The research on this site considers the possibility that there are universal meanings of the sounds used in languages, and that those sounds could be used by a language group or collective consciousness to teach or communicate the attitudes, values, and assumptions about human nature that they (the culture or collective consciousness) approve of, and want those in the group to assume and incorporate into their own consciousness. The work and evidence considered so far establishes, first, (from laboratory studies) that it is likely that there are universal associations across different languages and cultures between some language sounds (in nonsense and foreign words, when possible meanings are suggested), and the meanings people imagine or attribute to those words ( Sapir, 19291, and others ); and, second (from research on this site), that there is a substantial probability that the use of some sounds is associated with group or collective approval of specific social and cultural traits and characteristics.
The theory and evidence on this site suggest that cultures are able to influence the formation and construction of the consciousness ( through the sounds used in the language ) of most participants in a group, to accept and serve the values that the group or culture approves of, and to serve the attitudes and beliefs about human nature that serve the interests of the group.
Several major questions are raised by this work :
In regard to the first question, there is evidence from laboratory studies of the existence of universal associations between language sounds and meanings. Many studies have substantially established that universal associations of language sound and meaning are likely to be a part of the consciousness of most humans. One of the first of these, “A study in phonetic symbolism” (Edward Sapir, 1929 1), established that some language sounds are associated by most people with certain specific meanings, when a selection of possible meanings is assigned to nonsense words by the director of an experiment. In Sapir’s study, subjects were told, for example, that two nonsense words referred to tables and were asked to decide which one they thought was larger – a “ mil ” or a “ mal ”. Sapir said that the results of his experiment indicated that some consonants and vowels “sound bigger” than others.
In most of these studies, participants showed significantly better than chance agreement on the meanings of nonsense words, or the meanings of foreign words unknown to the subject. Many studies have reproduced Sapir’s results, including, “Further studies in phonetic symbolism” (Newman, 1933 2), “Phonetic symbolism in natural languages” (Brown, 1955 3), and many others4 .
A quote from the summary (page 393) of the study by Brown (19553 ) and others summarizes the laboratory research on universal associations between suggested meanings of words and actual meanings of foreign words, or meanings assigned (without knowing the actual meanings of those words) to words by experimental subjects, indicating their (Brown and co-authors) belief that such universal associations are possible “…Three separate investigations, using three lists of English words and six foreign languages [including Chinese, Czech, Hindi, and Japanese] have shown superior to chance agreement and accuracy in the translation of [words in] unfamiliar [ languages ]. The accuracy of the translations can be explained by the assumption of some universal phonetic symbolism in which speech may have originated or toward which speech may be evolving.”
These studies substantially established that, when possible meanings are suggested, subjects agreed on meanings of nonsense words, or translated foreign words, with which they were not familiar, correctly, far more than would be expected if there were no universal associations between sound and meaning.
A more recent comprehensive evaluation of the studies on the subject by Robin Allott, author of “Sound symbolism” 5) summarized scientific opinion as of 1995 : “The evidence for the reality of sound symbolism in various forms seems strong. That it operates within any single language can hardly be doubted. That it can operate between languages and language-communities to a considerable extent also seems to be established by extensive research.”
The research on this site considers a possible relationship between language sound and meaning from a new perspective – to my knowledge, and to this day, there are no studies in any printed journal that consider possible associations between the sounds used in a language and cultural characteristics. Rather than attempting to consider a relationship between sound and meaning of any particular words, this research considers the possibility of a relationship between language sounds and social and cultural characteristics of a group or collective consciousness that uses those sounds in its language. The work on this site considers a relationship that could only be observed (with present technology) by inference, by comparing different languages ( by comparing phonetic systems and cultures - the collective or group consciousness of a language group ) .
