Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics
Linguistic change, Zulu language -- Ideophone, Language variation
The first step in the discussion is to demonstrate that ideophones constitute a word class, a relatively uncontroversial claim for Southern Bantu. The second is to show that native speakers of Zulu do not share equal knowledge of ideophones and how this knowledge correlates with social factors. Measured knowledge of ideophones is evaluated against the social factors of age, sex, education, residence patterns, and rusticity, a parameter to be elaborated below. The conclusion is that just as for pidgins and creoles (Childs 1994) the knowledge and use of ideophones serves as a reliable barometer for language typing and language change, and perhaps for language shift and death.
Childs, G. T. (2009). What happens to class when a language dies? Language change vs. language death. Studies in African Linguistics 38(2)