Eye movements unveil sensitivity of naïve listeners to iconicity of Russian onomatopoeic words





iconicity, onomatopoeic words, Russian, eye tracking, visual world paradigm


Iconicity between form and meaning of words is considered to be instrumental in relating linguistic forms to sensorimotor experience. Some Russian onomatopoeic words (e.g. bac ‘bang’) depict sounds and indicate action connected to these sounds. This study investigated how sensitive adult Finnish L1 speakers with no prior knowledge of Russian are to the iconicity of spoken onomatopoeic words in Russian. First, an iconicity rating test was used to establish the iconicity levels for each token from the perspective of Finnish native speakers who had never learned Russian before. Second, an eye-tracking experiment using different participants, who were also native in Finnish and unfamiliar with Russian, employed the visual world paradigm to test visual recognition of the meaning of spoken words. Our results revealed that iconicity rating for each token varied within the class of onomatopoeic words, and that iconicity ratings for different words were strongly connected with their semantic transparency.


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How to Cite

Häikiö, Tuomo, and Oksana Kanerva. 2023. “Eye movements unveil sensitivity of naïve listeners to iconicity of Russian onomatopoeic words”. Poljarnyj vestnik 26 (November):1-23. https://doi.org/10.7557/6.6880.



Articles (peer reviewed)