, /r/ -- 41%, /w/ -- 55%
Monosyllabic curvy/ripply words which do not contain a labial: hunch, kink, sag, tuck


4.6.3 Discussion of Findings

Like the previous experiment, this experiment involves no words with concrete referents and is aimed primarily at detecting Iconism, as opposed to Clustering. It therefore does not directly address classification. However, as it the previous experiment, it provides evidence for criterion 9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis:

Criterion 9. Any class in a Phonosemantic Classification can be defined narrowly enough that words not matching the relevant phonological characterization are excluded from it.

As in the previous experiment, classifications first by semantic domain and then by phonological form are helpful in getting an oversight over natural semantic domains. In addition, by selecting semantic domains in which labials appear disproportionately frequently, one can get a sense for the semantics of phonetic features and for how individual phonemes which are marked for those features pattern relative to them.

This experiment verifies that these classes do indeed overwhelmingly favor labial consonants. Furthermore, we find as in the previous experiment, that within such limited semantic domains, individual consonants do seem to have quite specific semantic effects.


4.6.3.1. Tendency for Certain Semantic Classes to Have Disproportionately Many Labials

Labial consonants appear in 96% of words in the following semantic domains. In the language generally, they appear in 68% of monosyllabic words:

Bulges, Mountains, Humps and Peaks
Fountains and Blowing
Foundations
Beginnings
Pairs, Names, Pictures, Symbols
These semantic domains and several others including:
Emptiness and Bareness
Impediments
Binding and Fastening
Departure and Separation
Better, Prime, More, Chief, Pro

both contain disproportionately many labials and have a semantic element in common which I describe as a 'bias'. This bias manifests geometrically as a hump, peak, mound or incline. The bias involves a 'ground' state and a second part which is offset from this ground state. For the purposes of this experiment, I have considered American /r/ to be a labial. It is pronounced with rounded lips and unlike /l/, it patterns with the labials semantically.


4.6.3.2. Tendency for Labials to Appear Disproportionately in Certain Semantic Classes

This disproportion toward the labials in these groups can be seen also by taking the inverse statistics, namely by observing what percentage of words containing a given consonant fall into these classes. I find once again that the labials usually fall in the highest percentiles:

Consonant Percentages in Monosyllabic 'Bumpy' Words
Total 'Bumpy' Words:
298 Total Monosyllables: 3425 Percent: 8.7%
Consonant b p f r w l s t n m v
# Bumpy 81 97 46 128 107 99 87 68 49 33 8
Total 373 532 333 1008 858 798 858 797 560 396 109
% Bumpy 22% 18% 14% 13% 12% 12% 10% 8% 8% 8% 7%
Consonant y ng k g sh h ch j d z th
# Bumpy 64 8 48 17 10 10 12 7 24 6 1
Total 927 106 698 278 158 156 187 133 431 115 93
% Bumpy 7% 7% 7% 6% 6% 6% 6% 5% 5% 5% 1%
 Consonant dh zh                  
# Bumpy 0 0                  
Total 33 5                  
% Bumpy 0% 0%                  

************

Consonant Percentages in Monosyllabic 'Fountain/Blow' Words
Total 'Fountain/Blow' Words:
160 Total Monosyllables: 3425 Percent: 4.7%
Consonant p f sh l s t r b w n m
# Bumpy 66 39 11 48 55 44 54 20 37 21 14
Total 532 333 158 798 858 797 1008 373 858 560 396
% Bumpy 12% 12% 7% 6% 6% 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4%
Consonant d z th dh v ng ch j y k h
# Bumpy 17 3 3 1 2 2 4 2 13 10 0
Total 431 115 93 33 109 106 187 133 927 698 156
% Bumpy 4% 3% 3% 3% 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 0%
 Consonant g zh                  
# Bumpy 1 0                  
Total 287 5                  
% Bumpy 0% 0%                  

************

Consonant Percentages in Monosyllabic 'Foundation/Support/Base' Words
Total 'Foundation/Support/Base' Words:
260 Total Monosyllables: 3425 Percent: 7.6%
Consonant m b f r p v t s n d l
# Bumpy 53 46 39 122 61 11 70 70 38 27 45
Total 396 373 333 1008 532 109 797 858 560 431 798
% Bumpy 13% 12% 12% 12% 11% 10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 6%
Consonant k g z h ch j y sh th dh ng
# Bumpy 41 14 6 8 9 6 37 4 3 1 2
Total 698 287 115 156 187 133 927 158 93 33 106
% Bumpy 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 4% 3% 3% 3% 2%
2% w zh                  
# Bumpy 20 0                  
Total 858 5                  
% Bumpy 2% 0%                  

************

Consonant Percentages in Monosyllabic 'Beginning' Words
Total 'Beginning' Words:
211 Total Monosyllables: 3425 Percent: 6.1%
Consonant r v b d g p f m w n t
# Bumpy 117 131 35 39 25 42 25 30 62 40 42
Total 1008 109 373 431 278 532 333 396 858 560 797
% Bumpy 12% 12% 9% 9% 9% 8% 8% 8% 7% 7% 5%
Consonant z th s j sh h ng ch k l y
# Bumpy 6 5 40 6 6 7 4 6 20 23 25
Total 115 93 858 133 158 156 106 187 698 798 927
% Bumpy 5% 5% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4% 3% 3% 3% 3%
2% dh zh                  
# Bumpy 0 0                  
Total 33 5                  
% Bumpy 0% 0%                  

************

Consonant Percentages in Monosyllabic 'Pair/Copy' Words
Total 'Pair/Copy' Words:
78 Total Monosyllables: 3425 Percent: 2.3%
Consonant m v p dh t b d k f th s
# Bumpy 19 4 23 1 26 6 9 13 7 2 19
Total 396 109 532 33 797 373 431 698 333 93 858
% Bumpy 5% 4% 4% 3% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2%
Consonant n l r w ch sh h y zh ng z
# Bumpy 9 12 23 21 36 2 2 15 0 0 0
Total 560 798 1008 858 187 158 156 927 5 106 115
% Bumpy 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 0% 0% 0%
2% dh zh                  
# Bumpy 0 0                  
Total 133 5                  
% Bumpy 0% 0%                  

From perusing the above tables, one can observe that the various labials pattern variously relative to these classes. For instance, /m/ and /p/ occur more frequently in words referring to pairs, copies, pictures, reproductions, molds, mates and the like, but /f/ and /b/ do not. This aspect of /f/ and /b/ rather tends to manifest as 'front' (forth, fore, etc.) and 'back' (base, bottom, etc.). Furthermore, within a given broad semantic domain, different labials tend to cluster toward specific sub-domains of the larger domain. For example, in the first semantic sub-domain discussed above, that of bulges, humps, peaks and mounds, one finds the following patterns:

· All the /w/ words in this class involve motion, and most of these refer to some aspect of waves on the water.
· The appearance of fricatives (/f/ and /v/) in this class is very limited.
· All the /m/ words in this class also contain either /w/ or /p/.
· All the /r/ words in this class contain /k/ or /p/.

This again is an example of what was observed in the previous experiment, namely that within narrow natural semantic domains, one observes the effect of phonology on word semantics to be quite specific.

If one peruses these two sets of sample data, one can observe that the 'round' words contain a higher percentage of Concrete Nouns. Let me now more carefully consider a few words and phonesthemes from the 'Mountains, Humps and Peaks' classes, which lend themselves nicely to phonosemantic analysis:

Observations

Words Containing /b/ - bloat, blouse, bulge, bump, bunch

· The words containing /l/ imply some kind of liquid or gas pressing outward against a membrane.

· In the word 'bunch' a collapse is implied, as is the case with many words ending in /nC/ (scrunch, munch, cinch, pinch, etc.) (This /nC/ can be further analyzed into /n/ and /C/. The /n/ is responsible for the 'narrowness' or compactness in these words. The /C/ implies directed pressure (/t/) against something soft or fragile which resists it (/S/).)

/mp/ Class - bump, clump, hump, lump, plump, pump, rump, slump, stump

· I'll consider here all the /mp/ words that imply a rounded forms rather than just the verbs of bulging. First observe what aspects of these words are unrelated to their Iconic sound meaning. The words, 'bump, clump, lump, slump' can be either verbs which create a form, or nouns describing the form itself. The words 'slump', 'hump', and 'rump' have an aspect of meaning which is arbitrary, namely that they are prototypically predicated of or attached to the back. The word 'pump' can be a verb or a Concrete Noun for an instrument which performs the action referred to by the verb. The word 'plump' can only be an adjective predicated prototypically of a person or animal and by metaphorical extension predicated of other things which resemble a belly (pies, for example). The word 'stump' has a verbal sense which has nothing to do with lumpiness. Therefore the only related senses of 'rump' and 'stump' are Concrete Nouns. The aspects of the meanings of these words which is not affected by Iconism include the fact that 'rump' is a body part and the fact that 'stump' is part of a tree. As these two aspects of meaning are so salient in these two nouns, I'll not use them further in the comparison.

· The two words that start with a /p/, at least to my feeling, imply a nearly perfect spherical shape (a pumped ball, a plump ball). Perfection and roundness are very common in /p/. Lumps and bumps and humps and clumps are not necessarily so perfectly shaped.

· A 'bump' is hard and permanently affixed to the surface of something. A 'clump' results from 'clustering' things together. A 'hump' differs from a 'bump' in that its top is always the highest point on the thing which it is attached to. It also is prototypically attached to an animal's back, a fact which is not determined by Iconism. A lump is under the surface, rather than on top, and it can move around. A 'slump' also prototypically is attributed to the back, and it is considered a dysfunction. The 'dysfunction' aspect of 'slump' falls in a phonestheme and thus although not truly Iconic is affected by a Clustering dynamic. But the fact that 'slump' is predicated of the back, is not in any way related to its phonological form as far as I can see. The aspect of the meaning of 'slump' which is Iconically determined by the /sl/ is the fact that it implies a smooth, natural, downward movement. The /l/ in 'clump', 'lump' and 'slump' correlates with flexibility and/or mobility.

Compression - bunch, clump, press, purse, wring

· These words either have a nasal in the rhyme or contain the consonants /p//r//s/ in that order.

· 'Bunches' are created by 'binding' and 'clumps' by 'clustering'. A 'bunch' generally implies that a 'band' is wrapped around a group of objects and drawn tight. The objects in a 'clump' do not require a 'band' around them, because they cohere naturally. This quality is very pervasive in /k/.

· The /p//r//s/ words involve two surfaces which are pressed together.

· Wringing involves a circular motion

Some Verbs of Roundness

1. Cause Something to Turn -- spin, swing, swirl, turn, twirl, twist, whirl

2. Wind Something into a Round Shape -- curl, reel, roll, twist, wring

· Many of these words contain /r/ followed by /l/ and many contain a /w/.

· /w//r//l/ -- The words which contain /w/ and end on /rl/ imply that the object spun is rotating on its own very fast. One generally 'twirls' a linear object of rigid shape which does not itself change form as a result of twirling. However, one swirls something which itself changes form, such as a liquid. The verb 'whirl' can be applied to rigid objects or liquids and can be used synonymously with either 'twirl' or 'swirl' in most cases.

· /G/ -- When one 'swings' something, as opposed to swirling', 'twirling' or 'whirling' it, one doesn't let go of it. It 'hangs' onto something, though it can continue to move circularly after one has stopped 'swinging' it.

· /p/ -- When one 'spins' something, it rotates along a surface resting on a single point (a single point is very typical of /p/).

· final /st/ -- When one 'twists' something, it is 'stuck'. It requires some force to unstick it. The combination /st/ implies a static state in many words, which is to a large extent a result of Clustering.

· Pre-Final /r/ -- When /r/ immediately follows another consonants and precedes the vowel, the word tends to involve straightness or flatness. But when /r/ follows the vowel and precedes a final consonant, the word general implies some kind of curve, swerve, warp, twirl or turn. The nature of the curve depends on the final consonant. If the final consonant is an /l/, the turn is generally rapid and has its own momentum.

Obviously, one can proceed in this vein for a long time. I present these examples only to clarify what aspects of meaning one can find in a word and which of these are attributable to reference, argument structure, selectional restrictions, Clustering and Iconism.

 




4.7 Experiment 7 -- Multi-Lingual Classification First by Semantic Domain, then by Phoneme -- Words Referring to Locations

See Appendix VII for full data and results.

4.7.1 Methodology

· Select words from a relatively broad natural semantic class -- one which can be subclassified into smaller natural subdomains. In this case, all the monosyllabic roots in my English vocabulary which refer to a location were chosen. Words for 'location' are fairly evenly distributed throughout the phonemes. Other very broad (non-concrete) classes which are evenly distributed include words for time, emotion, groups of things, verbs of motion, words with positive connotations, words with negative connotations. These classes also do show some phonosemantic disproportions, but they are so large that all the phonemes are well represented in each class.

· Select a subset of these words which have a common phonological trait. In this case locations beginning with the consonant /b/ were chosen.

· Create a Phonosemantic Classification for this subset of words. (The reader will recall that a Phonosemantic Classification is a specific subset of a Natural Classification.)

· Create a different Natural Classification (into the subdomains) for the same set of words. There should be few words fitting the phonological characterization chosen in (b) which do not fit in both classifications. Here I must make a comment on this second Natural Classification. For every large semantic class, the language has natural cross-phonemic sub-classes organized by referent, or the Semantic Relation of metonymy/hyponymy. These classes are functionally determined, and in this respect, they are similar to concrete classes. For example, words for emotion break down into the primary emotions recognized by English -- anger, sadness, fear, happiness (which has a subset of funny words), etc.. Verbs of motion include verbs of motion on foot, by vehicle (again broken down by the type of vehicle), verbs of spinning, verbs of sliding, etc.. These basic classes are not essentially phonosemantic. They do not meet the additional criteria of a Phonosemantic Classification. For the purposes of this discussion, I will call them Functional Classifications.

· Choose a second subset of words in this original broad semantic domain which have a different phonological trait in common. In this case, location words beginning with /g/ and /n/ were chosen.

· Classify these words according to both the phonosemantic and the functional classifications designed for the first set of words.

· Repeat the preceding steps for a different language. In this case, all Russian roots beginning with /b/ and /t/ which appear in Ozhegov's Slovar' russkogo Iazyka and which refer to a location were chosen. Roots beginning with /g/ and /n/ were not used, because the few which did occur in Russian were almost all loan words. Many of the /b/ and /t/ location words also are loans, but there are many more of them and a much higher percentage of them are native Russian


4.7.2 Example

All the data from Appendix VII are included here:

Location Words Beginning with /b/
Functional Classification
Cosmic
Geographical -- basin, bay, bayou, belt, bend, bog, border, brink, butte
Political -- borough, burg
Streets -- boulevard, bridge
City Part -- beat, block
Home -- barn, barrack, base, bivouac, blind, bode, bungalow, bunker
Institutions/Businesses -- bank, bar, booth, boutique, brothel, bureau
Building Part -- balcony
Direction -- back, bottom, breech, by
Furniture -- bed, berth, bunk
Other -- babel
Exceptions: 3% (i.e. the word 'babel' doesn't fit in any of the above classes)
 
Location Words Beginning with /b/
Phonosemantic Classification
Container/Storage/Building -- bank, barn, barrack, belt, block, bode, booth, borough, boutique, bungalow, bunker, bureau
Backlogged/Boggy -- babel, back, bay, bayou, blind, bog
Connection/Road -- belt, bend, boulevard, bridge, by
Base/Bottom -- base, basin, bottom, breech
Sex/Alcohol -- bar, booth, boutique, brothel
Border -- balcony, border, brink
Bed -- bed, berth, bunk
Bump/Bulge -- bend, butte
Other -- beat(police), bivouac, burg
Exceptions: 1%
 
Location Words Beginning with /g/
Functional Classification
Cosmic -- galaxy, globe
Geographical -- gill, glacier, glade, glen, gorge, groove, grotto, ground, gulf, gully
Political -- grant
Streets -- gate
City Part -- garden, ghetto, green, grounds, gutter
Home --
Institutions/Businesses -- gallery, garrison, grange, guild
Building Part -- gallery, garage, garret, gate
Direction -- goal
Furniture -- garderobe
Other -- grave
Exceptions: 4%
 
Location Words Beginning with /g/
Phonosemantic Classification for /b/ Words
Backlogged/Boggy -- gulf, gutter
Base/Bottom -- ground, grave
Container/Storage/Building -- gallery, garage, garderobe, garret, garrison, grotto
Bump/Bulge -- globe
Border -- gate
Connection/Road -- gate
Sex/Alcohol
Bed
Other -- galaxy, garden, ghetto, gill, glacier, glade, glen, goal, gorge, grange, grant, green, groove, grounds, gully
Exceptions: 46%
 
Location Words Beginning with /n/
Functional Classification
Cosmic -- nadir, node
Geographical -- knob, knoll, narrows, neck, niche, nipple, node, notch
Political --
Streets --
City Part --
Home -- nest
Institutions/Businesses --
Building Part -- narthex, nave
Direction -- near, nether, next, nigh, north
Furniture --
Other -- nook
Exceptions: 5%
 
