Impressions of Japanese Character Katakana Strings
Japanese words are written with three types of characters: kanji (Japanese-Chinese characters), hiragana and katakana. Katakana are frequently used for names of goods and people appearing in anime and video games. Impressions of names are affected by meaning, shape of the characters and sounds when they are pronounced. In the present study, meaningless character strings which consisted of three katakana characters were presented on a computer display. Participants looked at each character string and rated their impressions for it using semantic differential method. They were not allowed to pronounce the character strings. The results of factor analysis showed that the impression space for the character strings was spanned by two dimensions, pleasantness and sharpness. The pleasantness was deeply affected by whether the strings included the voiced consonants, /b/, /d/, /g/ or /z/. The sharpness was deeply affected by the place of articulation of the consonant of the first mora in the strings. These results show that the impressions of the character strings are strongly determined by the sounds when the strings are pronounced, despite the fact that the participants were not allowed to pronounce them.
KeywordsCharacter strings Japanese katakana Impression Semantic differential method Factor analysis Consonant
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