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Sound Symbolism

  • Definition: Certain sounds occur in words not by virtue of being directly imitative of some sound but rather simply by being evocative of a particular meaning. That is, these words, or parts of these words, more abstractly suggest some physical characteristics by the way they sound.

    Source: Language Files, eleventh edition, edited by Vedrana Mihalicek and Christin Wilson

  • Example: Teeny, petite, and wee suggest smallness both in sound and in meaning.

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