This paper reports two case studies of sound symbolism using the naturalistic name corpora of characters from Disney and Pokémon. Building upon previous studies of sound symbolism, we tested two hypotheses: (1) voiced obstruents, which are generally associated with negative images, are favored in villainous characters' names, while (2) bilabial consonants, which are symbolically associated with cuteness, are disfavored in such names. The results show that these tendencies hold in our corpora, suggesting that a concept that is as complex as “villain” can be signaled via sound symbolism. Theoretical implications for cognitive linguistics based on our results are discussed.
- Sound symbolism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language