The card arrived in the mail today, so I can now call myself the lucky owner of this rendition of the beautiful Kisi ideophone bíààà — ‘rain softly falling’.
“Linguists, who are always described by such orthodox adjectives as kashikoi (wise), tadashii (right), erai (great), or rippana (respected), cannot handle them” (1989:iii).
No matter how sympathetic I am to that provocative statement, it is not entirely true — if only because the work of art above was made by someone with an academic background in linguistics.
What it makes clear, though —and this is of course what Gomi means, and where I agree with him— is that ideophones deserve special treatment.
(See my previous post for background info on the artist and on Kisi.)