Eliciting ideophones: the Language of Perception tasks

Revised and published as:

  • Dingemanse, M. (2011). Ideophones and the aesthetics of everyday language in a West-African society. The Senses and Society, 6(1), 77–85. doi: 10.2752/174589311X12893982233830

What do ideophones signify? From early on, the link of ideophones to sensory perception has been recognized, but it has rarely been explicitly investigated. This chapter reports on a series of elicitation tasks that systematically probes a number of perceptual domains: tactile texture, taste, colour, shape, sound, and smell. Though not all domains are equally elaborated, ideophones emerge as a key expressive resource in sensory talk.


Figure 8.1. Response types in the Language of Perception tasks