Study: Some words sound farther away than others

TORONTO, April 18 (UPI) — Words have meanings beyond those found in the dictionary. The very sounds of the syllables that form everyday words carry symbolic meaning.

As researchers at the University of Toronto recently discovered, some words sound and feel “farther away” than others. The sounds of the consonants and vowels connote a sense of distance — some sound or feel far, while others intimate closeness.

A pair researchers — a marketing professor and a psychologist — came to the revelation after conducting a series of tests, one of which asked New York City residents to estimate the distance of other cities in New York State from the Big Apple. The city names they were given were fictitious and included places like Floon, N.Y. and Fleen, N.Y.

The results suggest people associate vowel sounds made with the front portion of the tongue — like “ee” in feet — with objects that are relatively close. Vowel sounds made toward the back of the mouth — like “oo” in foot — connoted a sense of greater distance.

Read more: UPI

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