A sound-symbolic alternation to express cuteness and the orthographic Lyman’s Law in Japanese
Gakuji Kumagai
April 2018

The current study deals with two topics. One is the new nicknaming trend in Japanese whereby /h/ alternates with [p]. In Experiment I, we established the hypothesis that the process is driven to express cuteness, and experimentally demonstrated that singleton [p] is more likely to be associated with cuteness than other consonants in Japanese. The other topic discussed in the current paper is the orthographic Lyman’s Law, or OCP(diacritic) (Kawahara 2018). In Experiment II, we tested whether OCP(diacritic) is psychologically real in the minds of Japanese speakers, using nicknames with /h/→[p] alternation already applied. The results showed that the naturalness of nicknames is reduced when they contain singleton [p] and voiced obstruents, both of which need a diacritical mark in hiragana and katakana. This suggests that OCP(diacritic) is active in nicknaming processes beyond rendaku and devoicing of voiced geminates. Experiment II also showed that the naturalness of nicknames is affected by other OCP effects such as OCP(C), OCP(CV), and OCP(labial). This result suggests that such OCP effects impinge on the patterns resulting from by nicknaming formation.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003738
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear, Journal of Japanese Linguistics
keywords: sound symbolism; cuteness; lyman’s law; identity avoidance; ocp-labial effect; japanese nicknaming, phonology
previous versions: v1 [November 2017]
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