Ideophones as a Measure of Multilingualism

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Ideophones, Mimetics and Expressives

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The purpose of the pilot research described here was twofold. The first was to develop a measure for multilingualism, how to characterize what has come to be known in the literature as a linguistic repertoire in a rapid and economical manner. A linguistic repertoire is not a language but the resources and practices of a multilingual in a multilingual community. How this repertoire can be descriptively characterized is problematic. A first pass, as illustrated here, used knowledge of ideophones as the measure of language mastery just because ideophones are so language-specific and deeply embedded in the socio-cultural patterns of the language. The study was limited to one of the three vital languages in the research area but will eventually be extended to the others. The second purpose was to explore the interaction of multilingualism with the mastery of ideophones.


© John Benjamins



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