The Bouba Kiki Effect and Language

Topics: Language, Language acquisition, Human Pages: 3 (741 words) Published: April 22, 2015
Abbey Stone
Mrs. Alten
Advanced Biology
12/15/14
Utilizing the Bouba Kiki Theory in Language Learning Methods

In 1929, German Psychologist, Wolfgang Kohler, traveled to the island of Tenerife. There he performed an experiment which entailed showing two figures, one jagged and one rounded, to Tenerife natives, and asked them to assign the pseudo words “baluma” and “takete” to the shape they believed to be most appropriate. Kohler found that “baluma” was most frequently assigned to the rounded figure, and “takete” was most frequently assigned to the jagged figure. From this, Kohler developed his theory, The Bouba Kiki Effect, which proposed that humans associate words with soft inflection (“baluma”) to organic shapes and words with hard inflection (“takete”) to geometric or jagged shapes (Kohler, 1929) In 2001, neuroscientists E. Hubbard and V. Ramachandran retested Kohler’s experiment and found that cross-modal integration patterns in the left of the brain resulted the attachment of specific symbolism to a word based on the appearance of its letter arrangement (Hubbard and Ramachandran, 2001), confirming shape/sound synthesaesia (the Bouba Kiki Effect)’s prevalence in human beings of all language groups. As the Bouba Kiki Effect has been confirmed to be a basic tenant of human word analysis, it should be utilized in the development of new, possibly more efficient, methods of learning vocabulary foreign languages. The Bouba Kiki Effect is universal (Robson, 2011) and given that it is present in every human being (Nygaard, 2013) it would prove to be a pragmatic premise for language teaching techniques as it would engage a primal learning system found in everyone and would cater to every type of learner, as it utilizes not only visual recognition, but sound as well (Hubbard, Ramachandran 2001). The Bouba Kiki Effect is also believed to be the process through which human beings developed formal language (Hubbard, Ramachandran 2001), so the same processes used...
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