How to express evolution in English Pokémon names

Shigeto Kawahara, Jeff Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article contributes to the studies of sound symbolism, systematic relationships between sounds and meanings. Specifically, we build on a series of studies conducted within a research paradigm called "Pokémonastics,"which uses the Pokémon universe to explore sound symbolic patterns. Inspired by a study of existing English Pokémon names, two experiments were conducted in which English speakers were provided with pairs of pre-evolution and post-evolution Pokémon characters, the latter of which were larger. The participants were given two name choices whose members were systematically different in some phonological properties. The results show the following sound symbolic patterns to be productive: (1) names with higher segment counts are more likely to be associated with post-evolution characters than names with lower segment counts, (2) names containing [a] are more likely to be associated with post-evolution characters than names containing [i], (3) names containing [u] are more likely to be associated with post-evolution characters than names containing [i], and (4) names containing coronal consonants are more likely to be associated with post-evolution characters than names containing labial consonants. Overall, the current results suggest that phonological considerations come into play when English speakers name new fictional creatures. Implications of the current results for the theories of sound symbolism are discussed throughout the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-607
Number of pages31
JournalLinguistics
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 1

Keywords

  • English
  • Frequency Code
  • Pokémonastics
  • iconicity of quantity
  • sound symbolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How to express evolution in English Pokémon names'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this