SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Iwasaki, Noriko, 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.

[img] PDF
Restricted to SOAS staff only

Request a copy


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: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
ISBN: 9781847182890
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2009 10:22

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item