14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


Stéfania Bettex, Didier Demolin

Phonology Laboratory, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Studies in Sound Symbolism have showed that the phonetic characteristics of birds, fish and mammals names suggest the workings of universal sound-symbolic processes. This paper describes an experiment with !xóõ data, a southern Khoisan language, to test these claims. Clicks are almost perfect objects for this kind of study because of their intrinsic acoustic properties. Results show that contrary to most studies showing that high frequency is the most important acoustic parameter to symbolize bird names, one must also take other factors into account, i.e. timing and intensity.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bettex, Stéfania / Demolin, Didier (1999): "SOUND SYMBOLISM IN !Xóõ", In ICPhS-14, 1337-1340.