Location Words Beginning with /n/
Phonosemantic Classification for /b/ Words
Backlogged/Boggy --
Base/Bottom -- nadir, nether
Container/Storage/Building --
Bump/Bulge -- knob, knoll, nipple, node
Border --
Connection/Road -- node
Sex/Alcohol --
Bed --
Other -- narrows, narthex, nave, near, neck, next, niche, nigh, nook, north, notch
Exceptions: 58%
***********
 
Location Words Beginning with /b/ -- Russian
Functional Classification
Cosmic -- bytie (world (in the Biblical sense), existence)
Geographical -- bassejn (pool), balka (gully), banka (shoal), barxan (sand hill), bereg (shore), boloto (swamp), bor (pine forest), borozda (fissure), bort (side), bresh; (gap), brovka (edge), brod (ford), bugor (knoll), buxta (bay)
Political -- bord'yur (border)
Streets -- bul'var (boulevard)
City Part -- blok (block)
Home -- barak (barrack), berloga (den), besedka (summer house), bivak (bivouac), bunker (bunker)
Institutions/Businesses -- bank (bank), banya (sauna), bar (bar), bir'a (exchange), bojnya (slaughter house), budka (booth), byuro (office)
Building Part -- balyustrada (balustrade), bastion (bastion), bashnya (tower), benuar (theater box), boks (isolation cubicle), brustver (parapet)
Direction --
Furniture -- buduar (boudoir)
Other -- baxcha (low-lying field), byk (pier)
Exceptions: 5%
 
Location Words Beginning with /b/ -- Russian
Phonosemantic Classification for /b/ Words
Backlogged/Boggy -- bassejn (pool), baxcha (low-lying field), boloto (swamp), buxta (bay)
Base/Bottom -- baza (base), balka (gully), bassejn (basin)
Container/Storage/Building -- baza (base), bank (bank), banya (sauna), barak (barrack), benuar (theater box), berloga (den), besedka (summer house), bivak (bivouac), bir'a (exchange), blok (block), bojnya (slaughter house), boks (isolation cubicle), budka (booth), buduar (boudoir), bunker (bunker), byuro (office), byk (pier)
Bump/Bulge -- barxan (sand hill), bawnya (tower), bugor (knoll)
Border -- balyustrada (balustrade), banka (shoal), bastion (bastion), bereg (shore), bord'yur (border), borozda (fissure), bort (side), bresh; (gap), brovka (edge), brod (ford), brustver (parapet)
Connection/Road -- brod (ford), bul'var (boulevard)
Sex/Alcohol -- bar (bar)
Bed -
Other -- bor (pine forest), bytie (world, existence)
Exceptions: 5%
 
Location Words Beginning with /t/ -- Russian
Functional Classification
Cosmic --
Geographical -- tundra (tundra)
Political --
Streets -- trakt (highway), tupik (blind alley)
City Part --
Home -- tabor (camp)
Institutions/Businesses -- taverna (tavern), teatr (theater), traktir (tavern), tyur'ma (prison)
Building Part -- tambur (lobby), terem (tower room), terrasa (terrace)
Direction -- tuda (there), tut (here), tyl (rear)
Furniture --
Other -- ten; (shade), t'ma (dark)
Exceptions: 13%
 
Location Words Beginning with /t/ -- Russian
Phonosemantic Classification for /b/ Words
Backlogged/Boggy -- tryasina (quagmire), tupik (blind alley), tyl (rear)
Base/Bottom --
Container/Storage/Building -- taverna (tavern), tambur (lobby), teatr (theater), terrasa (terrace), terem (tower room), tualet (bathroom), tyur'ma (prison)
Bump/Bulge --
Border -- tyn (stockade)
Connection/Road -- trakt (highway)
Sex/Alcohol -- taverna (tavern)
Bed --
Other -- tabor (camp), ten; (shade), truyueba (slum), tuda (there), tundra (tundra), tut (here), t'ma (dark)
Exceptions: 35%


4.7.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment provides evidence for all criteria 1-9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. It also provides interesting evidence for the general character of Phonosemantic Association and Iconism, because it is cross-linguistic.

This experiment allows one to sense more clearly what the difference between the phonesthemes and the more general Natural Classes are and how words pattern relative to each of them. By using classifications designed for one language to categorize words in another language, one also gets a better sense for what is universal and what is language specific.

Location Words Beginning with /b/ -- English
Natural classification: Exceptions: 3%
Phonosemantic Classification: Exceptions: 1%
 
Location Words Beginning with /g/ -- English
Functional Classification: Exceptions: 4%
Phonosemantic Classification for /b/ Words: Exceptions: 46%
 
Location Words Beginning with /n/ -- English
Functional Classification: Exceptions: 5%
Phonosemantic Classification for /b/ Words: Exceptions: 58%
 
Location Words Beginning with /b/ -- Russian
Functional Classification: Exceptions: 5%
Phonosemantic Classification for English /b/ Words: Exceptions: 5%
 
Location Words Beginning with /t/ -- Russian
Functional Classification: Exceptions: 11%
Phonosemantic Classification for English /b/ Words: Exceptions: 35%

As predicted, words referring to locations beginning with /g/ or /n/ fit nicely in the Functional Classification, but not in the Phonosemantic Classification created for words beginning with /b/. This pattern seems to hold even when we apply the experiment to a different language.

The phoneme /g/ along with the other voiced and labial stops appears in disproportionately many words referring to containers. Notice that one class which many location words beginning with /g/ refer to valleys: gill, glen, gorge, grave, groove, grotto, gulch, gulf, gully, gutter. Some of these do fit into the 'backlogged' and 'bottom' classes of the /b/-based Phonosemantic Classification, but the 'valley' class is better, because it includes a greater percentage of the location words beginning with /g/. In other words, 'valley' rather than 'backlogged' and 'bottom' results in a classification for words beginning with /g/ which better fits criteria 1-4 for a Natural Classification. A large percentage of location words beginning with /g/ also refer to parks and other open green areas. These are completely unrepresented in /b/. Notice that these words tend to contain an /r/ which occurs in many other words concerning growth and increase: garden, glade, grange, grant, green, grounds.

Similarly, the words referring to bumps contain the phoneme /n/ even more frequently than /b/, but the bump-words which contain /n/ are small and knob-like (bend, butte vs. knob, knoll, nipple, node). Disproportionately many words beginning with /n/ refer to nearness (narrows, near, neck, next, niche, nigh, nook) and smallness (knob, knoll, narrows, neck, niche, nipple, node, notch, nest, nook).

The fact that we get very similar results for Russian words as for English words, even though the classification was originally designed for English is consistent with the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. This is a relatively small-scale experiment. Therefore the quantity of data is too small to take the exact percentages too seriously. Still, it is adequate to provide strong evidence for two important hypotheses. One is that there are different kinds of possible Natural Classifications for Location words, some of which are sensitive to sound and others that are not. The other is that there is a very clear tendency for Russian /b/ words to favor the English /b/ phonesthemes more than do Russian /t/ words.

 




4.8 Experiment 8 -- Positional Iconism, Comparison of Similar Phonemes

See Appendix VIII for full data and results.

4.8.1 Methodology

· Locate all the monosyllabic words or roots which contain each of two phonemes and which fall within a given natural semantic class. The broadest range of data can be found by selecting phonemes which can occur in many positions within the syllable. In this case, all English monosyllables in my vocabulary which contain /l/ or /r/ and which fall in one of the following semantic classes were chosen:

Non-Vehicular Motion
Vehicular Motion
Liquid in Motion
Sound
Speech
Make Active, Scare /r/ -- Calm, Slow Down /l/
Curse or Criticize
Roads
 
· Sort the words by position within the syllable
· Observe what effect (if any) position has on the syllable.
· Compare analogous words containing each of the two phonemes.


4.8.2 Example

Non-Vehicular Motion
Position: 1
/r/ Characterization: General running or walking, no source or path implied. Tends to be fast or wide ranging.
/r/ Word List: race, raid, range, reach, rip, roam, roar, romp, rove, run, rush
/l/ Characterization: General departure.
/l/ Word List: lead, leave, lope, lunge, lurch
 
Position: 2
/r/ Characterization: Motion's source or path is defined by initial consonant. Tends to be slow and limitied. /tr/ suggests an implicit goal.
/r/ Word List: break, crawl, creep, cross, cruise, drag, drift, drop(by),frisk, prance, press, prowl, thread, trace, track, trail, tramp, tread,trek, tromp, troop, trot, trudge
/l/ Characterization: With labials usually a flight from something specific, otherwise a burden is implied.
/l/ Word List: blast, blitz, blow, climb, flash, flee, fly, plod, plunge, slink, slip, slog, slosh
 
Position: 3
/r/ Characterization: Source and path defined. Tends to be fast or wide-ranging; /str/ is linear.
/r/ Word List: scram, scream, spread, spring, sprint, stray, streak, stream, stride, strike, stroll, strut
/l/ Characterization: Flight (intensified)
/l/ Word List: split
 
Position: F2
/r/ Characterization: An element of inevitability or lack of control implied. An obstacle is implied.
/r/ Word List:barge, charge, course, curve, dart, ford, forge, fork, forth, hurl, march, part, storm, swarm, swerve, warp
/l/ Characterization: Avoidance.
/l/ Word List: bolt, skulk
 
Position: F3
/r/ Characterization: Inevitability or passivity often implied. No implicit obstacle.
/r/ Word List: fare, near, roar, scour, soar, tear, tour, veer
/l/ Characterization: Pulling.
/l/ Word List: crawl, prowl, pull, steal, scale, trail


4.8.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment provides evidence for all criteria 1-9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. All the exceptions in this classification are once again words with concrete reference, providing evidence that the salience of sound-meaning is inversely related to the concreteness of the referent. This is also perhaps the best way I have found to compare the semantics of two phonemes. By including within our purview only words which fall within specific natural semantic domains, we get a better overview over those domains. This is the first test in which we see clearly the Iconic effects of phoneme position on word semantics.

·General findings

Some aspects of Iconic sound meanings are independent of position in the word, and other aspects of inherent or Iconic meanings do depend on position. Let me begin with an example where clustering centers around a fairly concrete referent so what I talk about is easy to see. The consonant /n/ is in a number of words associated with the 'nose'. The fact that /n/ is associated with the 'nose' is not dependent on the position /n/ occupies within the word. But the role that the nose plays in the word does depend on the position where the /n/ appears. In initial position, the word actually refers to a nose: neb, nib, nose. In second position, the word is most likely to refer to actions of the nose or things coming from the nose: snap, snarl, sneeze, sniff, snore, snort, snot, (snout), snuff. And in pre-final position, the nose becomes passive, rather than active, and the word refers to smells, or things which affect the nose: scent, stench.

This example is typical. The sound that appears in initial position generally defines the backdrop, the basic ground on which the word is built. In second position after an initial consonant, a sound's meaning is still having an agentive effect. Its effect will also be modified and directed by the initial consonant, which determines the basic premise of the word. In positions after the vowel, the effect of the consonant's meaning becomes passive and expressive of a result. In pre-final position, that result is modified by the effect of the final consonant. In final position, the meaning of the consonant expresses the end result of the scenario implicit in the word. It would be interesting to discover whether this pattern differed for SOV or VSO languages.

· Characterizations of positional effects in these semantic classes

Non-Vehicular Motion
Position 1:
/r/: General running or walking, no source or path implied. Tends to be fast or wide ranging
/l/: General departure.
 
Position 2:
/r/: Motion's source or path is defined by initial consonant. Tends to be slow and limited. /tr/ suggests an implicit goal
/l/: With labials usually a flight from something specific, otherwise a burden is implied.
 
Position 3:
/r/: Source and path defined. Tends to be fast or wide-ranging. /str/ is linear
/l/: Flight
 
Position F2:
/r/: An element of inevitability or lack of control implied. An obstacle is implied
/l/: Avoidance.
 
Position F3:
/r/: Inevitability or passivity often implied. No implicit obstacle
/l/: Pulling.
 
Vehicular Motion
Position 1:
/l/: General Departure
 
Position 2:
/r/: Effortful, implies a burden and a direction
/l/: Easy sliding or flying over water or through air
 
Position F2:
/r/: More focussed on steering than burden
/l/: Steering
 
Position F3:
/r/: Steering, directedness or a burden
/l/: Pulling or Steering
 
Liquid in Motion
Position 1:
/r/: Downward. No limited path. Defined goal
/l/: No limited path. Defined source.
 
Position 2:
/r/: Downward. Along a narrow, linear path
/l/: Downward.
 
Position 3:
/r/: Outward. More forceful
/l/: Outward. More forceful.
 
Position F2:
/r/: Uncontrolled
/l/: Uncontrolled.
 
Position F3:
/r/: Defined source
/l/: Downward. Uncontrolled.
 
Sound
Position 1:
/r/: Wild or unrestrained. Source of sound not narrowly specified
 
Position 2:
/r/: Source of sound more narrowly defined. Sound is more restrained. Sound produced intentionally
/l/: Source of sound is an orifice. Sound produced intentionally
 
Position 3:
/r/: Strained voice (/k/) or string (/t/).
 
Position F2:
/r/: Unintentionally produced sound of limited duration
/l/: Unintentionally produced sound of limited duration.
 
Position F3:
/r/: Unintentionally produced prolonged sound
/l/: Unintentionally produced prolonged sound.
 
Speech
Position 1:
/r/: Incoherent
 
Position 2:
/r/: Coherent, having specific intent
/l/: Coherent, having specific intent. Pleading in /p/, blame otherwise
 
Position 3:
/r/: Outward. More forceful.
 
Position F2:
/r/: Uncontrolled or prolonged
 
Position F3:
/r/: Defined source. Need to express something repressed
/l/: Defined source. Wish to talk.
 
Make Active -- /r/, Calm Down -- /l/
Position 1:
/r/: General criticism or attempts to irritate
/l/: General calming
 
Position 2:
/r/: Putting somebody through something
/l/: Interference with ongoing activity.
 
Position 3:
/r/: Increased forcefulness, driving away
 
Position F3:
/r/: Scare
/l/: Discontinuation
 
Curse, Criticize
Position 1:
/l/: General criticism
 
Position 2:
/r/: General Criticism
/l/: Criticism for something specific
 
Position 3:
/r/: Criticism intensified
 
Position F2:
/r/: Yelling, implies condescension
/l/: Implies authority
 
Position F3:
/l/: Implies an effect has been brought about. (resultative)
 
Roads
Position 1:
/r/: General
/l/: Something which leads to
 
Position 2:
/r/: Directed through or over.
 
Position F2:
/r/: Uncontrolled
/l/: Something one follows

· Summary of positional trends:

The liquids /l/ and /r/ tend to supply the driving force to the word. If the liquid is /r/, it is active or self-propelled. If the liquid is /l/, it is passive and conforms to its environment. Very informally it can be helpful to think of the effect of /r/ as similar to that of fire, and the effect of /l/ as similar to that of water.

Onset: When /l/ or /r/ appears in the onset, the activity referred to by the word is nearly always agentive. Consonants in the onset form the stage or backdrop for the form that plays itself out in the word.

Initial Position: The most general words within that semantic domain. Activity tends to be broad, unspecified and wide ranging. This is especially the case for sonorants in English, since they cannot be followed by other consonants which would further specify the nature of the action.

Second Position: When a liquid in the onset follows one consonant, that preceding consonant both inhibits the motion, sound or activity and directs it. Motion is directed along a path (initial dental), burdened (initial velar) or blocked (initial labial). Sound is implied to issue from a specific source. Speech has a specific intent; it's no longer just incoherent ranting or contentless chatter.

Third Position: When a liquid appears in third position, then /s/ is in initial position. Quite generally /s/ in initial position intensifies the activity. Therefore words in which the liquid appears in third position share the directedness and limitations of second position, but they tend to be stronger. This can also result in other changes. For example, when a liquid appears in second position in words for water in motion the water generally flows downward with gravity. But when the liquid consonant appears in third position, and /s/ therefore appears in first position, the water tends to be sprayed or splashed outward or upward. The sequence /tr/ in initial position generally implies travel along a path, but when an /s/ precedes the /tr/, that path is more likely to be strictly linear and the motion along it is likely to be very rapid.

Rhyme: When /l/ or /r/ appears in the rhyme, the activity referred to by the word is nearly always unintentional and/or out of control. A liquid following the vowel can also result in torque or turning.

Pre-Final Position: When a liquid consonant appears in pre-final position, the activity tends to be unintentional or uncontrolled. But the consonant following the liquid cuts the action short or inhibits it in some way. For example, when a liquid appears in pre-final position in words for sound, the sound is cut short.

Final Position: When a liquid appears in final position, the action referred to by the word is almost always prolonged. It can also imply that a lasting effect has been brought about which makes the verb resultative.

As always, when one compares two phonemes in the same natural semantic domain, one finds that in certain respects they pattern differently. The phonemes /l/ and /r/ are very similar, but they differ most clearly in that /r/ is active and /l/ is passive. For this reason, in Natural Classes which emphasize this, such as the /r/ class 'To Make Active' one can find that words containing /l/ are rare or absent. The /l/ class which is most similar to the /r/ class 'Make Active' is just the opposite, to 'To Calm Down'. In addition, it is interesting to note that in words referring to some form of 'making active', the /r/ precedes the vowel. If the /r/ follows the vowel, the effect is rather to 'scare'. 'Scaring' can have the inhibiting effect of the 'calm down' class for /l/, but when this is the case, the /r/ inhibits by making active rather than making passive.

