Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: How is it possible for us to associate sounds with meanings and physical shapes?

  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    279

    Default How is it possible for us to associate sounds with meanings and physical shapes?

    I have always found this quite interesting, and it seems like it could be a very common form of synesthesia.
    One of the more famous experiments on this is the "Kiki/Bouba" test, where apparently as many as 98% associate the word "Kiki" with sharp, pointy shapes, whereas most people associate "Bouba" with soft, rounded shapes.
    This probably has something to do with the way we shape our mouths while saying those words, but some other sounds are a bit harder to explain.
    For example, the sound of a clarinet is often decribed as "stringy" or "reedy", and even though this shouln't really have anything to do with clarinet sounds, there still seems to be some sort of connection there, just like the sound of a flute is commonly decribed as "mellow".
    I also remember when someone challenged me to guess what colour the word "avis" belonged to, and for some reason I immediately just knew that it was probably either blue or white, and certainly not red - and I was right, it was indeed either blue or white (I cannot remember which one, but it was one of them).
    And I could make these conclusions even though I had never heard that word before --- "avis" just felt blue or white to me.

    There is also that word "chartreuse", which a lot of people seem to mistake for red or maroon, even though it is actually yellowish green.
    I think the reason for this is because "chartreuse" really isn't a particularly fitting word for the yellow/green spectrum, since it just somehow has a more reddish tone to it - I have suggested the word "calleuse" a few times, since I feel that that word has a much more green/yellow sound to it, but officially the right word is "chartreuse", which to me, and apparently a lot of other people, seems to be more associated with red.

    Some other words have more logical connections though, like for example the word "quick" is a short word with short syllables, and hence the word itself can seem quick to say, and the words "large" and "tiny" are spoken with large and tiny mouth movements, respectively.
    Last edited by Peter1986; 07-10-2017 at 03:40 PM.

  2. #2
    disc jockey to your heart krissy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    in the rain
    Posts
    5,598
    Articles
    1
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default

    i know people who see color in sound so if there's colour im sure there's shape that follows for some

    you also develop associations over time. sharp things like sticks cracking are usually high frequency, big flour dough that's round has a deep bass sound when it smacks the table, etc

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by krissy View Post
    i know people who see color in sound so if there's colour im sure there's shape that follows for some

    you also develop associations over time. sharp things like sticks cracking are usually high frequency, big flour dough that's round has a deep bass sound when it smacks the table, etc
    Yeah well, it certainly seems like some form of very common synesthesia.
    In fact, I am sure that this connection between sounds and objects was an important factor when we invented languages.

    Take the English word "twig", for example - that word can to some extent be thought of as onomatopoeia for that sound a twig makes when you break it.
    Same thing with the adjective "quick" as well - that word has a short vowel sound, so the word itself could be considered quick, which would be pretty clever.

  4. #4
    Sh♥tposter Extraordinaire Jinx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    21,504
    Articles
    4
    Blog Entries
    14

    FFXIV Character

    Winter Arcana (Sargatanas)

    Default

    Hi, synesthete here.

    You answered your own question in the first sentence.
    mfw you post

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
    Hi, synesthete here.

    You answered your own question in the first sentence.
    Not really, I simply suggested that as a possilbe explanation and encouraged a discussion (hence the "seems like" and "could be" parts).
    The issue there though is that synesthesia is typically somewhat uncommon, so it's kind of bold to confidently assume that this is the explanation.

    Anyway, I have noticed that I tend to often agree with Tolkien's choices of words for his invented languages in the "Lord Of The Rings" legendarium.
    For example, for some reason I always felt that "rokko" is an incredibly fitting word for "horse", and I believe his Quenya words for "light" and "dark" are "calŽ" and "morniŽ", respectively.
    I usually often disagree with people's choices of words when they invent their own languages, because their words typically feel "off" or poorly chosen, but Tolkien almost always nails it to me.
    "CalŽ" has a much more "bright" and "shining" sound than "morniŽ" IMO, and vice versa, and I believe that he had a lot of knowledge about this since he had a huge passion for languages, so he probably knew a lot about this apparent "sound synesthesia" thing adn which words to go for.

