phonestheme

noun pho·nes·theme \ fō-ˈnes-ˌthēm \

Definition of phonestheme

linguistics
:the common feature of sound occurring in a group of symbolic words
  • He points to a 1929 experiment by Edward Sapir in which Sapir's subjects were asked to match nonsense words with small and large versions of the same object. The subjects tended to match words with a high vowel (such as ee) to the small object and those with a low vowel (such as the o in "cot") to the larger object. British linguist J.R. Firth later called these links between sound and meaning "phonesthemes."
  • —Michael Erard

phonesthemic

play \fō-ˌnes-ˈthē-mik\ adjective

Origin and Etymology of phonestheme

blend of phoneme and esthetic


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