The research on this site considers the theory (hypothesis) that certain language sounds – (such as “v”, “z”, “th”as in “them”, and “g” as in “beige”) identified by linguists as “voiced fricatives” – are the phonetic representations of, or symbols for, group approval, acceptance, or toleration of unprovoked violence in a culture – including unprovoked violence against other linguistic groups.
The research on this site establishes a substantial probability that the presence of voiced fricatives in a language is usually associated with social approval, acceptance, or social toleration of unprovoked violence in a culture. Results of the research, based on the author’s classifications of language groups, indicate approximately a 97% probability (based on chi 2 calculations) that an association exists between the presence of voiced fricatives in a language, and social approval, acceptance or toleration of unprovoked violence in a group.
The research on this site, is not, and cannot, by the nature of the comparisons made, be as exact and mathematically quantifiable as laboratory studies of meanings attributed or assigned to words by subjects. The comparisons between language groups in the research on this site are substantially based on the evaluations and observations of field workers, but classification of groups clearly involves a significant component of subjective evaluation of the groups included in the research. Still, many of the classifications of groups are based on a remarkable concurrence between the evaluations of observers (from more than seventy years, to over a hundred years ago) and theoretically predicted cultural values and characteristics ( Choctaw, Menomini, Wintu, Cocopa, Philippine groups ), see: “Theory of Linguistic Derivation” and “Theory… continuing study” ).
In the course of research on the theory, it was observed that many or most spoken languages that use the same writing system have the same or similar phonetic structures. Such similar phonetic systems would suggest grouping languages by the writing system they use, and indicated a need and use for a word for groups of languages that use the same writing system. No word (to my knowledge) existed for such groups in any terrestrial (communally spoken – a communication system) language before this work, so I created a word : KOM , for a group that consists of a written language, and all the spoken languages (one or more) that use that writing system. It was created from postulated universal language meanings of sounds (see “Unconscious frameworks in your consciousness”, section 4, this site).
If such similar phonetic structures caused or contributed to the presence of similar cultural characteristics in groups, they could be observed or inferred by studying the cultural characteristics of language groups. If an individual had an accurate hypothesis about those relationships, then the relationships between cultural characteristics and phonetic systems could be proven by comparison of different languages, which is the procedure used in the research on this site. Benjamin Whorf (1897-1941), an early self-taught linguist, implied that it was his belief that associations between language and culture could exist :
“… the forms of a person’s thoughts are controlled by inexorable laws of pattern of which he is unconscious. These patterns are the unperceived intricate systematizations [ordering structures] of his own language – shown readily enough by candid comparison and contrast with other languages, especially those of a different linguistic family. His thinking itself is in a language, in English, in Sanskrit, in Chinese. And every language is a vast pattern system, different from others, in which are culturally ordained the forms and categories by which the personality not only communicates, but also analyzes nature, notices and neglects types of relationship and phenomena, channels his reasoning and builds the house of his consciousness.”
According to John Carroll ( in: Language, Thought, and Reality , p. 25 ), Whorf believed that : “ . . . there may be inherent relations ( over and above the arbitrary relations established in any given language ) between sounds and meanings .” , and (p. 26), that “…differences in thought content and their corresponding effects on thought processes and behavior in general would be spectacularly revealed by comparison of different language structures.”
This research (the studies on this site) may well represent the beginning of that revelation; the beginning of a new field; and the beginning of understanding of unconscious structures that direct and influence the formation of consciousness, organize perceptions, and organize the development of values, attitudes, beliefs about human nature, and expectations related to the behavior of others.
The research and evidence on this site also suggests that other language structures (grammar, syntax, rules of word formation) could also have universal meanings that could contribute to the formation and construction of consciousness ( for example, the English rule [ possibly a rule in all spoken languages that use the Latin writing system – the Latin kom ] that the “ng” sound [velar nasal] can never start a word ). The only thing that can be reasonably said at the present time about such possible associations is that they could exist, but the only research, of which I am aware, is the work on universal grammar by Noam Chomsky.