 




4.9 Experiment 9 -- Reverse Phoneme Order

See Appendix IX for full data and results.

4.9.1 Methodology

· Create bi-consonantal phonesthemes for every monosyllabic word or root with a given phonological characterization. In this case, all the monosyllabic words in my English vocabulary were taken into consideration. Many words were, however, systematically excluded from the comparison:

· Those words which had less than two consonants were systematically excluded.

· If neither of the relevant consonants appeared in the onset of the word, the word was not used in the comparison.

· Those words for which the two relevant consonants never appeared in reverse order were excluded. For example, there are many English monosyllables which have a /b/ followed by a /C/ (branch, beech, bunch, breach, etc.), but I found none which contain /C/ followed by /b/. For this reason, the /b//C/ words were excluded as well. Occasionally some classes which had no inverse correlates were optionally mentioned, because they seemed interesting.

· In addition, if some words had no corresponding inverse class, they were often also excluded. For example, there are words of beginning containing /b/ and then /r/, but no corresponding words of beginning containing /r/ and then /b/, so the 'beginning' /br/ class was not mentioned. Words which had only two consonants, both of which were the same were also excluded.

· Combinations of [+glide]-C vs. C-[+glide] were also not discussed, because post-vocalic glides generally act as vowels.

· Align phonesthemes for the consonants ordered in one way with phonesthemes for the same consonants ordered the other way according to common Natural Classes.

· Look closely at the distinction in meaning between the two classes, and try to determine exactly what semantic components seem to be inverted.


4.9.2 Example

Linear
/t//r/ -- stair, straight, strait, strand, strap, straw, streak, stream, street, stretch, string, strip, stripe, strobe, track, trail, train, tree, trench, tress, trough, trunk
/r//t/ -- sprit
 
Steer, Trace vs. Root, Brunt
/t//r/ -- Steer/Trace: steer, trace, track, trail, train, trawl, tree(v), trend, turn
/r//t/ -- Root/Brunt: brunt, Christ, crest, fruit, root, sprout, thrust
 
Paths/Roads
/t//r/ -- Simply Exists: stair, stream, street, stretch, strip, track, trail, trench, trough
/r//t/ -- Directed to a Place: route
 
Cunning
/t//r/ -- Single Event: trap, trick, trip, turn
/r//t/ -- Capacity: craft, droit, grift
 
Motion
/t//r/ -- stray, streak, stream, stride, strike(out), stroll, strut, tour, train,tram, tramp, trawl, tread, trek, trip, tromp, troop, trot, truck, trudge
/r//t/ -- crate, draft, drift, freight, raft, rout, sprint
 
Strapped/Rooted
/t//r/ -- starch, store, strap, tar, term, troth, truss
/r//t/ -- drought, frost, rest, roost, root, rut, thrift
 
Strict/Rote
/t//r/ -- stern, straight, strict, terse
/r//t/ -- rate, right, rite, rote
 
Tire/Rot/Rust
/t//r/ -- starve, strand, strike, strip, terse, tire, trite
/r//t/ -- drought, frost, roast, root, rot, rout, rust
 
Trap/Wrest/Root Out
/t//r/ -- strip, trap, trump
/r//t/ -- draft, grift, rent, root, rout, wrest, thrift
 
Tear/Grate
/t//r/ -- tear, trim
/r//t/ -- grate, rift
 
Strange/Rapt
/t//r/ -- stare, stark, strange, strike, trance
/r//t/ -- rapt
 
Stress/Riot
/t//r/ -- storm, strain, stress, stretch, strife, strike, strive, torque, try
/r//t/ -- grunt, prate, rant, riot, rout
 
Strong/Bright
/t//r/ -- star, stark, strike, strong, torque, troll, trove, trump, trunk, try
/r//t/ -- bright, front, grant, great, greet, grist, prompt, raft, rapt, sprite
 
Frustration
/t//r/ -- strain, stress, strife, tear, tire
/r//t/ -- drat, fret, fright, grate, grunt, rout, rut, threat
 
Initiation/Creation
/t//r/ -- start, stir, stork, strike(out)
/r//t/ -- craft, draft, sprout, wright
 
Contact
/t//r/ -- strike, stroke, strum, tramp, tread, treat, tromp, trounce
/r//t/ -- print, thrust
 
Which? Words Implying Options
/t//r/ -- stair, strain, term, tier, tract, trade, trait, trend
/r//t/ -- rate, route
 
Quantity
/t//r/ -- streak, stream, tribe, trick, troop, trope, troupe, trove
/r//t/ -- fraught, graft, grant
 
Turning
/t//r/ -- steer, stir, tire, torque, trade, trill, turn, twirl
/r//t/ -- script, wrest, wrist, writ, write
 
Light/Fire
/t//r/ -- star, strobe, torch
/r//t/ -- bright, drought, frost, roast
 
Truth/Right
/t//r/ -- troth, truce, true, trust, tryst
/r//t/ -- Christ, right
 
Derogatory Terms for People
/t//r/ -- trash, turd, twerp
/r//t/ -- brat, brute, grit, rat, rout, runt, rust

As with the previous experiment, this one gives insight into the role of phoneme position in Iconic meaning. By forming bi-consonantal phonesthemes and comparing them with the monoconsonantal phonesthemes in Appendix I, one also gets a better sense for how Clustering gradually limits the semantic range of phoneme combinations. We have seen already that the semantics of the /gl/ combination disproportionately reflects the semantics of /g/ combined with the semantics of /l/ so that most words beginning with /gl/ fall in a much narrower semantic domain than the combination /g/ plus /l/ would allow. In this experiment, we observe that this pattern is quite general. Finally, by observing what happens to semantics when the phonemes are inverted, one can get a better sense for the Iconic semantics of each of the two phonemes under consideration.


4.9.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment provides evidence for criterion 9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis:

Criterion 9. Any class in a Phonosemantic Classification can be defined narrowly enough that words not matching the relevant phonological characterization are excluded from it.

This experiment is one for which the data appears to me hardest to access intuitively. For this reason, this experiment was reserved as one of the last of those which analyze existing vocabuary. In previous experiments, I have been trying to simply establish the validity of the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. In the ensuing discussion, I will take the liberty of assuming it to be true, and hypothesizing about the influence of individual phonemes in more detail. As a result, this experiment is likely to be particularly unconvincing to the skeptic, and I acknowledge this in advance. However, if the analysis presented here is accepted, it provides quite strong direct evidence for Iconism.

If a set of related words containing any two consonants in one order is compared with words in the same Natural Class containing those same two consonants inverted, one can often discern an observable semantic distinction between the two classes of words which can be characterized as an inversion in the roles played by two semantic factors.

In some cases, I have included with the data a brief description of the semantic distinction I find between the two classes which are compared, and in other cases not:

Trance/Stun
/t//s/ -- Self-Induced: trance
/s//t/ -- Exercises Power: still, stop, strap, stump, stun
 
Long/Thin
/t//s/ -- tress
/s//t/ -- splint, sprit, staff, stake, stalk, stem, stick, stilt, stipe, stitch, straight, strait, strand, strap, straw, streak, stream, street, stretch, string, strip, stripe, strobe, stroke, strum
 
Strike/Stamp
/t//s/ -- trounce
/s//t/ -- smite, stamp, stomp, strike, stroke, strum, stub, swat

In general, the more concrete the reference of the words being classified, the more difficult it is to articulate the differences between the two classes. This again confirms what we have found in previous experiments, that the more concrete or unambiguous the referent of a word, the less accessible is its phonosemantics.

Nowhere in Appendix IX, have I discussed the real semantic distinctions I perceive at the level of detail that I perceive it. I will therefore provide and example below in which I discuss the semantics of a number of these classes of words which contain /t/ and /r/ in more detail. The discussion below is informal and is not intended as proof, but only to open up a realm for discussion and research. The discussions provided here are compelling enough to me to be worthy of mention, but to my mind, the proposals made here remain hypothetical awaiting corroboration from further evidence.

Linear Words
/t/-/r/: stair, strand, strap, straw, streak, stream, stretch, string, strip, stripe, strobe, track, trail, train, tree, trench, tress, trough, trunk
/r/-/t/: sprit
/tr/-/t/: straight, strait, street

The /t//r/ class is 22 times as linear as the /r//t/ class. Furthermore, the particular type of linearity in the word 'sprit' is not represented in the /t//r/ class. It is the class of long, solid, rigid objects which are not attached to anything and through which nothing runs. But this class is heavily represented in /p/: paddle, pawl, peg, pestle, pick, picket, pike, pile, pin, piton, pivot, pock, poker, pole, post, probe, prod, prong, prow; spade, spar, spear, spike, spine, spit, splint, spoke, sprig, sprit, spur. These make up 9% of words beginning with /p/ and 17% of words with /p/ in second position. Given this, I hypothesize that /r//t/ is not linear at all, only /t//r/ is linear, and the linearity in the word 'sprit' comes from the /p/, not the /r/ and the /t/. This is the kind of reasoning I use to determine consonant meanings.

We may then ask ourselves what makes the particular consonant combination /t//r/ linear, and why is /r//t/ not particularly linear? A careful look at the phonesthemes in Appendix 1 show that words containing /t/ very often involve directedness toward a goal without specification as to whether that goal is reached. My findings also corroborate an observation made in much of the phonosemantic literature over the ages, namely that /r/ implies a very active, dynamic energy. If the directedness in /t/ forms the backdrop or frame within which the energy of /r/ plays itself out, then it seems reasonable that the energy would be directed toward the goal defined by /t/ and the result will be linear. If, however, a vowel intervenes between /t/ and /r/, or if /r/ comes first, making the backdrop of the word's semantics merely the energy of /r/, then /r/ would not necessarily be directed linearly. The phoneme /r/ in initial position tends to be 'random'. This can be seen in many semantic domains, such as the verbs of motion discussed above. Verbs of non-vehicular motion beginning with /r/ often imply wandering over a large area. This is not true of non-initial /r/ in the onset:

______________________________________
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) 1
race, raid, range, reach, rip, roam,
romp, rove, run, rush
11 8%
______________________________________
 
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) 2
break, crawl, creep, cross, cruise, drag, drift,
drop(by), frisk, prance, press, prowl, thread,
trace, track, trail, tramp, tread, trek, tromp,
troop, trot, trudge
23 6%
______________________________________
 
1. Walk, Run (No Vehicle) 3
scram, scream, spread, spring, sprint, stray,
streak, stream, stride, strike, stroll, strut
12 15%

The linear words formed by /p/ are static. The phoneme /p/ is a stop and a labial both. Its contribution to the word tends to have a static quality. By contrast, the linear /t//r/ words tend to have a direction. The most obvious exceptions to this generalizations are 'strap', 'strip', and 'stripe' which all end in /p/. Additional exceptions are 'strand', 'string' and 'tress'.

Nothing flows through or along the linear /p/ words except when the /p/ is in final position: pipe, stipe, tap. The analogous linear /t//r/ words through or over which something flows: stair, strait, straw, stream, street, track, trail, tree, trench, trough and trunk are not in general covered over -- they are not pipe-shaped containers as are the /p/-final words. The one exception is 'straw'. Words in which /p/ appears much more commonly denote containers than words in which /r/ or /t/ appear.

Paths, Roads
/t/-/r/: stair, stream, stretch, strip, track, trail, trench, trough
/r/-/t/: route
/tr/ -- /t/: street
Paths and roads tend to be linear, and like the words of linearity, they prefer /t//r/ to /r//t/. The one /r//t/ word in this class differs from all the others semantically. Stairs, streams, troughs, trails, trenches and all the other /t//r/ word exist independently of a particular trip. They are there whether one travels them or not. A single route can involve any number of tracks, trails, streets and trenches. These facts are consistent with the hypothesis that in the /t//r/ class, the directedness forms the background, and the fact of traveling over it or not is secondary, whereas in 'route', the energy -- the travel- forms the background, and the direction is appended onto that. (In Mid-Western usage, the word 'route' contains the vowel /aw/ and is only applicable to a specific trip. In New England, the vowel is /uw/ and the word can (but need not) refer to a specific highway. Whereas in Colorado, one says 'Highway 128', in New England, one says 'Route 128'.)
 
Steer, Trace vs. Root, Brunt
/t//r/: steer, trace, track, trail, train, trawl, tree(v), trend, turn
/r//t/: brunt, Christ, crest, fruit, root, sprout, thrust
Although I have aligned /t//r/ with /r//t/ words of a different Natural Class, this was the best match I could come up with. Both classes concern a guiding or initiatory influence. Several cases like this of 'creative' comparisons are included in Appendix IX. If I could find no words in the same Natural Class, I tried first to match opposites, and only if that was also impossible, did I align classes that had something else in common. In the /t//r/ class here, the /t/ -- the direction, the track -- comes first and the energy of the /r/ follows it. The /r//t/ class can be subdivided into words which refer to a source (brunt, Christ, and root), those which refer to a result (fruit), and those which refer to an outward directedness (sprout, thrust). 'Crest' is a climax in mid-stream. In all these cases, though, a forceful, supportive energy forms the background of the semantics of the word, and directedness comes after.
 
Trickiness and Craft
/t//r/: trap, trick, trip, turn
/r//t/: craft, droit, grift
The /t//r/ words all refer to a specific event. The /r//t/ words refer rather to an ability, disposition or advantage of some sort... something that can be put to use. The /t//r/ class is much more prone to duplicitousness than the /r//t/ class. In the /t//r/ class, I hypothesize that a specific direction (/t/) comes first, and then energy (/r/) is put behind it. In the /r//t/ class, the ability (/r/) comes first, and the word ends with a /t/ indicating that this energy can be directed toward some goal.
 
Verbs of Motion
/t//r/: stray, streak, stream, stride, strike(out), stroll, tour, tramp, trawl, tread, trek, (trip), tromp, troop, trudge
/r//t/: crate, (draft), draft, drift, freight, raft, rout, sprint
/tr/-/t/: strut, trot
The /r//t/ class can be subdivided into words involving carrying (crate, draft (horse), freight), words involving motion which happens of itself driven by an outside force (draft (air), drift, raft, rout), and 'sprint' which fits neither of these characterizations. The /t//r/ words corresponding to the 'freight' and 'drifting' of /r//t/ refer to vehicles (train, tram, truck). Vehicular motion differs from the drifting class in that a vehicle has a driver who has an intended direction (/t/). In the 'drifting' class, the powers of nature govern the direction, and consistent with this, the /r/ comes first.
 
Strapped and Rooted
/t//r/: starch, store, strap, tar, truss
/r//t/: drought, frost, rest, roost, root, rut, thrift
The /t//r/ words all refer to something that wants to go somewhere, and something else which hinders it from following its natural course. The /r//t/ words often concern what happens in the natural course of things. None of them imply the stressfulness of the corresponding /t//r/ class. The /tr/ words imply intention, and except for the word 'thrift', the /r//t/ words do not.
The exception to this is the word 'thrift' which involves intentional intervention, and which starts with an unvoiced dental very similar to /t/. This intervention in 'thrift' differs, however, from the intervention in the /t//r/ class in that the /t//r/ class involves grabbing something and pinning it down forcibly against its will. The will to go somewhere -- the directedness (/t/) -- comes first in this class and forms the background for the word. In 'thrift', however, the energy of /r/ is not running directly counter to the directedness of /t/. Rather, the energy is buffered by two fricatives -- /th/ and /f/ -- and the purposiveness of all this comes last in the /t/... one is thrifty for a reason, and that reason is represented by the /t/.
Specifically what I believe happens semantically on the Iconic level in a word like 'thrift' is this: 1. There is a thicket, a difficulty (th). 2. There is an energy which approaches this preexisting difficulty, and is therefore directed at it (through). 3. Then the 'verb' follows -- the vowel 'i', which describes the natures of the action which plays itself out in the word. The character of this phonemic 'verb' is small and confining. This becomes clearer if one imagines that 'thrift' were pronounced 'thraftÕ or 'throft' -- these words would perhaps suggest that much larger quantities of money were being laid aside. These three sounds /Tri/ represent the situation set up by the word. The solution to the situation is /ft/ which also appears in words like 'sift' and 'shift'. 4. The solution is to filter (/f/ -- fence, filter, file, fickle, frisk, ferret, etc.) this /r/ energy (roof, reef, raft), and 5. all of this is directed toward a goal (/t/). In the word 'thrift', however, there is no indication implicit as to whether the goal of the thriftiness is achieved. This is another characteristic of /t/.
The /T/, /r/, /i/, /f/ and /t/ all take on various flavors in various Natural Classes with various referents. That is, if 'thrift' had been a verb of motion (I thrifted merrily down the road) or a verb of violent contact (He deserves a good thrifting), the above description would have been a little different, but the basic dynamic would have been the same.
 
Strict, Rote
/t//r/: stern, terse
/r//t/: rate, right, rite, rote
/tr/-/t/: straight, strict
A stern or strict person adheres to rules (directedness) first, and asks whether the rules are worthy of being adhered to second. In the word 'right', what comes first is the natural order represented by the /r/. The person who is directed toward the natural order comes after. In the case of 'right', it does matter whether the rule is correct. 'Stern' differs from 'strict' in that it concerns something which affects emotions rather than conduct. The intent to influence conduct implicit in the word 'strict' is consistent with a final /t/. This is also true of 'straight', as in 'straight as an arrow'.
 
