Phonosemantics of English consonants and their combinations: students' perception
Understanding the general meaning of phonemes and their combinations helps to guess the meaning of unknown words intuitively. The aim of this paper is to examine nine groups of English phoneme combinations as examples to prove they have some specific common meaning, a so-called DNA that can be traced in all given words. Thus, 108 university students were offered to work with a dictionary and to learn words with particular phoneme combinations in order to examine non-native listeners’ perception. The author insists that the relationship between phonemes and what they signify is non-arbitrary. It is determined that certain consonant combinations retain their meanings even when separated by a vowel. Thus, upon closer examination, words that are not similar to one another but which have identical consonant phonemes combinations bear an element of meaning which is absent in words not containing such combinations. The practical value is that the described model can be successfully applied to learning a foreign language.
Key words: phoneme, meaning of phoneme combination, phonosemantics, sound symbolism, semantic domains, language learning