Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Gunter Senft

Folk Definitions of Ideophones

Ideophones are marked words that depict sensory imagery, for example English hippety-hoppety ‘in a limping and hobbling manner’ or Siwu mukumuku ‘mouth movements of a toothless person eating’. They typically have special sound patterns and distinct grammatical properties. Ideophones are found in many languages of the world, suggesting a common fascination with detailed sensory depiction, but reliable data on their meaning and use is still very scarce. This task involves video-recording spontaneous, informal explanations (“folk definitions”) of individual ideophones by native speakers, in their own language. The approach facilitates collection of rich primary data in a planned context while ensuring a large amount of spontaneity and freedom.


Field Manual entry
Folk Definitions of Ideophones (195.99 kB)
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How to cite this resource?

Dingemanse, Mark. 2010. Folk definitions of ideophones. In Elisabeth Norcliffe & N. J. Enfield (eds.), Field Manual Volume 13, 24-29. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.