Long vowel sounds induce expectations of sweet tastes  

Abhishek Pathak (Lead / Corresponding author), Gemma A. Calvert, Kosuke Motoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
192 Downloads (Pure)


A growing body of research has demonstrated the existence of cross modal correspondences that involve tastes and sounds. For example, front vowels (e.g., /i/) and voiceless consonants (e.g., /f/) are more matched with sweetness than back vowels (e.g., /u/) and voiced consonants (e.g., /b/). However, research on taste-sound correspondences so far has focused mainly on the vowel position (e.g., front vs. back) and/or consonant types (i.e., voiced vs. voiceless). The literature on onomatopoeia and phonaesthetics suggests that vowel length (e.g. /e/ in sweeet vs. swee t) can be used to convey pleasure or euphony (e.g. sweetness) and displeasure (e.g., bitterness). This paper explores the linkages between vowel length and taste attributes. Specifically, this paper investigated the link between long (vs. short) vowel sounds and sweetness. In three studies, we demonstrate that people expect words containing long vowels (e.g., Monef [Məʊni:f]) to connote sweeter tastes than words containing short vowels (e.g., Monef [Mɒnef]). Our findings reveal the importance of vowel length in taste-sound associations, and show its linkage with the taste continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104033
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Early online date18 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Euphony
  • Sound branding
  • Sound symbolism
  • Taste
  • Vowel length
  • Vowels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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