‘Do ideophones really stand out that much?’ (with sound clips)

Today’s question: do ideophones really stand out that much? This is something you can only decide for yourself. Here are three examples from Siwu. They come from my corpus of everyday discourse and represent the three most common ideophone constructions. These three constructions account for 88% of 230 ideophone tokens in the corpus; the examples thus can be said to be typical of ideophone usage in day to day conversations in Siwu

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Early sources on African ideophones, part IV: S.W. Koelle on Kanuri, 1854

Sigismund Wilhelm Koelle is one of the founding fathers of African linguistics, and 1854 was one of his more productive years: he published the first large-scale comparison of some 200 African languages (the famed Polyglotta Africana), but also a corpus of Kanuri folklore, a grammar of Vai, and a grammar of Kanuri. In the latter, he wrote about “singular adverbs which seem to be common in African languages” — one of the first comparative statements on the type of words that would later come to be known as ideophones.

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