Truth and Right
/t//r/: troth, truce, true
/r//t/: right
/tr//t/: trust, tryst
I said that in 'right' the /r/ perhaps represents natural law, which the /t/ follows. Let us consider the /t//r/ in 'truth' in this context. In mathematics, one is more likely to say, 'That's right,' than to say, 'That's true.' Mathematics is an internally consistent world independent of the kind of mapping to the so-called real world that language involves. That, I suggest, is the domain of /r/. Perhaps when we say, 'that's right', we mean the calculations are consistent with this natural, wild logic, which is mathematics. The /t/ follows the /r/. But when we say 'that's true', we mean that nature is consistent with our statement -- the /r/ follows the /t/. In the lower case sense of 'true', a statement is made (/t/), and then we look to see what the world is like and we say either, 'that's true' (i.e. the mapping from language to the so-called real world is accurate), or we say 'that's false.'
There are instances in which one can reply either, 'That's right' or 'That's true.' If a person says to his boss, ÒI have been doing my best to be diligent,Ó the boss can respond simply, ÒThat's right.Ó Or she can say, ÒThat's true, but...Ó If she responds, ÒThat's right,Ó she's making a statement not only about the correctness of his sentence, but about the correctness of his conduct in general. From her perspective, his conduct was right as well as his statement. If she says, ÒThat's true,Ó she agrees that his sentence accurately reflects the situation in the world (his /r/ does follow his /t/), but she still leaves open the possibility that his /t/ did not follow his /r/, his general direction may still not have been consistent with the natural order of things, and so she thinks he may ultimately not have served the best possible end.
In the expression ÒTo thine own self be trueÓ what does the 'true' refer to here? It follows a natural law, just like 'right'. Why can't we then say, Ò*To thine own self be rightÓ? I think that the word 'right' doesn't start out with the requisite directedness of /t/ that would make 'to thine own self be right' make sense. Shakespeare says that my action, my /r/ follows my own inner direction, my /t/. I am specifically true to myself. One is true To something. One is only right about something.
 
Tiring, Rotting and Rusting
/t//r/: starve, strand, strike, strip, terse, tire
/r//t/: drought, frost, roast, rot, rust
The /r//t/ words in this class all concern natural causes, acts of God and the like. This is typical of /r/. The goal-directedness from the human perspective then follows. A drought becomes a drought, when some living being expects or needs water and doesn't get it. One can't talk about a drought on the moon where there's never any water and where there's nothing which needs water. That presence of human purposiveness in the word 'drought' is introduced by the /t/, but it comes after the basic fact of dryness, which is natural and oblivious to my human purpose. Similarly, we don't talk of the oxidation of natural minerals lying around on mountains as 'rust'. It's only called 'rust' when it happens to some human implement intended for some purpose, and when this oxidation starts interfering with this purpose we call it 'rust'. That human purpose implicit in the word is the /t/. The word 'rot' is similar in this respect. By contrast, the words in the /t//r/ list are not referring to natural events, but either to manmade events or events which happen to people. So the background or set on which the word plays itself out is human purposiveness -- the /t/. When the /t/ is preceded by an /s/ in the first class there's an additional force which interferes. When the /r/ precedes the vowel in this class, the process is itself purposive (strand, strike, strip). When the /r/ follows the vowel, the process is natural (starve, tire), but it is interfering with human purpose.
 
Trap, Wrest and Root Out
/t//r/: strip, trap, trump
/r//t/: draft, grift, rent, root, rout, wrest, thrift
The /t//r/ words all involve acquisition by trickery. Once again I suggest that the /t/ indicates a direction, which in this case is misleading. Then a violence is done with /r/, and the /p/ is the punchline. The combination /t//p/ is often off balance (tip, topple, trip, steep, stoop, stumped, tipple, tipsy, top (the toy)). The phoneme /t/ is the dreamer, and /p/ is a reality check. In the /r//t/ class, energy comes first. I suggest that /r/ is the phoneme that actually does the grabbing. All of these /r//t/ words, however, also imply that the acquisition is purposeful, and if my hypothesis is correct, then that's what the /t/ contributes. When the word does not contain a /t/ (grab, pick, grasp, hold, etc.), there's no implication that somebody is 'taking' in order to make use of. It's just a simple statement of acquisition or possession. If this line of reasoning is correct then in both these classes, the /r/ is exerting the energy to acquire, but in the /t//r/ class, the /t/ functions to focus attention misleadingly, and in the /r//t/ class, the /t/ is used to imply that the acquisition has a purpose.
 
Tear, Grate
/t//r/: tear, trim
/r//t/: grate, rift
In all these words, I believe the /r/ is doing the actual cutting. The other sounds detail the circumstances of that cutting. When the /r/ follows the vowel, the word often implies that something is either turning or out of control, or it implies an imbalance or deviation of some kind. Compare 'creep', 'crawl' vs. 'careen', or 'trail', 'track' vs. 'turn', 'torque'. So too the word 'tear'. One can tear something in a controlled manner, but compared to 'trim', it involves creating a direction with one hand which runs counter to an energy introduced by the other. By contrast, the direction and the ripping are both going the same way in 'trim'. This is analogous to what happens in words involving motion, like 'trail', 'track', 'tram', etc. In these words, a direction is first determined, and then the /r/ gives the word motion. The word 'grate' implies the 'grid' typical of /gr/ (grill, graph, etc.). Velars can form a surface in this way. In /k/, the surface gets cracked, crinkled, crumpled, etc. when followed by /r/. So in 'grate', the background is a the perforated surface of /gr/, and then something is directed at it (/t/). In the word 'rift', the action is a force of nature. This is disproportionately frequent when /r/ is in initial position. The words start with the earthquake of /r/, then the vowel, and then /ft/ -- fissure and directedness. The phonemes /f/ and /v/, true to their pronunciations often appear in words involving a narrow opening on the surface. In both 'tear' and 'rift', the energy of /r/ is running counter to the directedness of /t/. In the case of 'tear', however, the directedness is primary and the energy secondary. Consistent with this, 'tear' can be intentional. In 'rift', the natural energy is primary, and the contrary direction is secondary.
 
Strange and Rapt
/t//r/: stare, stark, strange, strike, trance
/r//t/: rapt
All the words in the first class also contain an /s/. When /s/ begins the word, attention is initially directed toward some thing which is bizarre. When /s/ is in the end, as in 'trance', the focus begins with the state of a person, the directedness of their attention, and the /s/ emphasizes the strangeness not of the thing being viewed, but of the viewer. The directedness in all cases concerns attention. In the words beginning in /st/, attention is directed at this strange object. The /r/ could be contributing the power which can hold attention. The strangeness that appears in the /t//r/ class but not in the word 'rapt' probably does not come from the reordering of /t/ and /r/, but from the /s/. The phoneme /s/ occurs in disproportionately many 'strange' words throughout the English vocabulary. The words 'trance' and 'rapt' both refer to the state of the viewer. In the case of 'trance' there is no outside object which is holding attention. The directedness of attention happens first reinforced by the energy of /r/ which is focussed in the same direction as the /t/, since they both occur on the same side of the vowel. A trance is intentional. One is rapt, however, in spite of oneself. The energy to transfix comes first, and attention is directed afterwards. It is drawn to a particular point -- to the /p/. In trance, attention is not on a specific thing or as the /p/ in the word 'rapt' implies. The focus of attention in 'trance' is the Now, the Nothing, all of which occur frequently in words containing /n/.
 
Stress and Riot
/t//r/: storm, strain, stress, stretch, strife, strike, strive, torque, try
/r//t/: grunt, prate, rant, riot, rout
/str/ is a stressful combination. Words beginning in /tr/ alone do not refer to stressful activities or situations. Words which begin with /r/ refer to a much less controlled activity than those which begin with a consonant followed by /r/. This is especially true of /p/ which occurs proportionately in the greatest number of words involving limitations imposed by outside authority. Words in the /t//r/ class refer to situations in which one has set out deliberately to perform some task. In the /r//t/ class, on the other hand, some dysfunction has already occurred. Then the word implies that there is an uncontrolled outburst of energy in reaction to it. The reason for the outburst is secondary. Ranting, rioting and routing all occur for some reason, and that reason I suggest may be represented by /t/. Compare 'grunt' with 'groan', for example. One can just be groaning in one's sleep for no particular reason, but one doesn't grunt in one's sleep. One has to be conscious to grunt, and one grunts because of something uncomfortable or unappealing.
 
Strong and Bright
/t//r/: star, stark, strike, strong, torque, troll, trove, trump, trunk, try
/r//t/: bright, front, grant, great, greet, grist, prompt, raft, rapt, sprite
The /r//t/ class is on the whole brighter and peppier than the /t//r/ class. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the /r/, which produces the energy, is enslaved to the /t/ in the first class. The phoneme /t/ comes first and has an agenda for /r/. But in the second class, /r/ is not so constrained. The directedness of attention in /t/ is at /r/'s disposal rather than the other way around.
 
Words of Initiation and Creation
/t//r/: stir, strike(out)
/r//t/: craft, draft, sprout
/tr//t/: start
In the first class, the project (/t/) already exists. It is then executed (/r/). In the /r//t/ class, the project is either in the planning stages, or else, as in 'sprout', it represents a natural process.
 
Words of Contact
/t//r/: strike, stroke, strum, tramp, tread, tromp, trounce
/r//t/: print, thrust
/tr//t/: treat
The words 'thrust' and 'print' imply a final directedness pointed outward but with an uncertain effect. 'Printing something' and 'thrusting' express an intent, but no certain outcome (the thrust of an argument). The word 'print' can also refer to a footprint or imprint, a telltale sign of something that has been. In that case too, the energy which produced the sign came first, and the direction follows. In the /t//r/ class, the directedness is much more controlled, and the energy implicit in the /r/ can once again be thought of as directed in the service of the /t/.




4.10 Experiment 10 -- Cross Linguistic Phonesthemes /str/

See Appendix X for full data and results.

4.10.1 Methodology

· Create a Phonosemantic Classification (C) for all words in some language (L) containing some phonological characterization (P). In this case all the English monomorphemes in my active vocabulary were selected which contain /s/, /t/ and /r/ in that order, and in which at least the /s/ appears in the onset.

· Try to fit words with other phonological characterizations into C. In this case all monomorphemes beginning with /v/ and with unvoiced 'th' were selected.

· Try to fit words from languages other than L having phonological characterization P into C. In this case, all root words (not only monosyllables) matching P from the dictionaries listed below were used:

Albanian Stefanllari Albanian-English, English Albanian Dictionary
Catalan Buxton Diccionari Català-Anglès
German The New Cassell's German Dictionary
Modern Greek Liddell&Scott Greek-English Lexicon
Hindi The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary
Indonesian Echols&Shadily An Indonesian-English Dictionary
Irish Dinneen Irish-English Dictionary
Lithuanian Routledge's Lithuanian Dictionary
Norwegian Landrø & Wangensteen Bokmålsordboka
Russian Ozhegov Slovar' russkogo iazyka
Welsh Evans Welsh-English, English-Welsh Dictionary


4.10.2 Example

English

/str/ Words

Phonosemantic Classification
Straight -- stair, steer, stork, straight, strait, strand, strap, straw, streak, stream, street, stretch, string, strip, stripe, strobe, stroke
Strong/Stern -- starch, star, stark, steer (animal), sterling, stern, storm, strain, strangle, stress, stretch, strict, strike, strive, strong, structure, struggle, stubborn
Start -- start, startle
Struggle -- stir, storm, strain, strangle, stream, stress, stretch, strife, strike, strive, struggle, stubborn
Stop -- stare, stark, starve, sterile, stern, store, strangle, strict, strip, stubborn
Strange/Distant -- star, stark, startle, storm, story, straggle, strange, strangle, stray
Stroll -- steer, stir, straggle, stray, stride, stroll, strut
Stretch/Spread -- star, starch, stork, straddle, straggle, strain, stretch, strew, stride, strive, struggle, strum, strut
Strike -- stir, strangle, strike, stroke, strum
 

English Words Beginning with /v/

Straight -- valley?, vane?, vein, vine
Strong -- very, vim, vigor, verve
Struggle -- venge, vie, volley?
Stop
Start
Strange
Stroll
Stretch/Spread
Strike
Exceptions -- vale, valley, van, vat, vase, vial, vault, vessel, vile, villain, viper, vamp, voice, vote, vouch, vow, view, veer, veil
 

Irish

/str/ Words

 

Straight -- starr (tooth, tusk, jut, rough pull, fit of anger, round of boxing, sturdy), starran (projection), steotar (sugar stick), storn (straddle pin), straibeir (lash), straic (strip of cloth, stroke of a cane, state, level, pride), straille (tall, lazy aimless person), straimead (tape, streamer, heavy stroke), straip (strap), stran (prominent tooth), strapa (strap), strat (stay between masts), streaclan (band, gaiter), strearac (tree creeper), strileaman (long, nervous person), strioc (stripe, repentance), striocail (making tracks, striving), striolla (girth, girdle), strior (impulse, gust, enthusiasm, stripe), strioradan (anything hanging, limp), striopan (strip, streamer), striopar (strip, tatter), stroc (iron keel band), stropa (strope), struic (crest, ridge), strup (curved spout), strut (ostrich), sutrog (candle)
Strong -- feistear (regulation, equipment), sataire (pusher, intruder), seitreac (strong, sturdy, braying, sneeze), siotrail (bellowing), sotaire (strong fellow), starr (tooth, tusk, jut, rough pull, fit of anger, round of boxing, sturdy), starramail (sturdy, resolute), starranac (troublesome, stubborn), starrog (hill, summit, obstinant female), stiuir (steering, guiding, attitude), storc (large animal or person), storfath (snort), straic (strip of cloth, stroke of a cane, state, level, pride), straimead (tape, streamer, heavy stroke), strairiun (audacity), strapaire (vigorous, well-built person), streaclac (drag, pull), strior (impulse, gust, enthusiasm, stripe), striorac (windy, rough), stro (stress, excitement, dallying, tyrrany), stroinear (overbearing, uppish), sturraide (impudent person), sturralac (sturdy)
Start
Struggle -- sataire (pusher, intruder), siotram (tantrum), starr (tooth, tusk, jut, rough pull, fit of anger, round of boxing, sturdy), starram (stutter), starramail (sturdy, resolute), starranac (troublesome, stubborn), starrog (hill, summit, obstinant female), stracail (trudging), stradain (fit of temper), straille (mat, carpet, anything confused), straimp (displeasure, huff), strainnc (grimace), strairiun (audacity), strangad (pulling, twitching), straoi (great effort), streaclac (drag, pull), strearail (climbing), streill (crying expression), strileaman (long, nervous person), strioc (stripe, repentance), striocail (making tracks, striving), striorac (windy, rough), stro (stress, excitement, dallying, tyrrany), strogadgail (struggling), stroigreamail (combative), stroinear (overbearing, uppish), strucail (negotiating, huckstering), struirim (stress, break), strus (stress, difficulty), sturraide (impudent person)
Stop -- feistear (regulation, equipment), istir (in), ostar (food stores, inn-keeper), satarn (Saturday), seatar (gland, library, bookcase), sotairealta (placid), starram (stutter), starrogact (staring), startoir (historian), stioroip (stirrup), store (store, treasure), stracail (trudging), straic (strip of cloth, stroke of a cane, state, level, pride), straille (tall, lazy aimless person), strainin (colander), stran (delay), strat (stay between masts), streara (stile), striolla (girth, girdle), striomuigte (rigid, stiff in the legs), stro (stress, excitement, dallying, tyrrany), stroigin (cement), stronncugad (stiffening), struirin (weaver's glue)
Strange/Distant -- astranac (wayfarer), astrolaide (soothsayer), straille (mat, carpet, anything confused), straillin (untidy, awkward), straipleac (anything unkempt), strampalaide (awkward person), strampalta (trampling, awkward), streabog (useless article), streacla (trifle), straclanac (straggling, ragged), strodaire (good for nothing), stroile (aimless person), stroiliur (careless), stroinre (stranger, vagrant), stroinrearta (foreign), strullog (clumsy female), strut (ostrich)
Stroll -- astranac (wayfarer), stracail (trudging), strae (wondering, stray), strearail (climbing), striocail (making tracks, striving)
Stretch/Spread -- seitreac (strong, sturdy, braying, sneeze), starrog (hill, summit, obstinant female), strabaille (prodigality), strabar (big mouth, grin), straboid (prostitute), straca (stratum, layer), straille (mat, carpet, anything confused), straoideac (waster), streannc (splash), streanncan (tune, lilt, rush of fluid), striapac (harlot), strioradan (anything hanging, limp), triorail (undressing), struic (crest, ridge)
Strike/Tear -- starr (tooth, tusk, jut, rough pull, fit of anger, round of boxing, sturdy), stiuraide (hussy), straibeir (lash), straic (strip of cloth, stroke of a cane, state, level, pride), straillead (act of rending), straimead (tape, streamer, heavy stroke), strampail (stamping, striking), strampalta (trampling, awkward), striopar (strip, tatter), striudai (parts), stro (stress, excitement, dallying, tyrrany), stroc (stroke, sharp pang), stroic (tatter), struirim (stress, break)
Exceptions -- iostar (entertainment, lodging), stirean (sturgeon), striog (small drop), stur (dust), sutrall (lamp)


4.10.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment provides evidence for all criteria 1-9 of the Phonosemantic Classification, which is required to prove the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. The first part of the experiment in which words beginning with /v/ and /T/ are compared with words containing /s//t//r/ serves as a control for the comparison I make with words containing /s//t//r/ in other languages. If we find that English words starting with /v/ and /T/ fit the Phonosemantic Classification for English /s//t//r/ words considerably less well than words containing /s//t//r/ in other languages (as we in fact do), then this is evidence that phoneme semantics is to some degree universal or subject to natural law. The universality of phoneme semantics is also evidence that Iconic meaning is both productive and central to word semantics.

