Two-dimensional semantic analysis of Japanese mimetics

Two-dimensional semantic analysis of Japanese mimetics This paper argues that two-dimensional semantic representation is necessary to account for the semantics of Japanese mimetics (giongo/gitaigoj, following the insight ofDiffloth (1972). One dimension is called the analytic dimension, the dimension of "ordinary semantics," where meaning is represented as a hierarchical structure of decontextualized semantic primitives. The other is called the affecto-imagistic dimension, where meaning is represented in terms of affect and various kinds of imagery (auditory, visual, tactile, motoric, etc). It subsumes what is traditionally called the expressive function of language due to its affective character, but it has far greater referential capability. I will argue that the semantics of mimetics crucially involves the affecto-imagistic dimension. The evidence includes seeming redundancy of a mimetic in a clause, impossibility of logical negation, high association with expressive intonation and spontaneous iconic gestures, and iconism in the morphology of mimetics. Positing the two dimensions leads to an alternative to Jackendoff's (1983) conceptual structure hypothesis, which states that the analytic dimension is the only level of representation where language and other kinds of cognitive information are compatible. Introduction Mimetics, ideophones, onomatopoeias, and such have not been given a fair share of attention in linguistics despite the fact that a number http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Linguistics - An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences de Gruyter

Two-dimensional semantic analysis of Japanese mimetics

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Walter de Gruyter
ISSN
0024-3949
eISSN
1613-396X
DOI
10.1515/ling.1997.35.2.379
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper argues that two-dimensional semantic representation is necessary to account for the semantics of Japanese mimetics (giongo/gitaigoj, following the insight ofDiffloth (1972). One dimension is called the analytic dimension, the dimension of "ordinary semantics," where meaning is represented as a hierarchical structure of decontextualized semantic primitives. The other is called the affecto-imagistic dimension, where meaning is represented in terms of affect and various kinds of imagery (auditory, visual, tactile, motoric, etc). It subsumes what is traditionally called the expressive function of language due to its affective character, but it has far greater referential capability. I will argue that the semantics of mimetics crucially involves the affecto-imagistic dimension. The evidence includes seeming redundancy of a mimetic in a clause, impossibility of logical negation, high association with expressive intonation and spontaneous iconic gestures, and iconism in the morphology of mimetics. Positing the two dimensions leads to an alternative to Jackendoff's (1983) conceptual structure hypothesis, which states that the analytic dimension is the only level of representation where language and other kinds of cognitive information are compatible. Introduction Mimetics, ideophones, onomatopoeias, and such have not been given a fair share of attention in linguistics despite the fact that a number

Journal

Linguistics - An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciencesde Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1997

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