Volume 41, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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This paper presents a study on the form-meaning relationship within a subpart of the lexicon, namely lexical reduplication. It compares the semantic classification of lexical reduplication in diverse languages, focusing on three quantitative studies on the distributions of semantic categories in three typologically and genetically unrelated languages, Bikol, Tibetan and Arabic. On this basis, it is argued that the common view that lexical reduplications are a “semantically arbitrary class” and as such irrelevant for studies on reduplication is not justified. It is in contrast claimed that the mapping of certain meanings on this specific phonological pattern is highly iconic, and that these word forms can be classified as a specific subgroup of This group even shows remarkable parallels with the prototypical meanings of morphological reduplication. An explanation for this – certainly controversially discussed – observation could be provided by the cognitive semiotic concept of “cross-modal iconicity” ( Ahlner & Zlatev 2010 ).


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Keyword(s): expressives; iconicity; lexicon; reduplication; semantics
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