In regard to the second question, if the theory (hypothesis) is true, how could it work; how could a culture or language group teach the values they want people to believe just by the sounds used in their language ?
The theory says that, from birth, all humans have innate knowledge of the universal language meanings of all language sounds. If the theory is true, and the presence of the sounds in a language actually causes, or contributes to, the approval and acceptance of violence, or causes acceptance of the perspective that unprovoked violence is an innate and unalterable part of human nature, that has to be tolerated, then an infant could learn that violence is acceptable or has to be tolerated in their culture just by hearing the sounds used by the people around them. Teaching and learning, on another level than the level of adult conscious awareness, of socially approved values, attitudes, and beliefs about human nature – specifically, that a group accepts, approves of, or tolerates unprovoked violence within the group, and by the group or collective consciousness in relation to other [ language ] groups – could occur simply by the use of specific sounds in the presence of an infant.
The theory postulates that this innate knowledge of the universal language meanings of sounds causes the growth and development of synaptic connections (axon and dendrite connections ) in the brain that internalize relationships between the sounds the infant hears and the universal language meanings of those sounds. The infant is taught to connect the cells in their brain (axons and dendrites) in such a way as to confirm the union of the infant with the sound system and the communication system of the parents or care-givers, and with the culture of the group. Those synapse connections become the internal manifestations of knowledge of the universal language meanings of the sounds used by the parents or care-givers, and become the framework and organizing structure within which the infant learns the language of the parents or care-givers, and the language group. Those connections and knowledge of the universal language meaning of the sounds used by the parents, constitute the physical structures that confirm the acceptance by the infant of the attitudes, values and beliefs about human nature that those universal language meanings of sounds represent – the attitudes and values that are approved and accepted by the group and the collective consciousness.
These synaptic connections, based on knowledge of the universal language meanings of the sounds used by the parents, become the framework, the organizing structure, the individual reality and the context within which the infant learns to make sense of the communication system of the parents, the language of the group. It is useful to remember that to an infant, all words are nonsense words, before the infant learns the language of the parents or care-givers.
That framework structure is identical to the structures created by neuron connections in the brains of the infant’s parents or care-givers, and represents the framework within which the parents learned the language of their parents. These are the organizing frameworks of neurons and structures that conditioned or influenced the parents to hold certain values, attitudes, beliefs, and expectations about the motivations of others in the group, and about the forms of behavior and attitudes that are expected and approved in the group. This all occurs as the infant begins to use the organizing structure of those synaptic connections to attempt to communicate with the parents or care-givers, and, in most individuals, well before the infant develops long-term memory.
From the perspective of an infant – when an infant is old enough and aware enough to recognize that there is a world around them, the infant is confronted with a problem: how to make sense out of the world around them, and how to make sense out of the nonsense sounds the people around them are producing (remember that, to an infant, all words, in all languages, are nonsense). It would be useful here to ask yourself , where would you start ? Obviously, if there are universal meanings that you know of language sounds ( and universal meanings of other language structures – such as grammar, syntax, word structure ), you would start with the universal meanings of the sounds ( and other language structures ) used by the parents or care-givers. Knowing the universal meanings of those sounds would allow you to begin to understand the values and attitudes your parents or care-givers were trying to teach you, and wanted you to accept. Those synaptic connections would create a framework that would allow you to create a group of guesses about what the adults around you were trying to communicate to each other and to you. You would start to try to use those sounds and imitate the sounds the larger beings made and used. The sounds you tried to imitate and their universal language meanings would, according to the theory, be incorporated and internalized in your consciousness and your brain by connections (permanent synaptic connections between axons and dendrites) between neurons. This would all occur as you, the infant, were learning the language of your parents or care-givers, and before you, the infant, developed long-term memory that would allow you to remember the existence of those universal language meanings. The beginnings of [verbal expression of ] language acquisition usually start around age one, and long-term memory (ability to remember events for a lifetime) usually does not develop until around age two. Because you had no long-term memory of the existence of these connections in your brain, you would have no way of knowing they were there until someone asked you, for instance, which kind of table you thought was larger, a “mil” or a “mal” ( Sapir, 19291, p. 227 ) .
