Phono-semantically Motivated Lexical Patterns: Evidence from English and Modern Greek.
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Generally, linguistic theory assumes that the association between sound and meaning is essentially arbitrary: a meaning can theoretically be represented by almost any set of sounds in a language. This study, however, will show that linguistic signs appear to be less arbitrary and their meaning highly motivated by their sound. In particular, of the sound-symbolic forms, as exposed in Hinton et al (1994), I will confine myself only to those referred to as phonaesthemes (Firth, 1930). In Mela-Athanasopoulou (2001), I argued that phonaesthemes do meet the criteria for being full morphemes, due to their ability to recur with the same meaning at the same position operating as root-forming elements. Here, I will provide a more detailed analysis of the multiple parameters of expressive elements in both English and Modern Greek and indicate that the semantic features of such forms are more evaluative and subjective as well as language specific.