· All of the senses of all of the English /s//t//r/ monomorphemes fit in the following classes:

Straight, Strong/Stern, Start, Struggle, Stop, Strange/Distant, Stroll, Stretch/Spread, Strike
Each word fits on average in 1.8 of these classes.
Language Phonology % Words/Class Total Words
English /s//t//r/ 100% 1.8 52
Greek /s//t//r/ 98% 2.1 28
Irish /s//t//r/ 97% 1.4 114
Norwegian /s//t//r/ 97% 1.5 77
Catalan /s//t//r/ 96% 1.4 74
Welsh /s//t//r/ 96% 1.1 24
Hindi /s//t//r/ 95% .8 20
Russian /s//t//r/ 95% 1.2 49
Indonesian /s//t//r/ 91% 1.2 23
Lithuanian /s//t//r/ 82% 1.1 17
Albanian /s//t//r/ 95% 1.4 15
German /s//t//r/ 91% 1.2 76
English /T/ /s//t//r/ 60% .6 35
English /v/ /s//t//r/ 37% .4 28

· As for English words in which the /s/ doesn't appear in the onset, the majority don't fit in any of the abovementioned classes:

· Don't Fit: aster, asterisk, bastard, bister, bistro, blister, buster, canister, caster, castor, cistern, cloister, cluster, custard, dastard, Easter, ester, fester, fluster, glister, hampster, lobster, luster, minestrone, minstrel, mister, mustard, mystery, nostril, ostrich, oyster, pastor, pastry, pasture, pester, poster, psalter, tapestry
· Do Fit: austere, baluster, banister, bluster, bolster, filibuster, foster, maestro, master, monster, muster, plaster, roster

I have observed previously that although some aspects of a phoneme's semantics seem to remain constant regardless of the position that the phoneme occupies within the syllable, other aspects of the Iconic meaning vary when the phoneme occupies various positions. Varying positions particularly affects the interactions between various phonemes in a manner described in the discussion of 'Phoneme Physics' in endnote 8. I have observed in the previous experiment, for example that when a monosyllable begins with the sequence /tr/ the energy implicit in the /r/ seems to flow in the direction of the /t/. But when a vowel intervenes between /t/ and /r/, as in 'torture' and 'turn' and 'terror' and 'torque', then the word tends to refer to something which is off balance or rotating either literally or metaphorically. If there is any validity in this perspective, then the above data would suggest that the 'stretching' and 'stressful' and linear qualities of /s//t//r/ depend to some degree on the /s/ appearing in initial position. When the /s/ is not initial, I hypothesize that the dynamic between the /s/, the /t/ and the /r/ shifts.

· In this small set of words, one can find a large number of sets of opposites. One finds many words for straightness, but also no small number for straggling, straying and strewing. One finds words for both stopping and starting or strolling, for both strength and starvation/straggling. One finds both strangeness and strictness. This phenomenon of finding opposites is very common in Phonosemantic Classifications.

This may at first glance appear to be counterevidence to the hypothesis that phonemes can be associated with a unified semantics. Antonyms in general have more semantic characteristics in common even than synonyms. For example, the antonym of the word 'long' is not 'carpet' or 'politics'. The antonym of the word 'long' is almost identical to it in all respects. It only differs along the single semantic axis of 'size'. When we look at phoneme semantics, we look through the perspective of morphemes, which are one linguistic level higher. The processes of classification and reference at the higher levels can be viewed as prisms that fraction the single semantic axis 'length' into two different aspects of 'length', namely 'long' and 'short'.

· I would point out as well a fairly serious counterexample to the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. In German and Albanian, the sequence of sounds /st/ either cannot occur at the beginning of a word at all, or occurs with only very limited distribution. Instead, we get a palatalized /St/ initially. Still, the German words containing /S//t//r/ fit fairly neatly into these classes. In fact, in certain dialects of American English, like my sister-in-law's San Antonio dialect of Texan (which I refer to simply as 'Texan'), the initial sequence /str/ is pronounced /Str/.

The fact that these words fit so neatly into the /s//t//r/ pattern for English suggests to me that the Phonosemantic Hypothesis is not the final word on the matter. The problem with my formulation of the Phonosemantic Hypothesis is that the term 'phoneme' is not well defined in cases where some feature is unspecified. In all likelihood, it is the numerous phenomena such as these which probably account for the fact that relatively little research has been done in phonosemantics over the centuries.

I think the distinction between Clustering and Iconism can come to our aid in this situation. The effects we observe here concern phonesthemes, hence Clustering. Clustering is a process which tends to apply unified semantic domains to phonemes. In cases where the term 'phoneme' is ill-defined, such as in Texan /Str/, where there is an underspecification of phonetic features, then the Phonosemantic Hypothesis as I have formulated it (in terms of 'phonemes') will be similarly ill-defined. In this dissertation, I'll not go into this problem in detail other than to point out that if we can come up with a vocabulary which can give a name for that underspecified /S/ in /Str/, then I can put that term into my formulation of the Phonosemantic Hypothesis, and it will still hold.

Now I think one can test for Iconism proper (as opposed to Clustering) in these instances and show that it still holds. One source of such evidence has already been provided. I observe above that words beginning with /T/ in English fit the /s//t//r/ classification better than those that begin with /v/. I observe further that 15 of the 20 /T/ words that fit in the /s//t//r/ classification contain an /r/. The /T/ class is therefore both phonetically and semantically similar (but not identical) to the /s//t//r/ class. Facts such as these also confirm an observation that I have made earlier, that certain semantic traits are common to each phonetic feature as well as to each phoneme. We would expect this if phoneme semantics is, as I suggest, fundamentally Iconic. If a phoneme's semantics is rooted in its articulation, then phonemes with common elements of articulation would have common elements of meaning as well. Therefore if the Phonosemantic Hypothesis is true, then we would anticipate a great deal of semantic overlap between words containing /s//t//r/ and those containing /S//t//r/.

Like Von Humboldt and Jakobson, I have also observed that Clustering is not fundamentally Iconic in nature, though it still seems to remain constrained within the deeper limitations imposed by Iconic semantics. Whereas Iconism must hold sway on the level of phonetics, but not on the level of phonemics, Clustering seems to be blind to allophonic variations. And word initial /Str/ in German and Texan, is, of course, an allophonic variation of word initial /str/. I do not speak Albanian at all, but if Albanian orthography accurately reflects its pronunciation, then word initial /Str/ and /str/ are not allophonic variations in that language, though /str/ seems to have quite limited distribution, particularly to loan words. If the Phonosemantic Hypothesis is in essence correct, then we would predict that variations in truly Iconic meaning would occur between syllable initial 'str' and 'shtr' in languages or dialects like Texan and German, but that Clustering would treat syllable initial 'shtr' in German and Texan the same as syllable initial 'str' in other languages, because in these contexts, the phoneme pronounced 'sh' is the same as the phoneme pronounced 's' in other contexts. In languages like Albanian, however, where there appears to be a phonemic distinction between word initial /str/ and word initial /Str/, we would predict that in addition to Iconic variations between the two phoneme sequences, there would also be differences in their Clustering dynamic. The evidence from Albanian provided in this little survey does not support this, but this evidence is too slight in comparison with the evidence I have provided otherwise to be conclusive.

It may seem that the distinctions between the Iconic semantics of Mid-Western and Texan English, for example, are precious small, and extremely difficult to discern. We would expect this to a large degree, because the phonetic differences between Mid-Western and Texan English are few compared to their phonetic similarities (i.e. Texan much more closely resembles British English than it resembles Japanese, for example). It's exceedingly difficult to hone in on Iconic semantics at the phoneme level and lower, because major distinctions in Iconic meanings across languages are always accompanied by major semantic distinctions on every other level as well. As we have seen, the most effective means I have found to get at phoneme semantics is to narrow the natural semantic domains insofar as possible, and then compare words that are virtually synonymous.

 




4.11 Experiment 11 -- Invented Definitions for Nonsense Words

See Appendix XI for full data and results.

4.11.1 Methodology

· Devise a list of monomorphemic words which have no referent in the language in question. Endeavor to insure that each of the consonants in the language is represented in the list. The nonsense words or quasi-words (following the terminology used in Slavic linguistics) I used were:

baff, bamp, bipple, boag, cand, cass, corm, culk, desp, dom, drulk, flug, forp, fum, glon, gooble, gurfus, gusp, guzzy, hask, hort, husp, jethom, lant, leb, loog, lorch, mant, morp, muggle, nop, plamp, plork, preet, rammop, rapple, rost, rulp, rummer, sant, sarl, shob, shong, spreck, sumble, tam, teetle, thad, thell, torg, veest, voap, vom, wentle, widder, wogger, yoosh, yorch

Some quasi-words were removed and others added to the list during the course of the 8 months during which the experiment was conducted. Quasi-words were removed when a pattern seemed to have been established, and relatively few changes occurred in semantic distribution. Other quasi-words were added to replace them

· Ask informants to write definitions for these quasi-words. Informants were free to write definitions for only those quasi-words which interested them. All data was acquired over the course of 8 months from a Web Page posted at my site at the following URL: http://www.conknet.com/~mmagnus/.

· Sort the definitions by common semantic features.

Following each entry or definition are five fields in parentheses and delimited by commas. The first field is the unique number assigned to each informant. The second field indicates the sex of the informant: F for females and M for males. The third field indicates the informant's age. The fourth field is Y if the informant felt they had a good understanding of phonosemantics before filling in the form, Y/N if they feel they have some background, otherwise it is N. The fifth field indicates the informant's native language. Fields are simply left blank if the informant did not supply the relevant information.


4.11.2 Example

baff
Trick/Error:
* a trick (2,,,,English)
* a mistake (5,,,,English)
* confused (6,,,,English)
* to throw up (7,F,10,Y,English)
* to deceive (10,F,38,Y,English)
* an exclamation expressing confusion, being presented with a conundrum, or a series of mental hurdles. (11,M,46,Y,English)
* to avoid, duck or miss. (20,F,27,N,English)
* baffle, to confound or confuse (22,F,,N,English)
* confusion (40,M,20,N,English)
* to stump someone (41,,,,English)
* baffle, confuse (44,M,79,N/Y,English)
* something which confuses people (47,M,20,Y/N,English)
* the sound of a shot as in "pif" -- "paf" / a single act of baffling (59,M,66,N,Russian)
* to baffle (67,F,37,Y/N,English)
* a sound effect in cartoons, like biff, boff, and bam: refers to a slip without falling (79,,,,English)
* to astound and confuse by a sudden aggressive act of mental dexterity and transcendent reason. (87,M,49,Y/N,Australian English)
* a lie (91,F,,N,English)
* confuse (95,M,28,N,English)
Push/Hit:
* to push away (8,,,,English)
* to tap someone (9,,,,English)
* a bludgeon (12,F,29,N,English)
* the sound made by a punch (14,M,31,N,English)
* to blow or breathe out gently, as on hot food or to mist up a pane of glass (15,F,37,Y/N,English)
* a short sharp hit (23,F,30,N,UK English)
* vt. -- to strike suddenly, causing deflation, n. -- a stick used to hit something soft (26,M,23,N/Y,English)
* to discipline by a quick smack of the hand to the head of the person who is in trouble. (29,M,23,N,English)
* to hit, without meaning to hurt. (31,M,40,N,English)
* to hit with a flat object like cricket paddle (38,M,59,Y,English)
* hit hard, or a hard hit with the whole hand; "she baffed him when he tried to assault her" or "she gave him a good baff..."(53,F,41,N,Dutch and English)
* a fighting staff (55,F,17,Y/N,English and Mandarin)
* a long stick with a hook used for herding sheep (62,F,50,N,English)
* something hard that hits you on the head (66,F,11,N,English)
* an open palmed slap to the back of the head (71,M,25,N,English)
* sound of fist hitting pillow. (75,M,37,Y/N,English)
* to fall (118,F,19,N,English)
* to strike a person in the head so that it causes wonderment (80,F,54,N,English)
* an emotion; the way you feel after you have been dumped into a river while rafting on rapids (82,F,17,N,English)
* laugh? maybe to hit someone. like bash. (84,F,22,N,English)
* to strike on the back of the head (94,M,56,Y,English)
* a cane, split at one end into narrow strips, used to practice fighting with. (99,F,43,Y/N,English)
Laughter/Condescension
* an embarrassment, usually when one laughs at a joke one has told (4,,,,English)
* to make fun of someone (36,F,26,N,English)
* a bad and clownish joke. (45,M,29,N,English)
* v. to laugh incessantly at silly things (51,M,27,N,English)
* laugh? maybe to hit someone. like bash. (84,F,22,N,English)
* facet. derogation of another. verb. ridicule, belittle. (90,F,23,N,Australian)
* to laugh at someone in a condescending manner. (97,M,26,N,English)
Impediment:
* to push away (8,,,,English)
* to deceive (10,F,38,Y,English)
* an exclamation expressing confusion, being presented with a conundrum, or a series of mental hurdles. (11,M,46,Y,English)
* n. an impediment of some sort, v, to impede or frustrate progress or completion(27,M,61,N,English)
* to discipline by a quick smack of the hand to the head of the person who is in trouble. (29, M, 23, N,English)
* n. the mouthpiece used by sports participants (30,F,22,N,English)
* a fighting staff (55,F,17,Y/N,English and Mandarin)
* to stifle, to prevent flow through. i.e. There was too much air flowing through the intake relief valve so Jim baffed it off. (81,M,25,N,English)
* a cane, split at one end into narrow strips, used to practice fighting with. (99,F,43,Y/N,English)
Sound:
* the sound made by a punch (14, M,31,N,English)
* the sound of a shot as in "pif" -- "paf" / a single act of baffling (59,M,66,N,Russian)
* explosion (61,F,34,Y/N,Russian)
* sound of fist hitting pillow. (75,M,37,Y/N,English)
* a sound effect in cartoons, like biff, boff, and bam: refers to a slip without falling (79,,,,English)
Lazy/Dull/Slow
* without energy (37,M,53,N,English)
* a way to handle things that aren't too big (60,M,49,Y/N,English)
* someone who is lazy. Kinda like a couch potato. It describes a unmotivated personality. (86,F,40,N,English)
* dullish in colour, but glossy surfaced (92,M,23,N,English)
Misc:
* a type of sporting equipment (1,,,,English)
* an automobile part (3,,,,English)
* a person with large, fat cheeks (13,M,22,N,Portuguese)
* very simple but profound (17,M,27,Y,English)
* the space underneath a computer or a monitor (46,M,17,Y/N,English)
* a sort of penguin (49,,,N,English)
* quick (63,M,38,N,Russian)
* people doing dogs bark (68,F,38,N,Spanish)
* noun: presentation to executives by middle management (70,,,,English)
* (adj) really fast and powerful. e.g. "that was a baff lightening in the storm last night". or "you're the baffest hockey player ever". (72,F,23,N,English)
* Sleet or snow. Hence Baffin' Bay. (76,F,55,N,English)
* nautical term for the tip of a spar. (77,M,40,N,English)
* v, to waffle (83,M,43,N,English)
* a floating bridge (93,F,52,N,English)
* a potato and turnip casserole, garnished with nuts and marshmallows (96,F,29,N,English)
 
glon
Light:
* a type of bright light (1,,,)
* to shine (2,,,)
* to shine (7,F,10,Y,English)
* a sheen (10,F,38,Y,English)
* light (17,M,27,Y,English)
* to look at something shiny or reflective (55,F,17,Y/N,English and Mandarin)
* literary word for a kind of light (60,M,49,Y/N,English)
* to shine in the distance (67,F,37,Y/N,English)
* a harsh glare. (97,M,26,N,English)
* the moment just before the sun sets on a partly-cloudy evening in the spring. (99,F,43,Y/N,English)
* to have a shiny quality (111,M,21,Y/N,English)
Pretty/ Cheerful:
* to decorate (9,,,)
* a pretty person (12,F,29,N,English)
* to feel happy, proud and joyous (20, F, 27, N,English)
* a person that spreads cheer (66,F,11,N,English)
* an inexpensive stone made to resemble a diamond. (75,M,37,Y/N,English)
* fake beauty (84,F,22,N,English)
* happiness (106,M,47,N,English)
* something new or fresh, like things are in spring. "The leaves were glon and bright." (109,M,36,Y,English)
Hang Around/Keep/Adhere:
* to lie around doing nothing (8,,,)
* to tag-along with a group of people (11,M,46,Y,English)
* to keep something beyond its usefulness (62,F,50,N,English)
* gluttony (68,F,38,N,Spanish)
* to take, to understand (95,M,28,N,English)
* to stick to (108,,,)
* to become overly attached to a place (113,F,24,N,English)
Learn:
* to learn something from something (36,F,26,N,English)
* verb- to understand (110,F,29,N,English)
Scotland/Scandinavia:
* a Scotch drink (6,,,)
* to miss Scotland (71,M,25,N,English)
* a still cold lake in the middle of a haunted Scandinavian forest (72,F,23,N,English)
* n. Type of Scandinavian garden deity. (77,M,40,N,English)
Misc:
* a small rodent-like animal (3,,,)
* to run past the finish line (4,,,)
* an electronic mess up in a computer lab (5,,,)
* something which acts as a mast or a hard drive (41,,,)
* a dark gloomy land (46,M,17,Y/N,English)
* past participle of "glaw", meaning "to trick a person into agreeing to a contract" (47,M,20,Y/N,English)
* a chief (50,M,15,N,English)
* a particle in some physics (59,M,66,N,Russian)
* a plant (78,F,19,N,English)
* recently left the premises (79,,,)
* a buttock (94,M,56,Y,English)
* a shield (104,M,53,N,Spanish)
* v, to wish, want, desire (112,F,24,Y,Indonesian)


4.11.3 Discussion of Findings

As expected, there are a higher than average percentage of Concrete Noun senses in the 'Exceptions'.

