The facilitatory role of sound symbolism in infant word learning

Michiko Miyazaki, Shohei Hidaka, Mutsumi Imai, H. Henny Yeung, Katerina Kantartzis, Hiroyuki Okada, Sotaro Kita

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sound symbolism or the nonarbitrary link between language sound and meaning are commonly found across many languages of the world. A well-known example is the association between rounded vs. angular shapes and labels (i.e., the Bouba-kiki effect by Köhler, 1929/1947). Previous research has shown that sound symbolic words play facilitative role for preschool children's novel verb learning (Imai, Kita, Nagumo & Okada, 2008; Kantartiz, Imai & Kita, 2011), helping children identify what aspects of motion events should be mapped to verbs. In this research, we explore whether sound symbolism may facilitate language learning in human infants who have just begun to learn word meanings. Sound symbolism may be a useful cue particularly at the earliest stages of word learning, because this cue seems to be available without needing prior word learning experience (Gogate & Hollich, 2010). Using a habituation paradigm and a Bayesian model-based analysis, we demonstrated that 14-month-old infants could detect Köhler-type (1947) shape-sound symbolism, and could use this sensitivity in their effort to establish the word-referent association.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCooperative Minds
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Interaction and Group Dynamics - Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2013
EditorsMarkus Knauff, Natalie Sebanz, Michael Pauen, Ipke Wachsmuth
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages3080-3085
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780976831891
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Cooperative Minds: Social Interaction and Group Dynamics, CogSci 2013 - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 2013 Jul 312013 Aug 3

Publication series

NameCooperative Minds: Social Interaction and Group Dynamics - Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2013

Conference

Conference35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Cooperative Minds: Social Interaction and Group Dynamics, CogSci 2013
Country/TerritoryGermany
CityBerlin
Period13/7/3113/8/3

Keywords

  • Bayesian analysis
  • Iconicity of language
  • Multisensory mapping
  • Origin of language
  • Sound symbolism
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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