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How does it hurt, kiri-kiri or siku-siku? Japanese mimetic words of pain perceived by Japanese speakers and English speakers

Iwasaki, Noriko and Vinson, David P. and Vigliocco, Gabriella (2007) 'How does it hurt, kiri-kiri or siku-siku? Japanese mimetic words of pain perceived by Japanese speakers and English speakers.' In: Minami, Masahiko, (ed.), Applying theory and research to learning Japanese as a foreign language. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 2-19.

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Abstract

This study examines the extent to which English speakers with no prior experience of learning Japanese can infer the meanings of Japanese mimetic words of pain. In so doing, we uncover both cross-linguistically shared (possibly universal) and language-specific aspects of sound symbolism present in the Japanese mimetic words. We found that English speakers interpreted reduplicated words very similarly to Japanese speakers in many semantic dimensions (aching, bothering, continuous, affecting wide areas), suggesting the potentially universal effect of reduplication. In contrast, only Japanese speakers are consistently sensitive to voiced-voiceless consonant contrasts (associating words beginning with voiced consonants as more intense, aching, suppressing, and numbing pain). It is important to distinguish between Japanese language-specific sound symbolism and sound symbolism shared between Japanese and the learners’ first language when teaching Japanese as a second/foreign language.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
ISBN: 9781847182890
Depositing User: Noriko Iwasaki
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2009 10:22
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6438

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