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"Ideophone" as a comparative concept

Dingemanse, M. (in press). "Ideophone" as a comparative concept. In K. Akita, & P. Pardeshi (Eds.), Ideophones, Mimetics, and Expressives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
This paper sets out the arguments for ‘ideophone’ as a comparative concept: a notion that captures a recurrent typological pattern and provides a template for understanding language-specific phenomena that prove similar. It revises an earlier definition to explicitly propose that ideophones are typically an open lexical class. A canonical ideophone is a member of an open lexical class of marked words that depict sensory imagery. The five elements of this definition can be seen as dimensions that together generate a possibility space to characterise cross-linguistic diversity in depictive means of expression. This typological space allows for the systematic comparative treatment of ideophones and ideophone-like phenomena. Some phenomena in the typological space of ideophones are discussed to demonstrate the utility of the approach: phonaesthemes in European languages, specialised semantic classes in West-Chadic, diachronic diversions in Aslian, and depicting constructions in signed languages.
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