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Palatal is for happiness, plosive is for sadness: evidence for stochastic relationships between phoneme classes and sentiment polarity in Hungarian – Publication by Réka Benczes and Gábor Kovács

2022-12-02 13:19:52

The publication by Réka Benczes and Gábor Kovács was published in the Cambridge University Press.

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Abstract: The past couple of decades have seen a substantial increase in linguistic research that highlights the non-arbitrariness of language, as manifested in motivated sound–meaning correspondences. Yet one of the challenges of such studies is that there is a relative paucity of data-driven analyses, especially in the case of languages other than English, such as Hungarian, even though the proportion of at least partially motivated words in Hungarian vocabulary is substantial. We address this gap by investigating the relationship between Hungarian phoneme classes and positive/negative sentiment based on 3,023 word forms retrieved from the Hungarian Sentiment Lexicon. Our results indicate that positive polarity word forms tend to contain more vowels, front vowels, continuants, fricatives, palatals, and sibilants. On the other hand, negative sentiment polarity words tend to have more rounded vowels, plosives, and dorsal consonants. While our analysis provides strong evidence for a set of non-arbitrary form–meaning relationships, effect sizes also reveal that such associations tend to be fairly weak tendencies, and therefore sentiment polarity cannot be derived from the relative frequencies of phoneme classes in a deterministic fashion. 

Dr. Kovács Gábor István
E épület, 329a
Phone: +36 1 482 5247 • Ext: 5247
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GEN.:2023.02.01. - 21:46:46