A Across the Indo-European language family, the proportion of rough words with /r/ is much higher than the proportion of smooth words with /r/; B Each dot represents a language (size of the circle = number of words); whiskers show 95% Bayesian credible intervals corresponding to the mixed-effects Bayesian logistic regression analysis indicating that rough words have a much higher proportion of /r/ (posterior mean = 63%) than smooth words (posterior mean= 35%).
How phonemes relate to roughness ratings. Left: The ten most predictive phonemes in a random forest analysis for A English and B Hungarian; the vertical black line corresponds to the absolute value of the least predictive phoneme, which is a heuristic cut-off rule for predictors that do not contribute. Right: Boxplots (whiskers = smallest, largest value within 1.5× IQR) for words with and without /r/ in English and Hungarian.
The intersection of iconicity and funniness ratings for 1419 words. A: Scatterplot of iconicity and funniness ratings in which each dot corresponds to a word. A loess function generates the smoothed conditional mean with 0.95 confidence interval. Panels B and C show the distribution of iconicity and funniness ratings in this dataset.
The relation between structural markedness and funniness ratings (A), iconicity ratings (B), and funniness and iconicity together (C), in a set of 1.419 English words. Each dot represents 14 or 15 words. Solid line with smoothed mean shows cumulative markedness. Other lines show relative prevalence of complex onsets (flap), codas (clunk), and verbal diminutives (drizzle). Higher structural markedness goes together with higher iconicity and funniness ratings. This supports the theory of structural markedness as a metacommunicative cue.
Pitch trace of a Japanese utterance starting with two tokens of the ideophone zabɯ:n ‘splash’, showing how they are produced in the upper part of the speaker’s pitch range, and how their articulation is drawn out relative to other non-ideophonic elements in the utterance. This illustrates the special treatment that ideophones often get in everyday speech, which makes them stand out from the surrounding material.
(A, B) Words show arbitrariness when there are conventional associations between forms and meanings. Words show iconicity when there are perceptuomotor analogies between forms and meanings, here indicated by shape, size and proximity (inset). (B, C) Words show systematicity when statistical regularities in phonological form, here indicated by color, serve as cues to abstract categories such as word classes. (D) The cues involved in systematicity differ across languages and may be arbitrary. (E) The perceptual analogies involved in iconicity transcend languages and may be universal.
Ideophones have rich imagistic meanings that can be hard to describe. In explaining the ideophone minimini, four speakers of Siwu independently use gestures that are both similar (in depicting a spherical shape) and different (in size, handshape, and method of representation). Collectively, the gestures illustrate an elusive aspect of the ideophone’s meaning while also showing that its linguistic form as spoken word is more conventionalized than the gestures it comes with.
The cultural evolution of continuous signals over 4 generations in a single experimental chain of iterated communication. Colour represents communicative success. Through trial and error, participants in consecutive trials narrow down to a set of signals that is both iconic (in mirroring aspects of form) and systematic (in using slope direction to signal the way animals are facing). This represents in miniature form how iconicity can provide the building blocks for systematicity in linguistic systems.
On the ground is a plate of metal on which two small amounts of gunpowder have been laid to dry in the sun; besides it stands the speaker, explaining why one needs to be careful when igniting the gunpowder to test its quality: it may flare up “SHÛ, SHÛ”, a vocal depiction that is produced in precise synchrony with the two hands moving symmetrically in a quick upward motion. (The right hand holds an object.)
Deideophonization turns depictive signs into descriptive ones by decreasing expressiveness and increasing morphosyntactic integration; ideophonization turns descriptive signs into depictive ones by increasing expressiveness and decreasing morphosyntactic integration.
This simple diagram was created in 2012, in a style that evokes typical Langackerian cognitive linguistics diagrams. Published (due to editorial delays) only in 2017.
The paper has a further variation on the theme, displaying the two types of ideophone constructions in Siwu as “Bound” versus “Free” and placing them on opposite ends of this continuum: