Soundscapes in English and Spanish: A corpus investigation of verb constructions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This corpus study explores how sound events are communicated in English and Spanish. The aims are to (i) contribute production data for a better understanding of the couplings of meanings and their realizations, (ii) account for typological differences between the languages, and (iii) further the theoretical discussion of how sound is conceptualized through the window of language. We found that, while there are significant differences between the languages with respect to how sound events are communicated, they are similar with respect to what domains the sound descriptions are instantiated in, namely perception, motion, manipulation, emotion-reaction, consumption, and cognition. One striking difference has to do with the conflation of sound for action, e.g., creak, squeak, and sound for motion, e.g., slam, crash. This finding supports the received view of English as a language that may lexicalize manner in those kinds of verbs, while Spanish expresses manner through qualifiers outside the verb. Moreover, both languages employ three different perspectives on the soundscapes: Producer-, Experiencer-, and Phenomenon-based. While English favours the Producer perspective, Spanish features an even distribution between Producer and Experiencer. Phenomenon-based descriptions are relatively few in both languages.


External organisations
  • University of Castilla La Mancha
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • sensory perceptions, embodiment, synaesthesia, manipulatio, motion, lexicalization;, oncept-driven, hearing, Cognitive Semantics
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage and Cognition
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 May 26
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Carita Paradis & Rosario Caballero


Project: ResearchInternational collaboration

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