This experiment provides evidence for criteria 3-6 of the Phonosemantic Classification:

Criterion 3. There are relatively few semantic classes in the classification.
Criterion 4. The semantic classes in the classification are distinct
Criterion 5. Each word fits into an average of a fairly large number of classes.
Criterion 6. The semantic classes are narrowly defined. By a 'narrowly defined' semantic class, I mean one which encompasses a small percentage of words in the language as a whole.

This is the first experiment that provides incontrovertible evidence for the productive character of Phonosemantic Association. Even if the pervasiveness of Iconic phonosemantics in the extant vocabulary of a language could be demonstrated, it is still necessary to demonstrate its productivity in living speech. For this purpose, one must obtain field data from informants, as is done in the last four experiments. The tests yield the following three results, which would not hold if the sign were truly arbitrary:

· The definitions invented for quasi-words are not evenly distributed all over the semantic spectrum. Informants were left completely free to invent whatever definition they chose. They were given no other instructions than this. And yet in every case, about 80% of definitions fell into a few semantically interrelated domains.

· The large majority of invented definitions resembled definitions for similar-sounding words, which I will henceforth refer to the Model for Clustering. Some informants suggested that I attempt to use only quasi-words which didn't resemble any other words in English. That is easier said than done. I endeavored, however, to include quasi- words which both resembled existing words and those which did not, which both had many potential Models and which did not. I left the informants free to choose which words they would define. With one or two exceptions, I feel all the informants understood that the intent was not to consciously associate the words with other words, but simply to write any definition at all which they felt suited the query word. They were explicitly told that there were no 'right' answers. And I found that informants for the most part simply avoided quasi-words which had few Models. They frequently said explicitly that they had no particular feeling for them. Those that did fill out definitions for these 'difficult' quasi-words with few Models almost always filled out definitions for all of the other quasi-words as well. Examples of quasi-words which seem to evoke little interest in informants include 'leb', 'jethom', 'rammop', 'sant' and 'sarl'.

· Informants frequently express a sentiment that such-and-such a quasi-word 'seems' or 'feels' like it should mean this or that. Despite the fact that the large majority of informants said they had no idea what sound symbolism or linguistic iconism was, about half added completely unsolicited comments of the type, 'Baff feels like it should be more abrasive than 'buffet'.' Or 'I don't get a very clear sense for this word.' or 'I think I may have been too influenced by the word 'bump' when I defined this word.' If there were no Phonosemantic Association and no Iconism, what linguistic intuition could possibly lie at the root of comments such as these?

Although the informants' definitions in general resembled definitions of existing English words, I also found that they were selective in which Models they tended to choose as a basis for their definitions. For example, the word 'drulk' seemed overwhelmingly to evoke definitions concerning weariness, unpleasantness, sorrow and hindrances. And there are indeed disproportionately many words resembling 'drulk' which concern these semantic domains. Yet there are a fair number of other potential Models for 'drulk' which were not used. For example, the largest /dr/ phonestheme contains words for flowing liquid (drink, drain, drip, drop, etc.). But all the definitions that concerned flowing liquid for the word 'drulk' concerned drinking, and all but a couple of these concerned intoxication, probably due to the similarity with the word 'drunk'. Most English words ending in /l//k/ do not have sorrowful connotations: bilk, bulk, elk, hulk, ilk, milk, silk, skulk, sulk, talc. It seems that the effect of the low back vowel in combination with both the onset /dr/ and the rhyme /lk/ tends to predispose informants to overwhelmingly limit their definitions for 'drulk' to something sorrowful and unpleasant.

Similarly, definitions for the word 'gurfus' tend overwhelmingly toward stupidity and anger, yet most words which end on /rf/ do not have such connotations: barf, dwarf, scarf, serf, surf, terf, wharf. The same is true of words beginning with /g/ followed by a vowel followed by /r/: cigar, garb, garbage, garble, garden, garderobe, gargle, gargoyle, garland, garlic, garment, garner, garret, garrison, garter, garth, gear, gherkin, gird, girdle, girl, girt, girth, gore, gorge, gourd, gourmet, guard, gurgle. Nor is it true of words beginning with /g/ and containing an /f/ after the vowel: gaffe, gift, glyph, golf, goof, graft, graph, grief, griffin, grift, gruff, guff, gulf. Informants seemed to hear a combination of 'grief' and 'dufus' in the word 'gurfus'. Why did they not hear a combination of 'gurgle' and 'graph' or 'surf' and 'canvas'?

This phenomenon of selective comparison is quite general, and it is among other things this which leads me to believe that Semantic Association is occurring productively not only on the word level, but on the phoneme level as well. It is not the case that the only criterion for an informant's choice of a Model is that the word sound similar. And they do not invent a definition for the new word based on the Model in an arbitrary way. If that were the case, then the invented definitions would vary a great deal more than they in fact do. It seems that one must resort to semantics at least on the level of the phoneme in order to account for the fact that these invented definitions fall into as narrow semantic domains as they do.

For example, in a number of cases, a nonsense word will be given a definition resembling a very similar existing Model, but with some slight twist. Frequently more than one person will characterize this slight difference in the same way. For example, 'bamp' very closely resembles 'bump' and no less than 30% of definitions for 'bamp' could be characterized as 'strike'. Needless to say, much less than 30% of words in the language overall can be characterized as forms of 'striking'. But more than this, 'bamp' was a particular type of 'striking'. More than one person characterized bamping as striking in one or more of the following ways: (1) on the head or (2) across strings or (3) with a vehicle, (4) with a flat object, (5) with a soft object, (6) lightly, (7) producing a noise.

'Bumping' is also prototypically light, it seems to me. But it does not tend to produce a sound, and it cannot to my feeling ever be used of playing a stringed instrument. Furthermore, 'bumping' is prototypically unintentional, and most, but not all, of the definitions for 'bamping' described intentional contact. I find it not unreasonable to imagine that the flatness, intentionality and sound are somehow an effect of changing the vowel from /U/ to /æ/, especially considering that /æ/ appears in disproportionately many words of flatness and sound, and /U/ appears in disproportionately many words concerning bumps, and upwardness as well as 'muffling'. (I have no data concerning agentiveness in relation to these vowels.) If this indeed proves to be a plausible account of the data provided here, then it must be admitted that Semantic Association or Clustering happens on the phoneme level, and that there therefore is such a thing as productive phonosemantics. It seems to me also likely that the fact that people tend to model their definitions after some similar sounding words and not others can be in part attributed to True Iconism.

Though this generalization does not hold uniformly, informants seemed to prefer a Model which differed from the query word by a vowel rather than a consonant. If the query word did vary from the model by a consonant, then the two consonants were more likely to differ along the axes of voicing and occlusion than along the axes of sonority or point of articulation. In other words, the Model for 'bamp' was more likely to be 'bump' than 'damp' in part because 'bump' differs from 'bamp' by a vowel rather than a consonant.

Total informants:
109
 
Distribution by Sex
Didn't Provide Info 16
Female 40
Male 53
 
Distribution According to Knowledge of Phonosemantics
Didn't Provide Info 16
Familiar 13
Somewhat Familiar 14
Not Familiar 66
 
Distribution by Native Language
English 99
Dutch 1
Indonesian 1
Italian 1
Mandarin 1
Persian 1
Portuguese 1
Russian 3
Spanish 3
 
Distribution by Age
Age#
Didn't Provide Info 19
Under 12 2
13-19 7
20-29 34
30-39 16
40-49 15
50-59 12
60-69 3
Over 70 1
 
Age #
Didn't Provide Age 19
10 1
11 1
15 1
17 3
18 1
19 2
20 3
21 1
22 3
23 7
24 2
25 4
26 3
27 3
28 2
29 6
30 1
31 1
32 2
33 1
34 2
36 2
37 4
38 3
40 4
41 1
43 3
45 1
46 2
47 1
48 1
49 2
50 1
51 3
52 1
53 2
54 1
55 1
56 1
57 1
59 1
61 1
66 1
67 1
79 1

Semantic Distribution:

baff Responses: 80 Obvious Models Not Used: buff, beef, calf, half, bad, bag, bat, back, bath,...
Push/Hit: 22 28% buffet, bash
Trick/Error: 18 23% baffle/bluff
Impediment: 9 11% buffer
Laughter/Condescension 7 9% buffoon, laugh
Sound: 5 6% bam, bang
Lazy/Dull/Slow 4 5% buffoon
Misc: 15 19%
 
bamp Responses: 87 Obvious Models Not Used: damp, camp, lamp, champ
Strike/Hit: 26 30% bump
Dysfunction: 14 16% cramp, bump
Sound: 12 14% bam
Smallness: 11 13% damp, limp
Ramp/Increase: 5 6% ramp, jump
Misc: 19 22%
 
bipple Responses: 10 (recent addition)
Ripples: 3 30% ripple
Baby 3 30% bib, nipple
Misc: 4 40%
 
boag Responses: 54 Obvious Models Not Used: beg, bode, bone, bore, bow
Bog: 10 19% bog
Uncontrolled: 8 15% rogue
Monster/Big Animals: 8 15% rogue, bug?, big, boar
Container: 8 15% bag, bowl
Boat/Sail/Float: 6 11% boat
Misc: 14 26%
 
cand Responses: 59 Obvious Models Not Used: band, sand, manned, land, card, cant
Container: 12 20% can
Open/Honest: 10 17% candid
Exclusion 5 8%
Bright: 5 8% candid
Candy: 5 8% candy
Oil: 3 5% candle
Fruit/Veggies/Food: 3 5%
Collect/Protect 3 5% contain
Gentle/Sweet Disposition 3 5% kind
Misc: 10 17%
 
cass Responses: 60 Obvious Models Not Used: bass, gas, pass, mass, lass, cash, cat, calf,
Covering/Container: 18 30% can, cab, cap
Condescending/Uncaring: 13 22% class, cuss, sass
Crude/Destructive: 12 20% crass
Misc: 17 28%
 
corm Responses: 12 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: dorm, form, worm, court, course
Seed/Grain: 3 25% corn
Misc: 9 75%
 
culk Responses: 49 Obvious Models Not Used: cult, cluck, kilt, kirk, conk
Shell/Cover/Cohesive: 18 37% cask, caulk, clink, cloak, cup
Old/Fragile: 6 12% crank, creak, crick
Solitary/Separation: 5 10% sulk, bilk, clique
Large: 4 8% bulk
Catch Unawares: 3 6% culprit, cunning
Misc: 13 27%
 
desp Responses: 44 Obvious Models Not Used: desk
Downwardness 23 52% desperation
Negative, Person: 7 16% desperado
Dust: 2 5% dust
Sound: 2 5%
Misc: 10 23%
 
dom Responses: 41 Obvious Models Not Used: dim, dumb, dime, doom, mom, doll, dot, dock...
Cover/Enclosure/Building: 12 29% dome, dam, dorm
Ceremonial/Authority: 11 27% dominate, deem
Ornament: 3 7% don
Circular: 3 7% dome
Sexual: 2 5% dominatrix, dame
Misc: 10 24%
 
drulk Responses: 66 Obvious Models Not Used: droll
Weary/Unpleasant/Sad: 34 52% sulk, dregs, dull
Drinking/Intoxicated: 12 18% drink, drug
Hindered Motion: 8 12% drag
Large 4 6% bulk
Containers: 3 5%
Misc: 5 8%
 
flug Responses: 54 Obvious Models Not Used: plug, shrug, tug, lug, rug, hug
Mistaken/Clumsy: 16 30% flaw, bug
Flying/Floating: 14 26% fly, float, flung
Strike/Hit/Break Up: 11 20% slug, flog
Drink: 3 6% chug, mug, flow
Misc: 10 19%
 
forp Responses: 51 Obvious Models Not Used: corpus/corporeal, fork, force, form, frappe
Repeated Precise Turn: 10 20% flip
Error: 8 16% fault, flip, flub
Hit/Collide/Touch: 7 14% flip, flop, flap
Junk, Burp: 6 12% fart, burp, gorp
Give/Throw: 4 8% flip, burp, fart
Disappear: 3 6% usurp
Misc: 13 25%
 
fum Responses: 44 Obvious Models Not Used: fume, fame, bum, come, some, chum, fur, farm,...
Goo/Scum/Film/Smoke: 14 32% scum, film, foam
Error/ Confusion/ Mess: 7 16% fumble, bummer, clumsy, dumb, fuck
Soft: 5 11% fuzzy, gum, thumb
Fee, fie, foe: 5 11% fum
Easy/Pleasant: 4 9% fun
Hold Together: 2 5% gum
Misc: 7 16%
 
glon Responses: 44 Obvious Models Not Used: glen, gloom, non-, lawn, wan, yon, gallon...
Light: 11 25% gleam, glow, gloss
Pretty/ Cheerful: 8 19% glad, glow
Hang Around/Keep/Adhere: 7 16% glom
Scotland/Scandinavia: 4 9%
Learn: 1 2% glean
Misc: 13 30%
 
gooble Responses: 45 Obvious Models Not Used: gab, gable, glue, good, god, grab,...
Weird/Unattractive/Messy: 18 40% goober, goo, garble, goon, goosh, ghoul
Eat/Drool: 12 27% goober, goo, guzzle
Quantity: 9 20% google, gob
Animals: 3 7%
Misc: 3 7%
 
gurfus Responses: 8 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: surf, terf, girl, gurgle, gird, girth,...
Clumsy/Incoherent/Stupid: 5 63% dork, churl, doofus
Misc: 3 37%
 
gusp Responses: 43 Obvious Models Not Used: hasp, gap, grasp, grip
Mouth/Nose: 14 33% gasp, gulp
Dust/Mist/Wind: 14 33% gust
Fish: 5 12% guppy
Misc: 10 24%
 
guzzy Responses: 9 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: busy, cousin, guzzle, gizzard
Rough/Dirty/Awkward: 4 44% guck, gum, gunk
Bubbles: 3 33% fizzy
Misc: 2 22%
 
hask Responses: 48 Obvious Models Not Used: ask, bask, task, haste, sass,...
Cover/Fastener: 16 33% hamper, husk, hasp, mask
Tear/Rip/Cough: 13 27% hoarse, hack
Plant Matter: 7 15% basket, husk
Danger: 4 8% hazard
Misc: 8 17%
 
hort Responses: 45 Obvious Models Not Used: hurt, heart, hoard, hard, hired, torte, port, court,...
Sickly/Scary/Misshapen: 14 31% abort, horrid
Animal: 8 18% hart, herd
Attention: 4 9% hark, hear
Sex: 3 7% whore
Horticulture: 2 4% horticulture
Misc: 14 31%
 
husp Responses: 78 Obvious Models Not Used: hump, asp, hip, happy, husband,...
Container/Cover/Fastener: 15 19% husk, hasp, clasp
Breath/Whisper 15 19% gasp
Plant: 12 15% husk
Edge 8 10% cusp
Disapproving 8 10% hush
Insect: 4 5% wasp
Misc: 16 21%
 
jethom Responses: 29 Obvious Models Not Used: method, jut, jot
Throw Off/Liquid/Jetsam: 12 41% jetsam
Flight: 3 10% jet
Restless/Irritable: 2 7% random
Misc: 12 41%
 
lant Responses: 48 Obvious Models Not Used: pant, plant (green), can't, Santa, rant, want, lank,...
Lean/Tendency/Slant: 14 29% slant
Light: 7 14% lamp
Slow/Relaxed: 4 8% lento
Insincere: 4 8% plant
Bugs: 3 6% ant
Misc: 17 34%
 
leb Responses: 23 Obvious Models Not Used: lip, liberate, lab, lob, lobe, lube, plebe, flub,...
Amount: 4 17% flab
Move: 3 13%
Extroverted/Outgoing: 3 13% blab, blurb, led
Lesbian: 2 9% Lesbian
Disease: 2 9% flub
Misc: 9 39%
 
