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

Category: Early sources

  • Pfisterer on Akpafu, 1904 (part I)

    One of the goals of The Ideophone, besides functioning as a sounding board for ideas on expressivity and sound symbolism in African languages, is to make available sources on Siwu and other GTM languages which are otherwise hard to come by. This posting is the first in a series furthering that goal. Below you will […]

  • ‘Remnants of some ancient tribal idiom’: deciphering the oldest Siwu to appear in print

    Having been a small and quite isolated language for centuries, Siwu was relatively late to attract attention from outsiders. Europeans in search for gold to buy and people to enslave for the most part stayed near the coast. Halfway the nineteenth century, German firms (looking for cheap land) and missionary organizations (looking for converts) started […]

  • Early sources on African ideophones, part I: Schlegel on Ewe, 1857

    This is the first post in a series. Featured philologist of today is Joh. Bernhard Schlegel, for providing us with precious data on ideophones (expressives) in nineteenth-century Ewe, a Kwa language of southeastern Ghana. But since this is the first post on ideophones here, let’s first try to answer the obvious question: what are ideophones, […]