Dingemanse, M. (2023). Ideophones. In E. Van Lier (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of word classes (pp. 466-476). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Many of the world’s languages feature an open lexical class of ideophones, words whose marked forms and sensory meanings invite iconic associations. Ideophones (also known as mimetics or expressives) are well-known from languages in Asia, Africa and the Americas, where they often form a class on the same order of magnitude as other major word classes and take up a considerable functional load as modifying expressions or predicates. Across languages, commonalities in the morphosyntactic behaviour of ideophones can be related to their nature and origin as vocal depictions. At the same time there is ample room for linguistic diversity, raising the need for fine-grained grammatical description of ideophone systems. As vocal depictions, ideophones often form a distinct lexical stratum seemingly conjured out of thin air; but as conventionalized words, they inevitably grow roots in local linguistic systems, showing relations to adverbs, adjectives, verbs and other linguistic resources devoted to modification and predication
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