Most people cannot remember how they learned the language they speak; most people can’t remember the structures and formation of the neuron connections that allowed them to learn and make sense of the primary language they use because they did not have long-term memory at the time. ( Long-term memory usually develops around age two with the development and proliferation of connections between the medial temporal cortex and the hippocampus, adjacent areas of the brain closely associated with speech and long-term memory. )
The infant gradually loses conscious contact with, and conscious knowledge of the existence of this organizing structure in their brain, as the infant learns the language of the parents, and the communication system of the group. The infant gradually abandons conscious associations with universal language meanings of sounds, and begins to rely exclusively on the group’s implied assumption and perspective that language sounds have no specific meaning in themselves, and only have meaning when the group or collective consciousness assigns and attributes a meaning to a sound or group of sounds – a word. Conscious knowledge of the existence of these universal language associations of language sound with universal meanings of sounds would ordinarily only be apparent, after substantially learning the primary language, when some attempt is made to suggest to the individual that they attribute some meaning to words or groups of sounds that are not included in the language they speak and with which they are not familiar (foreign or nonsense words, as in the study by Sapir, 19291 ).
Third, if the theory (hypothesis) is accurate, proven to be true, and becomes common knowledge, what benefits could come from, or result from that knowledge ? If people recognized and became aware of the unconscious influences on their own consciousness, could that help to reduce unprovoked violence ? Could knowledge of the possible influences on their own consciousness (synaptic connections created as an infant between universal language meanings and the sounds and structures of their own language) help people to see the basic unity of all human consciousness, help all in the human community to work together to serve the interests of all as equals, and recognize the source of all human languages and consciousness as one consciousness that worked with human groups (at the time that languages started) to create the sound system that each group wanted to use, based on the universal language meanings of the sounds that that group wanted to use ? If the theory is true, it is clearly within the realm of possibility that it could.
This research and the evidence on this site points to a serious possibility that there is a consciousness that worked with human groups to create the sound system that each group wanted to use, based on the universal language meanings of the sounds that the group wanted to use, to create their language.
Another question in relation to this work that would occur to most reasonable people is : why would those in the economic and politically controlling group, and their servants, the academic establishment, want to deny the existence, the potential significance, and the potential benefit of this research to the human community ?
Probably the most important reason those in positions of economic and political control, and their servants, the academic establishment, oppose this research and want to prevent additional research in the field is because, if the theory could be proven to be true and factual, then contradictions between the consciously approved and espoused values of the group, and unconsciously approved and advocated values of the group would be exposed to public scrutiny. In cultures that use the sounds considered (in this research) in their language and formally claim to serve, or aspire to serve, what have been commonly described as “Judeo-Christian” values ( opposition to unprovoked violence, the birthright equality of all people, and respect for the dignity and integrity of every individual ), the contradictions between the formally and consciously espoused values of the group (opposition to unprovoked violence, and respect for the integrity of each individual) , and the unconsciously conditioned, advocated and approved values of the group ( approval and acceptance, or toleration of unprovoked violence as an inherent and unalterable part of human nature ) would be exposed to public observation. These are the possibly unconscious group values and attitudes that could well be the source of collective approval of violence and possible murder for entertainment and profit – “boxing” and “other forms of violence” – and the source of collective, group approval of murder by the state (identified as “capital punishment”), sometimes of individuals who probably did not commit the crime of which they were accused.6
For example, the culture of the United States, as a group consciousness, claims to both oppose unprovoked violence (as in bullying, assault), and approve of unprovoked violence, and possible murder, for entertainment and profit ( “boxing” ), and murder by the state, possibly (probably) demonstrating such diametrically opposed conscious and unconscious value systems in physical reality.
