Kawahara et al. (2016) – Sound (Symbolic) Patterns in Pokemon Names: Focusing on Voiced Obstruents and Mora Counts
This paper presents a case study of sound symbolism, cases in which certain sounds tend to be associated with particular meanings. The current study uses the corpus of all pokemon names available as of October 2016. This paper explores the effects of voiced obstruents and mora counts in Japanese pokemon names, and reveals that both of them impact pokemon characters’ size, weight, strength parameters, and evolution levels. In particular, the number of voiced obstruents in pokemon names positively correlates with size, weight, evolution levels, and general strength parameters, except for speed. We argue that this result is compatible with the Frequency Code Hypothesis proposed by Ohala. The number of moras in pokemon names positively correlates with size, weight, evolution levels and all strength parameters. Multiple regression analyses show that the effects of voiced obstruents and those of mora counts hold independently of one another. Not only does this paper offer a new case study of sound symbolism, it provides evidence that sound symbolism is at work when naming proper nouns. In general, the materials provided in this paper should be useful for undergraduate education in linguistics and psychology to attract students’ interests, as pokemon is very popular among current students.
|Format:||[ pdf ]|
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|keywords:||sound symbolism, japanese, phonetics, voiced obstruents, mora counts, pokemon, phonology|