Iconicity ratings for 14,000+ English words

Winter, B., Lupyan, G., Perry, L. K., Dingemanse, M., & Perlman, M. (2023). Iconicity ratings for 14,000+ English words. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi:10.3758/s13428-023-02112-6.
Iconic words and signs are characterized by a perceived resemblance between aspects of their form and aspects of their meaning. For example, in English, iconic words include peep and crash, which mimic the sounds they denote, and wiggle and zigzag, which mimic motion. As a semiotic property of words and signs, iconicity has been demonstrated to play a role in word learning, language processing, and language evolution. This paper presents the results of a large-scale norming study for more than 14,000 English words conducted with over 1400 American English speakers. We demonstrate the utility of these ratings by replicating a number of existing findings showing that iconicity ratings are related to age of acquisition, sensory modality, semantic neighborhood density, structural markedness, and playfulness. We discuss possible use cases and limitations of the rating dataset, which is made publicly available.
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