When I started this blog, back in 2009, I was very much talking to myself. Thank you to everyone who has made the process of writing a PhD dissertation a great deal less lonely and a great deal more rewarding – to all my online peers, friends, colleagues and comrades. Thank you also to the ever-inspiring and supportive Twitter community of which I am a part. (I am sure I would have gone batty without you.)
Many, many thanks and incendiary wishes – here’s to a future where all information is free, all knowledge is shared and discussion [is] open and dynamic.
Expressive phonology. Is cool. I am trying to understand a little bit more about ideophones today. I’m not completely sure how far this understanding has progressed, but I am certainly charmed.
Ideophones are words that ‘evoke a vivid impression of certain sensations or sensory perceptions, e.g. sound, movement, color, shape, or action.’ They can be nouns, adjectives, adverbs or verbs. They are kind of mimetic. Of a sensory experience. Or something.
Onomatopoeic words are ideophones, for example, because ‘they imitate the sound of the event that they refer to.’ Then there are ideophones that (kind of) seem onomatopoeic but are not, like the English verb ‘[to] tinkle,’ which is associated with a metallic sound, or the word ‘gong’ which refers to an instrument that (kind of) makes that sound when you strike it.
Examples, speculative examples and thoughts . . . or questions, rather.
‘Badonkadonk’ is a large, voluptuous female buttocks in English, apparently. In Portuguese, a person’s buttocks is bum-bum. The Yolŋu-matha word for bottom or buttocks is dhuḏi. These are all ideophones I think, though how or why is hard to say. Do they sound like the experience of watching a person’s bottom? One of the wiki-examples given is ‘hippetyhop’ as in ‘the rabbit goes hippetyhop.’ How might one describe the relationship between the sound of this word and the event it refers to, though? Our house-guest offered rangichangi as an example – the Nepali word for ‘colourful.’ Also mentioned was farfalla, which is the Italian word for butterfly.
Some speculative examples from Yolŋu-matha include things like ḏukṯuk (‘[to] love, want, desire’), which sounds like a heartbeat – or gitkit (‘laughter’) and gitkitthun (‘[to] laugh’). Then there are words like djuḏum (‘mud’), which evokes the sensation or experience of pulling one’s feet out of mud as one walks . . . but is this an ideophone? I’m not sure. It would seem to be quite subjective. What if, for example, djuḏum evokes the sensation or experience of pulling one’s feet out of the mud for me but not for others? Similarly, the verb gakthun (‘[to] vomit, spew, puke’) seems like an ideophone to me, but is it? Can we say definitively? Perhaps one need hear these words uttered to experience the relationship between the sound of the word and (one’s own experience of) whatever it is that they are referring to. I’m not sure. And what about languages that are ‘more phonetic’ than others, are they likely to have more ideophones? I don’t know. So many questions (she says as she falls further down the rabbit-hole of I don’t nose). Maybe I should download a linguistics paper or something.
Hey look, it’s the new AAA!†
†AAA is usually a reference to the American Anthropological Association.
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir
I went to the radiologist for a cortisone injection yesterday. I have a sore foot. T’was administered under the guidance of an ultrasound, though that is to the side of the point of this notation.
Upon arrival [at the radiologist], I was asked to fill out a fairly standard form. Name. Date Of Birth. Etcetera. Etcetera. I filled out the details I thought necessary, and underwent my procedure. Before leaving the rooms, however, I was summoned back to the front desk.
“You didn’t specify a title. We need a title.”
“Oh? Oh yes, no, I noted ‘N/A’ in that section . . . I didn’t think it was necessary to -”
[Silence overshadowed by a disapproving you-are-wasting-my-time glare.]
“I suppose I can’t really be ‘non-applicable’ can I, ha . . . ”
[Silence overshadowed by increasingly impatient glare.]
“Sorry, but I don’t suppose I can choose ‘Mister’ can I?”
If I were a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo my crest would have fallen.
“Yes, thank you. Sorry.”
MR: I AM A MAN. (AS AN HONORIFIC MR DOES NOT DEFINE ME IN RELATION TO ANY SIGNIFICANT OTHER, MALE OR FEMALE.)
MRS: I AM A WOMAN WHO IS LEGALLY MARRIED TO A MAN.
MISS: I AM A WOMAN WHO IS NOT LEGALLY MARRIED TO A MAN.
MS: I AM A WOMAN WHO IS NOT MARRIED TO A MAN. (YOU MAY NOW SPECULATE ABOUT WHY THIS IS SO.)
IS THERE NOT YET, IN THIS DAY AND AGE, AN HONORIFIC THAT DENOTES: ‘I AM A PERSON. SURELY THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.’?
I am not a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.