The Meaning and Use of Ideophones in Siwu . Iconicity, performance and depiction in ideophones
One of the recurring points in the literature on ideophones is that they are pervasively iconic, or sound-symbolic, phonosemantic, mimetic. All of these roughly interchangeable terms have the same basic import, namely that ideophones are not just arbitrary linguistic signs but that there is in them some perceived resemblance between their form and meaning. In this chapter I explore this idea. I show that there are some significant types of iconic mappings in Siwu ideophones, but I also argue that there are limits to iconicity, that performance characteristics are often overlooked but of crucial importance, and that ideophones are in fact best seen as primarily depictive rather than iconic words.
Tags : ideophones, meaning, idéophones, signification, iconic, sound-symbolic, phonosemantic, mimetic, phonosémantique, mimétique, symbolisme phonétique
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