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Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

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Kissi language -- Phonology, Kissi language -- Grammar


The category of words which I consider in this paper performs a function often neglected in linguistic analyses, namely, the expressive function: the expression of one's own personal feelings towards the message, Besides expressing the personal feelings or attitudes of the Speaker, ideophones serve the poetic function as well. They add an extra dimension of artistry or play. Expressiveness typically occurs only in special types of discourse, such as in Nootka songs, and possesses a systematicity of its own (Sapir 1915 [1949-188]). Because of the special pragmatics of expressive language, it has often been neglected in more restricted analyses. This discussion looks at the sound System formed by the words performing an expressive function in Kisi, a West Atlantic language belonging to the Niger-Congo family spoken primarily in the Republic of Guinea. This System is then contrasted with the phonology of the rest of the language, and finally the implications of the differences are discussed.


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