Alliteration, rhyme, and sound symbolism (i.e., the systematic connection between meaning and sound, also known as iconicity) have been widely studied as literary devices heightening the auditory and evocative power of language. However, their underlying role in the coinage of words has been much more neglected in linguistic studies. In this presentation, I will overview in what ways these devices – which bring the phonological make-up of the linguistic sign to the fore – operate in lexis by discussing instantiations of how alliteration is still noticeable in, for instance, onomastics, and how rhyme and sound symbolism are particularly productive in certain spheres of language such as colloquial registers and slang.
Amanda Roig-Marín is currently doing an MPhil in Linguistics at the University of Cambridge. Her main research interests include historical linguistics, language contact, and lexicology.