✨New Preprint - a multi-methods toolkit for documentary research on ideophones!

✨New Preprint - a multi-methods toolkit for documentary research on ideophones!

Mark Dingemanse and I just released a preprint on methods for studying my favourite type of words, ideophones!

Releasing a preprint of mine and Mark’s upcoming chapter in the book Capturing Expressivity by Oxford University Press, which should be out sometime later this year hopefully. We talk about methods for conducting documentary linguistic research on ideophones, one of the absolute best things you could be doing with your life!

You can find (and cite) the preprint here:

McLean, B. & Dingemanse M. (in press) A multi-methods toolkit for documentary research on ideophones. Capturing Expressivity. Preprintdoi: 10.31219/osf.io/3n85v

Below is the abstract:

As lexicalized depictions, ideophones (also known as expressives or mimetics) differ fundamentally from other words both in the kinds of meanings they represent and the ways in which they represent them. This can make them difficult to capture using traditional methods for language description and documentation. We review some of the new and experimental techniques that have been used to elicit, describe, and analyse ideophones, and discuss how these can be used to address some of the unique challenges ideophones pose. They include stimulus-based elicitation; multimodal folk definitions; hybrid modes of analysis (combining images and text); and new ways of compiling and presenting multimodal ideophone corpora. We also review psycholinguistic methods for exploring the sensory properties of words and the organisation of the lexicon, such as modality ratings and similarity judgment tasks, and discuss how these can contribute to our understanding of ideophone lexicons. Crucial to our approach is the combination of insights from multiple sources, the exploitation of polysemiotic resources (combining multiple modes of meaning making), and the integration of etic and emic perspectives. The discussion is structured around three key challenges: collecting ideophones, unravelling their slippery semantics, and representing them in ways that do justice to their special semiotic properties. The days when ideophones were just footnotes in grammars are long past. With more and more researchers working to document ideophones in languages around the world, and increasing interest in iconicity from across the language sciences, now is an excellent time to rethink the toolkit of documentary linguistics to make sure it can optimally deal with language in all its semiotic diversity.

And this figure from the paper summarises the main techniques covered:

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