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Andreas Johansson wrote:


>I wrote:
>>Daivd Peterson wrote:
>>>In a message dated 04/7/02 2:44:25 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:
>>>
>>><< Now, as anybody investigated the possibility that it
>>>isn't the phones [i] and [a] that have these connotations, but the graphs
>>>{i} and {a}? Most linguistis are used to the Latin alphabet, in which {i}
>>>is
>>>undeniably smaller than {a}, and my gut feeling is that my association of
>>>[i] to smallness is at least partly orthographically motivated, but has
>>>anyone made a scientific study? >>
>>>
>>>     Wouldn't the Japanese examples counter this, since Japanese doesn't
>>>use
>>>Latin orthography?
>>
>>It would - I wasn't aware of any Japanese examples. I assume that the kana
>>for sylllables containing /i/ aren't suspiciously small!
>
>On second thoughts, it perhaps would. If it's only Japanese, it could be
>mere coincidence, or, if we're really unlucky, a special quirk of the
>Japanese psyche to associate [i]=small and [a]=big.

Austronesian langs. too, which weren't romanized until relatively recently.
Ind/Malay k@'cil 'little', b@'sar 'big'
Many use a base **(C)-iki for 'little', can't think of 'big' offhand.
Bugis:  ba'iccu? ~ 'biccu? little
Bali:  agung 'great, big'
etc. etc .
There's also occasionally use of /i/ for 'nearby', /u/ for 'far':  Ml. ini
this, itu that; sini 'here', sana 'there'
And the usual onomat. /i/ for little/high sounds, /a/ or /u/ for loud/deep
sounds

Of course Kash:  mimik 'little', raka 'big'; tiń 'sound of little bell', tań
'sound of big bell'; triń 'sound of light hammering/tapping', trań 'sound of
heavy hammering'. But one shouldn't be too regular with this sort of
thing.......