nIt has long
been known that a feature characteristic oflanguages worldwide, but particularly those of
Africa, is ideophones,
words of a distinct semantic type, which may fill one or many syntactic slots.
nIdeophones may be defined as a subset of
which also includes phonaesthemes andother methods of
indicating qualities (for example alternations of ± ATR vowels)
is often referred to as phonosematics and has a long history in Western philosophy. Plato’s
Cratylus has a discussion
of phonaesthemes, for example
(or ‘expressives’ in Asian terminology) have begun to be of more interest to the broader
(e.g. Hinton et al, 1994).