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Ideophones in Kambaata (Cushitic): Grammar, meaning and use

Yvonne Treis


In the literature on Cushitic languages, ideophones have often only been treated in a cursory manner. A little explored problem of the synchronic analysis concerns their word class status: do they constitute a word class on their own, or should they be subsumed under another word class and if yes, under which one? The study of Kambaata ideophones presented here shows that there are valid arguments both for analyzing them as a separate word class or as a subclass of verbs. Based on a language-internal definition of the ideophone word class, features of its phonology, phonotactics and stress marking are discussed. The section on morphosyntax shows in which syntactic functions ideophones are used, clarifies the status of their support verbs ('say' and 'do') and considers the argument structure of ideophones. The section on ideophone-related word-formation investigates which derivational processes take ideophonic inputs, describes the functions of reduplication and illustrates the significance of compounding and conversion for the formation of ideophones. The discussion of the semantics of ideophones is followed by preliminary information about the frequency of ideophones across text types. Finally, the use of 'say' as a quotative verb in report speech constructions is explored, and it becomes clear that the line between ideophone constructions with 'say' and reported interjections is not always easy to draw.


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hal-04187225 , version 1 (24-08-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04187225 , version 1


Yvonne Treis. Ideophones in Kambaata (Cushitic): Grammar, meaning and use. 2023. ⟨hal-04187225⟩
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