Ideophones: Between Grammar and Poetry
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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This article explores the ways that Navajo poet Rex Lee Jim uses ideophony in one of his poems. I argue that Jim’s use of an ideophone in its myriad forms (from nominalized noun to independent ideophone to verb stem) creates an interwoven-ness across lines that evokes an iconicity of sound and sense. I begin by describing something of the grammatical structuring and uses of Navajo ideophony. I then turn to a discussion of contemporary written Navajo poetry that uses ideophony and especially Jim’s poetry. I follow this with a discussion of the use of Navajo ideophony in literacy education and in competing views about the appropriateness of using ideophony in Navajo written literature.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): aesthetics; ideophony; intimate grammars; Navajo; poetry
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