from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In phonetics, the auditory symbol of a word or phrase that is perceived as a whole and thus constitutes a single idea. Ideophones are distinguished as sensory or motor, according as the sound or group of sounds corresponding to the word or phrase is heard or spoken. See ideogram, 2. First used by A. J. Ellis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A word that utilizes sound symbolism to express aspects of events that can be experienced by the senses, like smell, color, shape, sound, action, or movement.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

James F. Fordyce (The Ideophone as a Phonosemantic Class: The Case of Yoruba, in Current approaches to African linguistics, Ivan R. Dihoff (ed.), page 263) credits C. M. Doke with introducing the term in 1935.


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  • The nattō strings itself are often described by the Japanese ideophone nebaneba, which roughly translates as 'viscid' or 'gooey'.

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  • If a branch of almond blossoms against a blue sky is represented verbally (as in this sentence) and by a Van Gogh, an ideophone is more like the Van Gogh

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  • Semantically dense evoke experiences holistically verb bà sɛ noun kà-tu ɔ̀-fà ɔ̀-turi ideophone wɔkɔlɔɔ pumbuluu safaraa vɛlɛvɛlɛ

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  • Ideophones occur profusely in daily interaction in Siwu in a corpus of 65+ minutes of natural discourse (3000 utterances), there are 240 ideophone tokens chatter, arguments, stories, deliberation, flirtation, gossip, greeting routines, etc.

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