Sound Symbolism

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Engelska parken 9-1017
  • Lecturer: Prof. em. Jan-Olof Svantesson
  • Contact person: Harald Hammarström
  • Seminarium

The relation between the sounds of a word and its meaning was discussed
already by ancient philosphers in Europe and China, and later by
linguists during the 19th Century like Wilhelm von Humboldt and Georg
von der Gabelentz. Due to the breakthrough of structural linguistics,
Ferdinand de Saussure’s famous assertion that the linguistic sign is
arbitrary became more or less a dogma and exceptions like onomatopoeia
were regarded as marginal phenomena. In recent years, there has been a
renewed interest in sound symbolism, however. In my talk I will talk
about linguistic approaches to sound symbolism, including these newer
developments.