The iconicity toolbox: Empirical approaches to measuring iconicity

Yasamin Motamedi, Hannah Little, Alan Nielsen, Justin Sulik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Growing evidence from across the cognitive sciences indicates that iconicity plays an important role in a number of fundamental language processes, spanning learning, comprehension, and online use. One benefit of this recent upsurge in empirical work is the diversification of methods available for measuring iconicity. In this paper, we provide an overview of methods in the form of a ‘toolbox’. We lay out empirical methods for measuring iconicity at a behavioural level, in the perception, production, and comprehension of iconic forms. We also discuss large-scale studies that look at iconicity on a system-wide level, based on objective measures of similarity between signals and meanings. We give a detailed overview of how different measures of iconicity can better address specific hypotheses, providing greater clarity when choosing testing methods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage and Cognition
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2019


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