This paper demonstrates a new quantitative approach to examine cross-linguistically shared and language-specific sound symbolism in languages. Unlike most previous studies taking a hypothesis-testing approach, we employed a data mining approach to uncover unknown sound-symbolic correspondences in the domain of locomotion, without limiting ourselves to pre-determined sound-meaning correspondences. In the experiment, we presented 70 locomotion videos to Japanese and English speakers and asked them to create a sound symbolically matching word for each action. Participants also rated each action on five meaning variables. Multivariate analyses revealed cross-linguistically shared and language-specific sound-meaning correspondences within a single semantic domain. The present research also established that a substantial number of sound-symbolic links emerge from conventionalized form-meaning mappings in the native languages of the speakers.
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