Pokémonikers: A study of sound symbolism and Pokémon names
Keywords:sound symbolism, iconicity, names, onomastics, phonology, corpus linguistics, cognitive science
AbstractSound symbolism flouts the core assumption of the arbitrariness of the sign in human language. The cross-linguistic prevalence of sound symbolism raises key questions about the universality versus language-specificity of sound symbolic correspondences. One challenge to studying cross-linguistic sound symbolic patterns is the difficulty of holding constant real-world referents across cultures. In this study, we address the challenge of cross-linguistic comparison by utilising a rich, cross-linguistic dataset drawn from the Pokémon game franchise. Within this controlled universe, we compare the sound symbolisms of Japanese and English Pokémon names (pokemonikers). Our results show a tendency in both languages to encode the same attributes with sound symbolism, but also reveal key differences rooted in language-specific structural and lexical constraints.
Published by the LSA with permission of the author(s) under a CC BY 4.0 license.
How to Cite
Shih, Stephanie S., Jordan Ackerman, Noah Hermalin, Sharon Inkelas, and Darya Kavitskaya. 2018. “Pokémonikers: A Study of Sound Symbolism and Pokémon Names”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 3 (1): 42:1–6. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4335.