    His choices of words for colours is also quite interesting - his Quenya word for "red" is "carnŽ", and I could never imagine a word like that being used for "green" or anything like that.
    His Quenya word for that colour, "laiquŽ", feels much more fitting.
    These are some examples of words that probably cannot be easily explained - they just kinda seem to fit their meanings in some weird ways.

    I find these kinds of sound/object connections very fascinating, so I could go on forever like this.
    Last edited by Peter1986; 07-12-2017 at 11:35 PM.

  6. #6
    Skyblade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Earth, approximately
    Posts
    10,336

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1986 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
    Hi, synesthete here.

    You answered your own question in the first sentence.
    Not really, I simply suggested that as a possilbe explanation and encouraged a discussion (hence the "seems like" and "could be" parts).
    The issue there though is that synesthesia is typically somewhat uncommon, so it's kind of bold to confidently assume that this is the explanation.

    Anyway, I have noticed that I tend to often agree with Tolkien's choices of words for his invented languages in the "Lord Of The Rings" legendarium.
    For example, for some reason I always felt that "rokko" is an incredibly fitting word for "horse", and I believe his Quenya words for "light" and "dark" are "calŽ" and "morniŽ", respectively.
    I usually often disagree with people's choices of words when they invent their own languages, because their words typically feel "off" or poorly chosen, but Tolkien almost always nails it to me.
    "CalŽ" has a much more "bright" and "shining" sound than "morniŽ" IMO, and vice versa, and I believe that he had a lot of knowledge about this since he had a huge passion for languages, so he probably knew a lot about this apparent "sound synesthesia" thing adn which words to go for.

    His choices of words for colours is also quite interesting - his Quenya word for "red" is "carnŽ", and I could never imagine a word like that being used for "green" or anything like that.
    His Quenya word for that colour, "laiquŽ", feels much more fitting.
    These are some examples of words that probably cannot be easily explained - they just kinda seem to fit their meanings in some weird ways.

    I find these kinds of sound/object connections very fascinating, so I could go on forever like this.
    Well, when it comes to Tolkein, it is important to remember that he was a professor of linguistics. So, his made up language was actually constructed by someone who knew and studied the structure and makeup of languages and words.

    Some of his words weren't even invented by himself, but rather, reformed. For example, I believe "ent" was originally found in Proto-Germanic cultures, among context typically used for giants and ettins, but without a clear definition of what it referred to. So he created a new giant-type creature for whom the word would apply.

    Tolkein's love of language and words was behind a lot of his works (as you will see very clearly if you read The Silmarillion).
    Last edited by Skyblade; 07-13-2017 at 12:18 AM.
    My friend Delzethin is currently running a GoFundMe account to pay for some extended medical troubles he's had. He's had chronic issues and lifetime troubles that have really crippled his career opportunities, and he's trying to get enough funding to get back to a stable medical situation. If you like his content, please support his GoFundMe, or even just contribute to his Patreon.

    He can really use a hand with this, and any support you can offer is appreciated.

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyblade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1986 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
    Hi, synesthete here.

    You answered your own question in the first sentence.
    Not really, I simply suggested that as a possilbe explanation and encouraged a discussion (hence the "seems like" and "could be" parts).
    The issue there though is that synesthesia is typically somewhat uncommon, so it's kind of bold to confidently assume that this is the explanation.

    Anyway, I have noticed that I tend to often agree with Tolkien's choices of words for his invented languages in the "Lord Of The Rings" legendarium.
    For example, for some reason I always felt that "rokko" is an incredibly fitting word for "horse", and I believe his Quenya words for "light" and "dark" are "calŽ" and "morniŽ", respectively.
    I usually often disagree with people's choices of words when they invent their own languages, because their words typically feel "off" or poorly chosen, but Tolkien almost always nails it to me.
    "CalŽ" has a much more "bright" and "shining" sound than "morniŽ" IMO, and vice versa, and I believe that he had a lot of knowledge about this since he had a huge passion for languages, so he probably knew a lot about this apparent "sound synesthesia" thing adn which words to go for.

    His choices of words for colours is also quite interesting - his Quenya word for "red" is "carnŽ", and I could never imagine a word like that being used for "green" or anything like that.
    His Quenya word for that colour, "laiquŽ", feels much more fitting.
    These are some examples of words that probably cannot be easily explained - they just kinda seem to fit their meanings in some weird ways.