loog Responses: 56 Obvious Models Not Used: look, loot, like, ghoul, leek, lack, luck, slug,...
Long: 11 20% loom, loop, sluice, log?, leg, league
Connection/Sticky: 9 16% glue, lock
Waste: 6 11% lose, loose
Clutching 5 9% bag, bog, lug
Liquid/Water Animals: 5 9% loon, gull, lake
Bog: 4 7% bog, lake
Difficulty: 3 5% lug, lag
Misc: 13 23%
 
lorch Responses: 44 Obvious Models Not Used: larch, porch, lord, lorn, launch, lunch, lynch,...
Clumsy: 8 18% dork, coarse, lurch
Fire/Light: 6 14% light, torch, scorch
Bent: 5 11% corner, torque, arch
Spooky: 5 11% orc, morgue,
Force/Pull: 5 11% force
House: 3 7% church
Animals: 3 7%
Misc: 9 20%
 
mant Responses: 46 Obvious Models Not Used: pant, mint, mount, can't, shan't, malt, mart, mast
Cover: 9 20% mantel
Fall/Lie: 7 15% slant, plant
Insect/Marine Animal: 7 15% manatee, ant
Meaning/Wisdom/Spirit: 6 13% meant
Plant: 4 9% plant
Group: 2 4% amount
Talk: 2 4% mantra, rant, chant
Misc: 9 20%
 
morp Responses: 63 Obvious Models Not Used: prom, perm, morn, map
Sleep/Death/Depression: 11 17% mort, mourn
Strange/Unbalanced: 9 14% morbid
Creature: 7 11%
Emptiness/Clean: 6 9% mop
Chewy: 5 8%
Round/Blob: 5 8% gorp?
Change/Morph: 5 8% morph
Join: 3 5% merge
Stupid: 2 3%
Misc: 10 16%
 
muggle Responses: 71 Obvious Models Not Used: mangle, make, meek, giggle, haggle,...
Wiggle: 18 25% wiggle
Unclear/Covered Over: 13 18% smuggle
Deceptive/ Theft: 13 18% smuggle, mug
Close By/Involved: 12 17% mingle
Animal: 5 7%
Misc: 10 14%
 
nop Responses: 45 Obvious Models Not Used: nape, cop, hop, mop, pop, shop, nod, slop, know
Inactive/Absent/Negation: 14 31% not, nap, stop
Small Bump or Hole: 11 24% knob, snap
Strike: 6 13% nip, snap, knock, chop
Misc: 14 31%
 
plamp Responses: 62 Obvious Models Not Used: lamp, damp, champ(hero), pamper, vamp,...
Strike/Bring Together: 18 29% plop, stamp, clamp, slam
Heavy: 9 15% stamp, tramp, plump
Flat: 7 11% plate, ramp, plank
Immobile: 7 11% plant, camp
Orderly/Disorderly: 6 10%
Blocked Liquid: 4 7%
Misc: 11 18%
 
plork Responses: 11 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: cork, perk, park, lark, lurk, port,...
Drop: 6 55% plunk
Sound: 3 27% plunk
Misc: 2 14%
 
preet Responses: 62 Obvious Models Not Used: greet, meet, peat, part, port, street, sleet,...
Proper/Picky/Groom: 18 29% preen
Feminine/Pretty: 13 21% pretty, sweet
Birds: 8 13% preen
Talk: 4 6% preach, prate
Small: 4 6% teeny
Whistle: 3 5% tweet
Animal: 2 3%
Misc: 10 16%
 
rammop Responses: 6 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: ram, rum, rim, rime, rhyme, room,...
Repetitive Motion: 6 100% gallop, wallop
 
rapple Responses: 54
Repetitive Motion: 13 24% ripple
Sound/Language 8 15% rap
Fruit Vegetables: 7 13% apple
Cover: 5 9% wrap
Destruction: 4 7% rip
Fight: 4 7% grapple
Sweets/Stimulants: 3 6%
Garbage: 2 4%
Running Liquid 2 4% drip, drop
Misc: 6 11%
 
rost Responses: 44 Obvious Models Not Used: lost, wrist, post(pole), cost, host, tossed,...
Heat/Cold: 11 25% roast
Roster: 7 16% roster
Rest: 5 11% rest, roost
Remainder/ Rust: 4 9% rust, rest, last
Bird: 3 7% roost, rooster
Guide: 3 7% post
Misc: 11 25%
 
rulp Responses: 9 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: roll, rill, rile, rail, reel, rip, rope,...
Belch/Gulp: 3 33% gulp, burp
Misc: 6 67%
 
rummer Responses: 10 (removed after a short time) Obvious Models Not Used: bummer, rammer,...
Rum: 5 50% rum
Loud Noise: 2 20% rumble
Misc: 3 30%
 
sant Responses: 54 Obvious Models Not Used: sand, sang, ant, pant, can't, shan't, salt,...
Prayer/Blessing 8 15% saint
Static: 7 13% sit
Motion: 6 12% sent
Message/Meaning/Know: 4 8% sense
Up/Down: 4 8% slant
Location: 3 6% plant, point
Alcohol: 2 4%
Health: 2 4% sanity, sanitation
Misc: 16 31%
 
sarl Responses: 13 Obvious Models Not Used: snail, sail, surly, gnarl, scowl
Sarcasm/Snarl/Wit: 5 38% snarl
Cloth: 3 7% sari
Misc: 5 38%
 
shob Responses: 22 Obvious Models Not Used: shop, shot, shawl, ship,...
Rid: 6 27% shove, rob
Irritation: 5 23% bosh, bother, shush, shock
Shove: 4 18% shove
Misc: 7 32%
 
shong Responses: 35 Obvious Models Not Used: long, wrong, tong, shoddy, shop, sham
Clothing: 8 23% thong, sarong, shawl
Asia: 5 14% sarong, Hong Kong
Sex: 5 14% dong
Sound: 4 11% gong, bong, song, shot
Straps: 4 11% thong,sling
Leave/Cut Off: 4 11%
Misc: 5 14%
 
spreck Responses: 28 Obvious Models Not Used: spank, sprocket, spoke, spike, prick, pike,...
Dust/Spray: 12 43% spray, spread, spark
Talk: 4 14% sprechen, speak
German: 3 11% sprechen
Pull/Lift: 3 11% pick
Misc: 6 21%
 
sumble Responses: 73 Obvious Models Not Used: nimble, rumble, grumble, thimble, resemble
Quiet/Humble/Small: 21 29% humble
Walking/Dancing: 16 22% amble
Gathering: 13 18% assemble
Slow/Feeble/Bland: 4 5% humble
Approximate/ Chance: 3 4% resemble
Stumble: 3 4% stumble, fumble
Hot: 2 3% simmer
Misc: 11 15%
 
tam Responses: 17 Obvious Models Not Used: time, timid, teem, tome, bam, dam, gam, lamb,...
Covering: 5 29% top
Touch: 4 24% tan, ram, tap, tamp
Care For: 2 12% tame
Dark: 2 12% tomb
Misc: 4 24%
 
teetle Responses: 65 Obvious Models Not Used: tote, toot, tight, tut, beetle, street
Back and Forth: 28 43% teeter
Smallness: 16 25% teeny, tot, fetal
Silly/Sweet: 10 15% tease, sweet
Kettle: 2 3% kettle, tweet
Tortoise: 2 3% turtle
Misc: 7 11%
 
thad Responses: 21 Obvious Models Not Used: bad, thud, sad, mad, fad, pad, tad, had,...
Person: 7 33% dad, lad, cad
Strike: 6 28% thump, pad
Misc: 8 38%
 
thell Responses: 27 Obvious Models Not Used: thrall, thrill, fell, hell, gel, them, then, there
Nature: 4 15% dell
Spell: 4 15% spell
Yell/Noise: 4 15% yell, bell, tell, knell
Shell: 3 11% shell
Sell: 2 7% sell
Misc: 10 37%
 
torg Responses: 82 Obvious Models Not Used: torte, torn, tag,...
Heavy/Large/Force: 25 30% torque, tug
Fictional Creature 13 16% orc, borg
Tool, Machinery: 12 15%
Turning: 11 13% torque
Clothing: 7 9% toga
Sorrow: 2 2% morgue
Fire: 2 2% torch
Misc: 10 12%
 
veest Responses: 75 Obvious Models Not Used: vest, vice, vote, west, messed, lest, east
Animals: 13 17% beast
Small: 9 12% least
Going: 6 8% veer
Fierce 6 8% beast
Fabric: 6 8%
Mold etc.: 5 7% yeast
Energy/Essence: 4 5%
Holland: 4 5%
Twist/Pull 3 4% twist
Meadow/Grassland: 2 3%
Misc: 17 23%
 
voap Responses: 51 Obvious Models Not Used: vapid, rope, dope, Pope, cope, hope, evoke,...
Clean/Soap: 12 24% soap
Motion -- Walk/Swoop: 11 22% swoop, lope
Pout: 6 12% mope
Lining: 3 6%
Vote: 3 6% vote, nope
Misc: 16 31%
 
vom Responses: 93 Obvious Models Not Used: mom
Speed/Force/Enthusiasm 22 23% move, bomb
Exclusion/Vomit: 20 22% vomit
Sound: 17 18% bomb
Spreading: 11 12%
Hat/Hair: 5 5%
Mantra 3 3% Om
Misc: 15 16%
 
wentle Responses: 64 Obvious Models Not Used: candle, handle,...
Covering/ Enclosure: 18 28% mantle, sandal, bundle
Small/Poor/New: 10 15% little,
Repetitive: 9 14% spindle, stencil, trundle
Gentle: 7 11% gentle
Pretty: 7 11%
Food: 4 6%
Wooing: 3 5% want
Man-made: 2 3%
Misc: 5 8%
 
widder Responses: 48 Obvious Models Not Used: bidder, kidder, wider, water, waiter,...
Repetitive: 16 33% founder, launder, wiggle
Diminish/Die: 13 27% wither
Tools/Machinery: 7 15%
Misc: 12 25%
 
wogger Responses: 10 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: logger, lager, slugger,...
Unpleasant Person: 6 60% bugger, bother
Wavering: 3 30% wiggle, wobble, totter
Misc: 1 10%
 
yoosh Responses: 41 Obvious Models Not Used: youth
Sound: 15 37% whoosh
Swift: 7 17% whoosh, swish
Breath/Solar Plexus 6 15% whoosh
Downward: 2 5% swish
You: 2 5% you
Misc: 9 22%
 
yorch Responses: 8 (recent addition) Obvious Models Not Used: porch, march, year, church,...
Sound: 3 38% yell, yodel, yap
Fire: 2 25% scorch, torch
Misc: 3 38%

 




4.12 Experiment 12 -- More Narrowly Limited Semantic Characterizations of Nonsense Words

See Appendix XII for full data and results.

4.12.1 Methodology

· Prompt informants with queries of the type, ÒIf 'X' were a type of 'Y', then what type of 'Y' would it be?Ó where 'X' is a nonsense word, and 'Y' is an action, quality or thing. The words used were: 'nem', 'forp', and 'woat'.


4.12.2 Example

If 'nem' were a size, what size would it be?
Small: small; small; little; little; little; little; little; small; little; little; small; little; little; little; little; little, of course; little; little; little; little; little; little; little; small; small; little; little; medium small; small; small; little; little; little; little; little (size of a mouse); little; little; little; little; little, n implies negation; small; small; small but not tiny; med-small; little; little; little; little; little; little, little, little; little; little; little; little; little; small; small; little; little; little; little; little; little; little
Medium: medium; medium small; med-small
Big: big; big; big; big; big, big; big; big; big; big; big
Other: neither, na, both


4.12.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment is primarily intended to test for Iconism proper more than for Clustering or the Phonosemantic Hypothesis. I thought that by limiting the Natural Class of the response in advance, I might be able to get more specific and concrete results regarding the productivity of Iconic meaning in language. In some cases, the responses were quite clear, but not in all. Because the semantic domains are defined in advance, this test says little about Phonosemantic Association, and nothing, of course about the nature of reference. However, to the extent that there are disproportions, it does offer direct evidence for Iconism proper.

It was found that when the choices were basically limited to three, as in the above example, results were somewhat, though not astoundingly clearer. It was also found that when there existed phonesthemes for the sounds in the words within the semantic domains queried, results were clearer.

The above example is further evidence that Semantic Association occurs on the phoneme level. Disproportionately many English words containing /m/ and /n/ concern size. Most words containing /n/ and /m/ and involving size do not in general refer to something small, however. In fact, a majority of them are large. We find, for example:Large: many, enormous, mounds, mountains, numerous, main

Medium: norm, normal, main-stream
Small: minimum, minus, minute

I also find that when different words are compared within a single Natural Class, they are intuited a priori to have semantic distinctions. Specifically, the motion of 'forp' was understood to be different from that of 'woat'. If these responses are representative, then 'forp' prototypically implies a sudden and very fast downward motion as if from tripping, whereas 'woat' prototypically implies the motion of large waves on the ocean.

'nem': Size
Small: 66
Medium: 3
Large: 11
Neither or Both: 3
 
'nem': Bodily Function
Secretion: 16
Mouth/Throat: 15
Nose: 8
Digestion: 6
Sleep: 4
Other: 19
 
woat: Motion
Waves/Water: 21
Slow/Constant: 18
Stumbling: 15
Heavy: 6
Fall: 4
Other: 10
 
forp: Motion
Abrupt/Ungraceful: 20
High Speed: 12
Falling: 9
Bouncing: 7
Circular: 5
Splitting: 2
Other: 8

 




4.13 Experiment 13 -- Invented Words for a Given Definition

See Appendix XIII for full data and results.

4.13.1 Methodology

· Prompt the informant with a definition and ask him or her to provide a quasi-word to match it. The definitions used were:

to scrape the black stuff off overdone toast
to drag something heavy into the water
to swarm over the head like mosquitoes
the texture of a hedgehog
the feeling you get falling downward on a roller coaster
the appearance of the sky before a storm
a paper cutter
a layer of pollen on plant leaves
the knobs on the spikes of a hairbrush

· Remove from consideration compound words composed exclusively of existing words.

· Remove from the word obvious suffixes and prefixes (-ity, -ate, -tion, etc.).

· Examine the resulting words or roots to see if they exhibit significant disproportions in phoneme distribution.

Following each entry or definition are five fields in parentheses and delimited by commas. The first field is the unique number assigned to each informant. The second field indicates the sex of the informant: F for females and M for males. The third field indicates the informant's age. The fourth field is Y if the informant felt they had considerable understanding of phonosemantics before filling in the form, Y/N if they feel they have some background, otherwise it is N. The fifth field indicates the informant's native language. Fields are simply left blank if the informant did not supply the relevant information.


4.13.2 Example

the knobs on the spikes of a hairbrush
apin (83,M,43,N), bips (107,F,46,N), bleps (84,F,22,N), bliks (110,F,29,N), blom (91,F,,N), blon (66,F,11,N), bloobs (99,F,43,Y/N), bools (104,M,53,N) (Spanish), bops (95,M,28,N), bubs (80,F,54,N), clob (87,M,49,Y/N), dids (88,M,38,N), dins (96,F,29,N), dolbs (114,M,36,Y/N), frzl (106,M,47,N), glibs (67,F,37,Y/N), gynt (111,M,21,Y/N), jibs (109,M,36,Y), knicks (100,M,67,N), knubs (76,F,55,N), knurbles (81,M,25,N), koops (94,M,56,Y), kwip (97,M,26,N), mub (71,M,25,N), pabs (77,M,40,N), pibblits(90,F,23,N), pims (72,F,23,N), pins (68,F,38,N) (Spanish), pipple(108,,,), ploinks (92,M,23,N), pobs (101,M,48,N), prelt (112,F,24,Y) (Indonesian), probs (113,F,24,N), pul (116,F,15,N), scalrotundities (79,,,), skooks (85,M,33,Y), slibs (93,F,52,N), spoke (78,F,19,N), spup (86,F,40,N), twerm (75,M,37,Y/N)

Notice that I did not remove from consideration words like 'spoke' which do exist in English, but which cannot be used to refer to the knobs on the spikes of a hiarbrush.


4.13.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment provides quite strong direct evidence for the existence of Iconism proper as a productive force in language. To the extent that informants preferred the phonemes that appeared in the definition itself, the test also constitutes direct evidence for Clustering. However it does not apply particularly to Phonosemantic Classifications. It also says nothing that I can discern about the character of reference.

It was found that there were large discrepancies in which phonemes were preferred for each of these definitions. In some cases, the phonemes which were preferred appeared in the definition itself, but this was often not the case. Perhaps the most striking result of this particular experiment was the number of identical nonsense words provided for the same definition. There were a total of 349 responses of which 325 conformed to grammatical English syllable structure. This was an average of about 40 responses per definition. There were 4 identical pairs and numerous groups of words that were nearly identical. If one figures the number of phonologically allowable English monosyllables at approximately 50,000, then the chance of getting 4 identical pairs out of 325 responses is about 1 in 16. If you take into consideration that many responses did not conform to English syllable structure, the likelihood of 4 identical responses drops considerably.9

In some cases, phonemes from the original definition were used much more frequently than in others. For example, words for 'to scrape the black stuff off overdone toast' used a much greater percentage of the /s/, /k/ and /r/ in 'scrape' than one finds in the language overall. The phoneme /p/, however, did not occur any more frequently in the quasi-words than in the language in general. Words for 'to drag something heavy into water', did not emphasize the /r/ of 'drag', though /d/ and /g/ did appear more frequently than in the language overall. The phonemes /f/, /l/ and /h/, however, were emphasized just as strongly. For the definition, 'to swarm over the head like mosquitoes, the /s/ of swarm appeared significantly more frequently, but the /w/, /r/ and /m/ did not. The phoneme which appeared most out of proportion in these invented words for 'swarming' was /z/.

