Sounding out ideas on language, vivid sensory words, and iconicity

Multimedia accompanying the paper ‘Ideophones in unexpected places’

Multi-media accompanying the short paper ‘Ideophones in unexpected places‘ for the LDLT2 conference in London, 13-14 November 2009.

These are two dirges from a collection of 42 recorded in Akpafu-Todzi on the 24th and the 31st of August, 2008. The recording sessions were organized by Timothy ‘T.T.’ Akuamoah. The singers are Aurelia Noamesi (80), Edith Buame (82), Ella Nyame (71), Augusta Opoku (70), Georgina Anotsi (85), Christina Noamesi (Maya Ɔwɛ) (77), Fidelia Alifoh (57), Rose Addae (60), E. Attutey (58), Mary Kallai (70), Peace Afenyo (55), Comfort Dzato (74), Leticia Abande (86).

Mìlo kananaa

Siwu English gloss
mìlo kanana si mìsɛ i mi ayo
milo kananaaa
[repeat] ɔlɛmã ìwo, ɔtalɛpo ìwo, mìloo
ɔlɛmã sìse, ɔtalɛpo sìse,
mìlo kanana si mìsɛ i mi ayo
be still kanana and stay in your houses
be still kananaa
[repeat] see the barren woman’s grave, the nursing mother’s grave, and be still
see the barren woman’s grave-mound, the nursing mother’s grave-mound;
be still kanana and stay in your houses

Kàsò kàla gbigbììgbì

Note: the voice of the lead singer in this recording is very quiet.

Siwu English gloss
kàsò kàla gbigbììgbì
ɔrò marò ɔ̀bo eee
maɔrò ɔ̀bo eee
kàla gbigbììgbì
maɔrò ɔ̀bo aaa
kùkpi-sɛri sià ɔ̀kpeseri ɔɔ̀naà
be bo bà kàyi ga dzɔ̀lɔ̀lɔ̀ boaɖi boɖe?
the earth keeps on trembling gbigbiigbi
arriving, they are arriving
they have arrived;
it keeps trembling gbigbiigbi
they have arrived
there’s a way there, but no way back
what have we come for in this tedious life, what will we gain?
  1. Dingemanse, Mark. 2009. ‘Ideophones in unexpected places.’ Paper presented at Language Documentation & Linguistic Theory 2, London, November 13-14.

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