Ideophones: Between Grammar and Poetry
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Ideophones are found in many of the world’s languages. Though they are a major word class on a par with nouns and verbs, their origins are ill-understood, and the question of ideophone creation has been a source of controversy. This paper studies ideophone creation in naturally occurring speech. New, unconventionalised ideophones are identified using native speaker judgements, and are studied in context to understand the rules and regularities underlying their production and interpretation. People produce and interpret new ideophones with the help of the semiotic infrastructure that underlies the use of existing ideophones: foregrounding frames certain stretches of speech as depictive enactments of sensory imagery, and various types of iconicity link forms and meanings. As with any creative use of linguistic resources, context and common ground also play an important role in supporting rapid ‘good enough’ interpretations of new material. The making of new ideophones is a special case of a more general phenomenon of creative depiction: the art of presenting verbal material in such a way that the interlocutor recognises and interprets it as a depiction.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conversation; creativity; depiction; iconicity; ideophones; semiotics; Siwu
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error