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Don't Confuse OMC With The Terms 'Sound Symbolism' or 'Phonosemantics'                    
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Don't Confuse "Oral Metaphor Construct" With the Terms "Sound Symbolism" or "Phonosemantics"

    Previous researchers in the area known as "sound symbolism" or "phonosemantics" were able to detect relationships between the sounds of words and their meaning but had difficulty explaining why the relationship existed. They could not find a unifying construct that would explain the phonetic-semantic relationship and, in many instances, they found sounds had meanings that were inconsistent with other sounds. My study is different on two fronts. Firstly, I concentrate on what are referred to as "Most Common Words", ( words comprising approximately 65% of the words commonly spoken or written.) MCW's have constant meanings that are not affected by context. These are the natural words we use comfortably without having to look up their meanings in a dictionary. (The brain can obviously distinguish between words used often and words used rarely.) Secondly, I rely on the principle of the metaphor as it relates to oral configuration that produces the sound and as it relates to sounds in the environment. Using these two approaches, I have been able to establish a unifying construct that explains the phonetic-semantic relationship for MCW's and, thus, believe have verified a single unifying phonetic-semantic construct representing the largest and most varied category of words that has been achieved.
     Researchers in phonosemantics/sound symbolism have typically grouped common words with uncommon words in their studies. Thus, their research has often been riddled with obscurities and anomalies that defy explanation and the explanations offered often reflect the bias of the researcher.  In contrast,  my premise is that each language has a characteristic OMC and EMC imprint which, once deduced, reveals much about the language's other features such as its semantics and grammar. Thus, the difference between the terms "sound symbolism" and "oral metaphor construct" become evident. Sound symbolism relates to the general study of phonetic-semantic relationship of all words of a language ( which tends to be contradictory and non-unifying) whereas Oral Metaphor Construct relates to studying a language's characteristic metaphor imprint relating to a subclass of words---MCW's . It is my belief that the latter provides more concrete and substantially more useful information about a language.
                                                                              --- Asa M. Stepak
Copyright 2002

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