The U. S. National Science Foundation (and probably the science research branches of all governments) has been all too eager to support research that examines and considers the symptoms and results of violence – physically observable instances, manifestations, and effects of violence 7, all the while, religiously avoiding studying, or even considering the possibility of the existence of unconscious causes and influences, in the communication system of the group, that could promote, encourage, condition and result in, individual, and popular acceptance, approval, and toleration of violence in a group.
It is probable that the economic and political establishment are also concerned that, if the existence of the universal language connections in the brains of most participants in the group were widely known, a large proportion of the population could become aware of the possibility of creation of a more equitable and socially responsible society, and create a collective or group consciousness that actually does serve the interests of all as equals, as represented in the U. S. declaration of independence.
This work also raises the possibility of consideration of indirect violence as a possible cause of direct physical violence. A form of indirect violence that could be identified as an actual source of physical violence is the imposition by a small minority, the most economically advantaged group, (the plutocracy – most economically advantaged group – that controls, for example, the governments of the United States and most Western countries8), of artificially contrived, and unnecessary, deprivation and scarcity (of housing, employment) on the least economically advantaged group, through control of the vast majority of the economic resources and benefits available in a technological culture. As an example, in the United States, the most economically advantaged group has imposed an economy of deprivation on the least economically advantaged group, that has deprived many of basic needs – adequate clothing and nutrition, decent shelter and living conditions, and decent medical care (that would have prevented one recent death of a child from a brain infection caused by a tooth abscess, because no dentist or physician would treat the individual, because the child had no medical insurance 9 ). Socially approved indirect violence in the United States includes opposing the right of all citizens to employment – the right to make a reasonably compensated contribution to the interests of the group (employment, which could be provided by a government when no private employment was available) – to many citizens, and assures that some people will not have sufficient resources for a decent life.
Those in the economic and political establishment, and their servants, the academic establishment, clearly want to deny the possibility of scientific evidence and proof of the existence of any relationship between something they, the economic and political establishment, have no means to control intentionally – the sound system and structure of the language of the group – and an unconscious value and belief system that could, or does, serve social approval and toleration of unprovoked violence through unconscious structures in the brains of most participants in the culture.
It has been, and is, clear that all establishment groups on this planet almost certainly have something they want to conceal (including the fact of Chinese government blocking of this site) in relation to possible associations between universal language meanings, language sound, and unconscious cultural conditioning of values, attitudes, and beliefs about human nature.
If the associations predicted by the theory (hypothesis) exist, it could well mean that there is a causal, (unconscious patterning, influence, or conditioning) relationship between social approval or disapproval of specific social, cultural and psychological characteristics, and the use of specific sounds, in a language.
As a technical point, while establishing the existence of an association would not prove a causal relationship (the existence of an association would not prove that specific values, attitudes, and beliefs in a culture caused the use of specific sounds in a language), the possibility that a causal relationship, or even an association, could exist, has been, and is, apparently considered so threatening and so potentially harmful to the interests of the economic and political controlling groups and their servants, the academic establishment, in all language groups and communication systems (on this planet), that not one of them, to my knowledge, prior to this work, even had a word for a concept that would be obviously significant and useful if such a relationship did exist: kom – the group that consists of a written language and all (one or more) spoken languages that use that writing system.
One additional reason those in the academic controlling group oppose this research is relatively simple – the field was started by an undergraduate, and those with ostensibly “higher” degrees don’t want their investment in obedience and subservience to conventional thought patterns, and the conventional dogma of the group that provides them with their income ( That conventional dogma is the widely held belief and assumption that the only meaning a sound or word has, or could possibly have, is the meaning consciously designated, ascribed to that word, and agreed on by that group or collective consciousness. That dogma also includes denial of the existence of a direct relationship between the sounds chosen by a group [a group or collective consciousness] – the sounds used in the language of the group – and the cultural values and beliefs about human nature of the group – the attitudes and values that are accepted and approved by the group. ) to be devalued by public recognition of what could possibly become known to be a fact: that an individual, with no degree, could start, research, and, possibly, prove the existence of a new field, without their intentional participation, permission, or approval.
