How Russian speakers express evolution in Pokémon names: An experimental study with nonce words
Gakuji Kumagai, Shigeto Kawahara
November 2021

Sound symbolism, systematic and iconic relationships between sounds and meanings, is now a topic that is very actively explored by linguists, psychologists and cognitive scientists. As a new research strategy to study the nature of sound symbolic connections across different languages, a number of scholars have started using Pokémon names, a research paradigm that is now dubbed "Pokémonastics.” The previous Pokémonastics studies have experimentally explored how the evolution status is symbolically expressed by native speakers of English, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese. Building on these studies, the current experiment examined the sound symbolic knowledge of Russian speakers, and found that they are more likely to associate large, post-evolution Pokémon characters with names containing voiced obstruents than with names containing voiceless obstruents, and that they are also more likely to associate post-evolution characters with names containing [a] than with names containing [i]. The experiment also revealed that Russian speakers are less likely to associate post-evolution characters with names having labial consonants than with names having coronal or dorsal consonants. Overall, the current results show that Russian speakers generally have knowledge of sound symbolic associations that is similar to that of English, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese speakers, suggesting that some sound symbolic patterns hold robustly across multiple languages.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006296
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Linguistic Vanguard
keywords: sound symbolism, pokémon, russian, voicing, poa, vowels, phonology
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