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What is an ideophone?



An ideophone is a member of a set of words that

  • are phonologically distinguishable from other words in a language
  • are often onomatopoeic, and
  • form one or more syntactic classes or subclasses, most typically adverbial.
Examples (Hausa)
  • Hausa adverbs have a distinctive obstruent-vowel-obstruent pattern, as in the following:

    • kaf ‘completely’
    • kas ‘specklessly’
    • kat ‘with a snapping sound’
  • Generic
      An ideophone is a kind of

    Schachter 1985 21

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