This research, and other work and research, could well establish not only the existence of a new field, but a whole new group of sciences, the moral sciences; sciences that explore unconscious social influences on the formation of consciousness. Moral sciences would include all the previous studies on universal language meanings of language sounds, when possible meanings were suggested, the research on this site, studies that established universal associations between physical forms and language sounds (bobo and kiki10 ), and research on conscious effects of unconscious attitudes and preconceptions regarding associations between the physical appearance of others and characteristics attributed to others – particularly regarding groups that are disparaged or derogated by a controlling or dominant group11.
Those who imagine themselves to be the source of all knowledge (i.e., the European ancestry academic establishment) may want to know nothing about possible associations between the sounds used in languages and cultural characteristics, however, if such associations exist, knowledge and understanding of them could help to unite the human community to serve the interests of all: providing decent shelter, food, and clothing for all; providing energy sources and a sustainable biosphere for all, uniting to fight disease, and understanding the differences in collective consciousnesses that are the source of the divisions that lead to aggression and animosity between group consciousnesses.
If you want to become part of the work toward a new direction for humanity, away from the old dogma of ignorance and suppression of knowledge, and toward unity of the human community, and real understanding of human consciousness and the consciousness of the creator from whom all human consciousness is derived, I recommend reading sections two (blue highlighted) and three of “Unconscious frameworks in your consciousness” first, then reading “ Theory of linguistic derivation: continuing study”, if you’re interested in the specific evidence. Become a part of a new consciousness for humanity – the start of one of the ways to unity for the human community.
Critics and supporters are welcome to send (intelligent) comments to me from the Comments/Questions page by clicking here.
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1 Sapir, Edward, 1929, “ A Study in Phonetic Symbolism ”, Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 12, , p. 225-239
2 Newman, Stanley, 1933, “Further experiments in phonetic symbolism” , American Journal of Psychology, vol. 45, p. 53-75
3 Brown, Roger W.; Black, Abraham H.; Horowitz, Arnold E. , May, 1955, “Phonetic symbolism in natural languages”, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, Vol. 50 (3), p. 388-393.
4 Birch, D. and Erickson, M., 1958, “Phonetic symbolism with respect to three dimensions from the semantic differential”, Journal of General Psychology , vol. 58, p. 291-297
5 Allott, Robin, 1995, “Sound Symbolism”, Language in the Wurm Glaciation, (book), editor, Figge, Udo L. , p. 15-38
6 Jesse J. Tafero , executed May 4, 1990, Florida, Tafero never admitted guilt in the matter.
7 Two recent examples : NSF grant #1156624 , approved March 18, 2012,
NSF grant # 1153230, approved March 25, 2012, $62,469. , two year grant, “Violence in Urban Communities” , University of Texas at Austin
8 Those who question that the government of the United States is controlled by the most economically advantaged group are invited to read the New York Times article of March 24, 2011, “GE’s strategies let it avoid taxes altogether” at:
9 “Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old homeless child, died Sunday [ April 27, 2007 ] in a District [ Washington, D. C. area, Prince Georges County, Maryland ] hospital after an infection from a molar [ a tooth abscess ] spread to his brain. At the time he fell ill, his family's Medicaid coverage had lapsed.” – Washington Post, March 3, 2007
10 Maurer, D.; Pathman, T.; and Mondloch, C. J. , (2006), “The shape of boubas: Sound - shape correspondences in toddlers and adults”, Developmental Science, Vol. 9, # 3, p. 316-322
11 Greenwald, Anthony J., et. al., (1998) , “ Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: the Implicit Association Test ”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 74, p. 1464 – 1467
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