    I find these kinds of sound/object connections very fascinating, so I could go on forever like this.
    Well, when it comes to Tolkein, it is important to remember that he was a professor of linguistics. So, his made up language was actually constructed by someone who knew and studied the structure and makeup of languages and words.

    Some of his words weren't even invented by himself, but rather, reformed. For example, I believe "ent" was originally found in Proto-Germanic cultures, among context typically used for giants and ettins, but without a clear definition of what it referred to. So he created a new giant-type creature for whom the word would apply.

    Tolkein's love of language and words was behind a lot of his works (as you will see very clearly if you read The Silmarillion).
    Yeah, I have read The Silmarillion in English several times, and a lot of that book feels a bit like one big excuse to play around with languages.
    He always has a whole bunch of names for everything - for example, there is one character who is referred to by the names ElwŽ, Singollo, Elu and Thingol and Greycloak, and it's pretty much the same story for a lot of the other characters.
    But I find that pretty fascinating, and it seems quite original how his passion for languages actually resulted in an extremely deep story.

    He also seems really good at giving his different languages their own characteristic sounds.
    Quenya sounds a lot like Finnish, and the Ent language has a lot of L-sounds and very long, melodic words.
    Last edited by Peter1986; 07-13-2017 at 12:32 AM.

  8. #8
    fat_moogle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,703
    Articles
    10

    FFXIV Character

    Kurisu Kazama (Sargatanas)

    Default

    Some other words have more logical connections though, like for example the word "quick" is a short word with short syllables, and hence the word itself can seem quick to say, and the words "large" and "tiny" are spoken with large and tiny mouth movements, respectively.
    Interesting. I never really thought of if like that, and you actually had me mouthing the words. However...

    Anyway, I have noticed that I tend to often agree with Tolkien's choices of words for his invented languages in the "Lord Of The Rings" legendarium.
    For example, for some reason I always felt that "rokko" is an incredibly fitting word for "horse", and I believe his Quenya words for "light" and "dark" are "calŽ" and "morniŽ", respectively.
    ...you lost me here. You only agree that those words "fit" the meaning because that's the word he made for them. For example if "calŽ" and "morniŽ" were dark and light respectively, not light and dark, then I expect you'd still say that they "fit". I mean we all know that a tree is a tree and a rock is a rock, but what if that wasn't the case and a rock was a tree and a tree was a rock - they'd fit because that's what we'd know them as.
    <a href=http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m3/Valentine-06/Signatures/fat_mooglesig2.png target=_blank>http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m...mooglesig2.png</a>

  9. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fat_moogle
    ...you lost me here. You only agree that those words "fit" the meaning because that's the word he made for them. For example if "calŽ" and "morniŽ" were dark and light respectively, not light and dark, then I expect you'd still say that they "fit". I mean we all know that a tree is a tree and a rock is a rock, but what if that wasn't the case and a rock was a tree and a tree was a rock - they'd fit because that's what we'd know them as.
    Well, not really - it may be a factor, but I do often feel that certain words are more or less fitting simply from the way they sound.
    For example, if someone were to suggest the word "minya" to me for the adjective "hard" then I would disagree, simply because the word "minya" has such a soft sound, so it would kind of clash - just like the word "Kiki" would clash with soft, rounded shapes.
    I would definitely use "minya" for "soft" instead.

    I have made up a few words myself for some time (in fact, I made up "minya" for "soft" just now just to use it as an example, lol) and I certainly feel that some words are more "fitting" than ohers for different meanings.
    I have chosen the word "lorya" for "round" for example, probably because your mouth temporarily gets a round shape when you say that word - I know for sure that I would never use "lorya" for a quadratic shape, because it just doesn't "sound" like a square shape to me.
    I have also chosen the word "ardŠlo" for "tree", but I don't know why - it just somehow kind of seems to fit.
    Maybe I am thinking of the Spanish word "Šrbol".

    By the way, I looked up Tolkien's words for "hard", "soft" and "round" a while ago, and he has used "sarda", "milya" and "corna", and they seem reasonably fitting to me.
    But I do seem to aim for a sound that's very close to Quenya, so I might have similar preferences.
    Last edited by Peter1986; 07-13-2017 at 11:59 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •