Sound–meaning association biases evidenced across thousands of languages

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol/Iss. 113(39) National Academy of Sciences Washington, D.C Published In Pages: 10818-10823
By Blasi, Damian E., Wichmann, Søren, Hammarström, Harald, Stadler, Peter F., Christiansen, Morten H.


Scholars generally agree that, across languages, the relationship between particular sounds and the meaning of words is arbitrary. In this article the authors test this assumption, seeking patterned associations between sound and meaning in the basic vocabulary lists of a large, worldwide sample of languages.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Automated Similarity Judgment Program DatabaseOther researchersBasic Vocabulary Word Lists for 62% of world languages
Glottolog geneaogical classificationOther researchersGrouping and classification of world languages

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