All responses, not only those which conformed to grammatical English syllable structure were included in the data for the charts which follow. Phonemes in bold are those which appeared much more frequently than usual in the given context, and phonemes in italics appeared much less frequently in the given context than in the language overall:

to scrape the black stuff off overdone toast:
Number of Responses: 41 out of 42
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 1 out of 42
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (/skriC/)
Other Very Similar Words: krat, krachot, krinch, krut; krabe, krav, krup, krusp, prak; krois, krusp; skraff, skruff, skrap; skranch, skrich, skrich, skrutch, skrudge, skrank, skrick; sklik, sklur; skrat, skeet; shrik, shrip
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 1 2 10
/d/ 2 5 12
/g/ 1 2 8
/p/ 8 20 15
/t/ 10 24 21
/k/ 28 68 19
/v/ 3 7 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 2 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 3 7 9
/T/ 1 2 3
/s/ 22 54 23
/S/ 2 5 8
/h/ 1 2 4
/J/ 1 2 4
/C/ 7 17 5
/m/ 2 5 11
/n/ 4 10 14
/G/ 1 2 1
/l/ 4 10 22
/r/ 34 83 27
/w/ 0 0 8
/j/ 1 1 5

to drag something heavy into water:
Number of Responses: 40 out of 43
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 3 out of 43
Pairs of Identical Words: 0
Other Very Similar Words: blave, bloaf, broof; hlunf, glunf, harve, huf; swarf, swarsh, hoash, woof; floaur, flomp, floog; gleb, greb
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 6 26 10
/d/ 8 20 12
/g/ 8 20 8
/p/ 7 18 15
/t/ 5 13 21
/k/ 2 5 19
/v/ 2 5 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 0 0 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 11 28 9
/T/ 2 5 3
/s/ 9 23 23
/S/ 4 10 8
/h/ 4 10 4
/J/ 2 5 4
/C/ 2 5 5
/m/ 3 8 11
/n/ 9 23 14
/G/ 3 8 1
/l/ 17 43 22
/r/ 11 28 27
/w/ 4 10 8
/j/ 0 0 5

to swarm over the head like mosquitoes
Number of Responses: 40 out of 43
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 3 out of 43
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (/biz/)
Other Very Similar Words: beez, bist, bizz, bizz, briz, peeeesh, frazz, sizz, spuzz, swizz, whaze, ziz, ripz; shraf, shum, slif, spuzz, svet, swape, swizz; zirr, ziz, zlit; vant, virn; bist, tsib, blit, svet, tawm
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 7 18 10
/d/ 1 2 12
/g/ 3 28 8
/p/ 5 13 15
/t/ 10 25 21
/k/ 1 2 19
/v/ 3 8 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 14 35 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 7 18 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 8 20 23
/S/ 6 15 8
/h/ 1 2 4
/J/ 0 0 4
/C/ 0 0 5
/m/ 6 15 11
/n/ 7 18 14
/G/ 1 2 1
/l/ 8 20 22
/r/ 9 23 27
/w/ 3 8 8
/j/ 3 8 5

 

the texture of a hedgehog
Number of Responses: 39 out of 42
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 3 out of 42
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (/sprik/)
Other Very Similar Words: kret, skruk, rickee, crisk; kleik, kill; flick, fluck, pilk, plack, plick, plunk, prake, spick, sprick, sprick, vicklen; bresk, heckkee, juck; ramber, rumo
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 5 13 10
/d/ 1 3 12
/g/ 3 8 8
/p/ 11 28 15
/t/ 5 13 21
/k/ 25 64 19
/v/ 2 5 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 3 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 6 15 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 9 23 23
/S/ 2 5 8
/h/ 2 5 4
/J/ 2 5 4
/C/ 0 0 5
/m/ 2 5 11
/n/ 6 15 14
/G/ 1 3 1
/l/ 10 26 22
/r/ 21 54 27
/w/ 0 0 8
/j/ 4 10 5

the feeling you get falling downward on a roller coaster
Number of Responses: 39 out of 42
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 3 out of 42
Pairs of Identical Words: 0
Other Very Similar Words: kink, eek, kiks; foom, foosh, froosh; slon, sloum; woomp, oom, ump, ung; yee, yeete
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 5 13 10
/d/ 1 3 12
/g/ 1 3 8
/p/ 6 15 15
/t/ 3 8 21
/k/ 6 15 19
/v/ 1 3 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 3 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 6 15 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 5 13 23
/S/ 5 13 8
/h/ 3 8 4
/J/ 1 3 4
/C/ 0 0 5
/m/ 9 23 11
/n/ 7 18 14
/G/ 2 5 1
/l/ 9 23 22
/r/ 9 23 27
/w/ 6 15 8
/j/ 4 10 5

 

the appearance of the sky before a storm
Number of Responses: 39 out of 41
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 2 out of 41
Pairs of Identical Words: 0
Other Very Similar Words: blish, bloonch, bluj, bo, borl, brould, browl; blark, brak; doar, drade, drel, druden; dtrum, durm
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 10 26 10
/d/ 14 36 12
/g/ 7 18 8
/p/ 3 8 15
/t/ 4 10 21
/k/ 6 15 19
/v/ 1 3 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 0 0 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 1 3 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 4 10 23
/S/ 4 10 8
/h/ 1 3 4
/J/ 1 3 4
/C/ 1 3 5
/m/ 9 23 11
/n/ 7 18 14
/G/ 1 3 1
/l/ 16 41 22
/r/ 19 49 27
/w/ 3 8 8
/j/ 0 0 5

 

a paper cutter
Number of Responses: 41 out of 42
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 1 out of 42
Pairs of Identical Words: 0
Other Very Similar Words: clish, slike; cuck, cutch, krish, schick, schink, sirk, skitch, snick, srick; kip, knip, plact; schnip, snarp; scrat, scur; shern, shray, shrit; shiff, shomp, slom, slipe, splize; zingt, zug, zuuter; effor, iper, pouter; tator, zuuter
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 1 2 10
/d/ 0 0 12
/g/ 2 5 8
/p/ 12 29 15
/t/ 11 27 21
/k/ 19 46 19
/v/ 0 0 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 4 10 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 4 10 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 12 29 23
/S/ 12 29 8
/h/ 0 0 4
/J/ 0 0 4
/C/ 2 5 5
/m/ 2 5 11
/n/ 6 15 14
/G/ 2 5 1
/l/ 11 27 22
/r/ 6 15 27
/w/ 1 2 8
/j/ 1 2 5

 

a layer of pollen on plant leaves
Number of Responses: 40 out of 43
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 3 out of 43
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (/fif/)
Other Very Similar Words: fice, foss, fulz; fif, fiff, herf, hev, if; flust, must, pust; phloo; melf, pluft, priff; plin, plonnen, plun, pone
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 3 8 10
/d/ 4 10 12
/g/ 3 8 8
/p/ 9 23 15
/t/ 11 27 21
/k/ 0 0 19
/v/ 1 3 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 3 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 18 45 9
/T/ 2 5 3
/s/ 10 25 23
/S/ 2 5 8
/h/ 3 8 4
/J/ 0 0 4
/C/ 1 3 5
/m/ 5 13 11
/n/ 6 15 14
/G/ 0 0 1
/l/ 13 33 22
/r/ 9 23 27
/w/ 6 15 8
/j/ 3 8 5

 

the knobs on the spikes of a hairbrush:
Number of Responses: 37 out of 39
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 2 out of 39
Pairs of Identical Words: 0
Other Very Similar Words: apin, blon, pin; bip, blep, bloob, bop, bub, pab, pibblit, pipple, pob, prob, spup; blep, blik, blom, blon, bool, clob, dolb, glib, prelt, pul, slib; knick, skook; mub, pim, pin; knub, knurble, koop, kwip, spoke, ploink
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 23 58 10
/d/ 5 13 12
/g/ 2 5 8
/p/ 20 50 15
/t/ 5 13 21
/k/ 13 33 19
/v/ 0 0 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 3 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 1 3 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 5 13 23
/S/ 0 0 8
/h/ 0 0 4
/J/ 1 3 4
/C/ 0 0 5
/m/ 4 10 11
/n/ 9 23 14
/G/ 1 3 1
/l/ 18 45 22
/r/ 6 15 27
/w/ 2 5 8
/j/ 0 0 5




4.14 Experiment 14 -- Invented Words to Describe Images

See Appendix XIV for full data and results.

4.14.1 Methodology

· Prompt the informant with an image and ask him or her to provide a nonsense word to describe it. The images included in this experiment are:

· Remove compounds composed exclusively of existing words. (These occurred in about 2% of responses.)
· Remove obvious suffixes and prefixes (-ity, -ate, -tion, etc.) (These occurred in about 7% of responses.)
· Examine the resultant words to see if they exhibit significant disproportions in phoneme distribution.

Following each entry or definition are five fields in parentheses delimited by commas. The first field is the unique number assigned to each informant. The second field indicates the sex of the informant: F for females and M for males. The third field indicates the informant's age. The fourth field is Y if the informant felt they had considerable understanding of phonosemantics before filling in the form, Y/N if they feel they have some background, otherwise it is N. The fifth field indicates the informant's native language. Fields are simply left blank if the informant did not supply the relevant information.


4.14.2 Example

Sparks
shirnessed (76,F,55,N), spectratressial (77,M,40,N), graas (83,M,43,N), sirrilno(90,F,23,N), skir (95,M,28,N), spleems (94,M,56,Y), fil (99,F,43,Y/N), lev (113,F,24,N), lule (107,F,46,N), milt (111,M,21,Y/N), scrintch (103,F,32,N), scrit (108,,,), smurl (115,,,), fezzery(75,M,37,Y/N), maz (86,F,40,N), shmun (85,M,33,Y), sked (84,F,22,N), swespious(81,M,25,N), fesh (87,M,49,Y/N), frell (97,M,26,N), swibs (93,F,52,N), vescentic (96,F,29,N), fil (99,F,43,Y/N), flir (109,M,36,Y), flix (106,M,47,N), fuw (112,F,24,Y,Indonesian), shiff (104,M,53,N,Spanish), shoof (101,M,48,N), snitz (114,M,36,Y/N), zar (116,F,15,N), ploy (71,M,25,N), bitter (78,F,19,N), deel (80,F,54,N), bluh (82,F,17,N), nor (89,M,57,N), tume (as well) (92,M,23,N), wew (110,F,29,N)


4.14.3 Discussion of Findings

This experiment was specifically designed to test exclusively for True Iconism, and the results seem to me to constitute quite strong evidence that there is such a productive force active in language. It prompts the informant with images rather than words. It therefore does not apply to Phonosemantic Classification and obviously says nothing about the nature of reference or Phonosemantic Association.

Once again, the most striking result of this particular experiment was the number of identical words provided by different informants. If one figures the number of phonologically allowable English monosyllables at approximately 50,000, then the number of possible disyllables is on the order of 2.5 billion. There were a total of 207 responses averaging about 34 responses per picture. Of these, many were not monosyllables and 5 did not even conform to grammatical English syllable structure. Nonetheless, there were 2 totally identical pairs and 2 pairs that were identical but for a different suffix. Again, using the formula in endnote 9, if I eliminate all polysyllables and words with illegal syllable structure, the chance of getting two pairs of identical responses out of the 172 monosyllables would be about 1 in 14. One can't, of course, make any sensible calculations which includes the responses which don't conform to English syllable structure at all, because there are an infinite number of such responses.

But let me recalculate including all 202 legal mono- and polysyllabic responses which I received. There were 202 total legal responses. Of these, 172 were monosyllables and 30 were disyllables. There were therefore 5.7 times as many monosyllabic as disyllabic responses. If I then give the disyllables one 5.7th the weight of the monosyllables and recalculate, the likelihood of one identical pair occurring shoots way up to about one in 18,000, and the likelihood of two identical pairs is about 1 in 74,000.

In addition to 2 identical pairs, there were numerous examples of near pairs:

Light: zire, zrat, zwirzle
Sand: flimps, slippsail, schwa, sulva, spland, sweb, bluss, swin
Stones: calcaceous, cruk, kok; crubnel, petrocurvate, stroc, kruk crad
Watchband: ro, ro, rogt; jakey, jig
Sparks: shiff, shoof, fesh, fezzery, fliks; frell, fil, flir, fliks; skrinch, skrit, skirnessed, skir, spektratress, snitz; swesp, swibs
Water: dit, dits; glip, gloop; blit, blart, blon; ploid, proid, polt, prold; pim, pom

As in the previous eperiment, all responses, not only those which conformed to grammatical English syllable structure were included in the data for the charts which follow. Phonemes in bold are again those which appeared much more frequently than usual in the given context, and phonemes in italics appeared much less frequently in the given context than in the language overall:

Light
Number of Responses: 34
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 1
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (/flur/)
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 4 12 10
/d/ 2 6 12
/g/ 1 3 8
/p/ 6 17 15
/t/ 5 15 21
/k/ 6 17 19
/v/ 2 6 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 7 21 3
/Z/ 1 3 0
/f/ 6 17 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 4 12 23
/S/ 1 3 8
/h/ 0 0 4
/J/ 0 0 4
/C/ 2 6 5
/m/ 3 9 11
/n/ 7 21 14
/G/ 2 6 1
/l/ 12 35 22
/r/ 18 53 27
/w/ 4 12 8
/j/ 1 3 5

 

Sand
Number of Responses: 35
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 1
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (lape, leypate)
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 6 17 10
/d/ 5 14 12
/g/ 1 3 8
/p/ 7 20 15
/t/ 3 9 21
/k/ 5 14 19
/v/ 3 9 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 3 3
/Z/ 1 3 0
/f/ 8 23 9
/T/ 1 3 3
/s/ 14 40 23
/S/ 4 11 8
/h/ 0 0 4
/J/ 0 0 4
/C/ 0 0 5
/m/ 2 6 11
/n/ 7 20 14
/G/ 0 0 1
/l/ 18 51 22
/r/ 10 29 27
/w/ 4 11 8
/j/ 0 0 5

 

Stones
Number of Responses: 33
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 0
Words Which Fit the Form /kVk/: 3
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 8 24 10
/d/ 4 12 12
/g/ 6 18 8
/p/ 5 15 15
/t/ 10 30 21
/k/ 17 52 19
/v/ 2 6 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 3 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 0 0 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 11 33 23
/S/ 0 0 8
/h/ 1 3 4
/J/ 1 3 4
/C/ 2 6 5
/m/ 3 9 11
/n/ 4 12 14
/G/ 0 0 1
/l/ 8 24 22
/r/ 14 42 27
/w/ 1 3 8
/j/ 0 0 5

 

Watchband
Number of Responses: 33
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 1
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (/row/)
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 3 9 10
/d/ 4 12 12
/g/ 2 6 8
/p/ 4 12 15
/t/ 13 39 21
/k/ 16 48 19
/v/ 1 3 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 6 18 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 1 3 9
/T/ 1 3 3
/s/ 6 18 23
/S/ 0 0 8
/h/ 0 0 4
/J/ 1 3 4
/C/ 2 6 5
/m/ 6 18 11
/n/ 9 27 14
/G/ 1 3 1
/l/ 10 30 22
/r/ 17 51 27
/w/ 1 3 8
/j/ 0 0 5

 

Sparks
Number of Responses: 36
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 1
Set of Very Similar Words: 1 (shiff, shoof, fesh, fezzery, fliks; frell, fil, flir, fliks; skrinch, skrit, skirnessed, skir, spektratress, snitz; swesp, swibs)
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 3 9 10
/d/ 3 8 12
/g/ 1 3 8
/p/ 4 12 15
/t/ 8 22 21
/k/ 6 17 19
/v/ 2 6 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 7 19 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 9 25 9
/T/ 0 0 3
/s/ 18 50 23
/S/ 5 14 8
/h/ 0 0 4
/J/ 0 0 4
/C/ 1 3 5
/m/ 5 14 11
/n/ 7 19 14
/G/ 0 0 1
/l/ 14 39 22
/r/ 15 42 27
/w/ 3 8 8
/j/ 0 0 5

 

Water
Number of Responses: 36
Number Which Did Not Fit English Syllable Structure: 1
Pairs of Identical Words: 1 (/dit/) (also glip, gloop; blit, blart, blon; ploid, proid, polt, prold; pim, pom)
Phoneme # % % in Monosyllables
/b/ 10 28 10
/d/ 6 17 12
/g/ 3 8 8
/p/ 13 36 15
/t/ 8 22 21
/k/ 3 8 19
/v/ 0 0 3
/H/ 0 0 1
/z/ 1 3 3
/Z/ 0 0 0
/f/ 2 6 9
/T/ 1 3 3
/s/ 6 17 23
/S/ 0 0 8
/h/ 1 3 4
/J/ 1 3 4
/C/ 0 0 5
/m/ 5 14 11
/n/ 4 11 14
/G/ 0 0 1
/l/ 18 50 22
/r/ 9 25 27
/w/ 1 3 8
/j/ 2 6 5