ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop on Experimental Linguistics (ExLing 2008)

Athens, Greece
August 25-27, 2008

"Sounds like a Rainbow" - Sound-Colour Mappings in Vowel Perception

Magdalena Wrembel, Karolina Rataj

School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

The paper reports on an experiment conducted to investigate the nature of speech sound perception in terms of cross-modal mappings between vowel sound stimuli and colour spectrum associations. The study is based on the assumptions stemming from research on synaesthesia, sound symbolism and non-modularity of human perception. The findings indicate that vowel-sound mappings appear non-arbitrary in non-synaesthetic perception and follow the general tendencies in which bright colours are associated with prominent high-pitched sounds, whereas dark colours are attributed to lower-pitched tones. The results may have implications for L2 pronunciation pedagogy in that they may enhance the effectiveness of L2 phonological acquisition.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wrembel, Magdalena / Rataj, Karolina (2008): ""sounds like a rainbow" - sound-colour mappings in vowel perception", In ExLing-2008, 237-240.