Mark Dingemanse


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  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). Ideophones in unexpected places. In P. K. Austin, O. Bond, M. Charette, D. Nathan, & P. Sells (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory (pp. 83-97). London: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). Kããã [finalist photo in the 2008 AAA Photo Contest]. Anthropology News, 50(3), 23-23.


    Kyeei Yao, an age group leader, oversees a festival in Akpafu-Mempeasem, Volta Region, Ghana. The expensive draped cloth, Ashanti-inspired wreath, strings of beads that are handed down through the generations, and digital wristwatch work together to remind us that culture is a moving target, always renewing and reshaping itself. Kããã is a Siwu ideophone for "looking attentively".
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The selective advantage of body-part terms. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(10), 2130-2136. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2008.11.008.


    This paper addresses the question why body-part terms are so often used to talk about other things than body parts. It is argued that the strategy of falling back on stable common ground to maximize the chances of successful communication is the driving force behind the selective advantage of body-part terms. The many different ways in which languages may implement this universal strategy suggest that, in order to properly understand the privileged role of the body in the evolution of linguistic signs, we have to look beyond the body to language in its socio-cultural context. A theory which acknowledges the interacting influences of stable common ground and diversified cultural practices on the evolution of linguistic signs will offer the most explanatory power for both universal patterns and language-specific variation.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The enduring spoken word [Comment on Oard 2008]. Science, 323(5917), 1010-1011. doi:10.1126/science.323.5917.1010b.
  • Majid, A., van Leeuwen, T., & Dingemanse, M. (2009). Synaesthesia: A cross-cultural pilot. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field manual volume 12 (pp. 8-13). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.883570.


    Synaesthesia is a condition in which stimulation of one sensory modality (e.g. hearing) causes additional experiences in a second, unstimulated modality (e.g. seeing colours). The goal of this task is to explore the types (and incidence) of synaesthesia in different cultures. Two simple tests can ascertain the existence of synaesthesia in your community.

    Supplementary material

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