Volume 19, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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Using data from the Northern Pastaza (qvc) and Upper Napo Quichua (quw) dialects of Amazonian Ecuador, this paper argues that the semantics of ideophones, a highly marked form class of expressive words, is principled and describable with a combination of sensori-semantic features and a fine-grained typology of gestures, based on insights from Streeck (2008) and others. Specifically, ideophones’ sensori-semantics are broken down into a semantic map consisting of 3 super- and 7 subcategorical distinctions. The greater the number of categories encoded by an ideophone’s semantics, the greater are the range of gestures used. Finally, gesture types identified by Streeck (2008) and others, were found among a very different group of people who are not western, educated, industrialized, rich, or democratic. Further research into ideophones and their gestures may find broader significance for ideophone semantics, and more generally, for the interrelations between language and gesture.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): depiction; iconic gestures; ideophones; semantic features; sensory categories
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