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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The fundamental paradox underlying the field of sound symbolism is this: on the one hand, if the form of a word affects its meaning, we should be able to understand a word just by hearing it, and on the other, since this is not true, we would expect the relationship between the sound of a word and its meaning to be arbitrary. But it has been demonstrated repeatedly on a large scale in many unrelated languages that the relationship between the sound and the meaning of a word is not arbitrary. This chapter views the history of sound symbolism as the evolution of our attempts to resolve this paradox.

Keywords: iconicity, Cratylus, phonology, semantics, mimetics

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