The exotic nature of ideophones – from Khoekhoe to Xhosa

Andrason, Alexander (2017)

CITATION: Andrason, A. 2017. The exotic nature of ideophones – from Khoekhoe to Xhosa. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 48:139-150, doi:10.5774/48-0-286.

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The present paper analyzes the exoticness of Khoekhoe-sourced ideophones as a possible factor that stimulated the introduction of certain phonological novelties to the sound system of Xhosa. Having analyzed Khoekhoe-sourced ideophones of Xhosa for five exotic features postulated crosslinguistically (aberrant sounds and configurations of sounds, length, tones and harmony), the author concludes the following: due to their intense phonological exoticness and the crosslinguistic propensity for unaltered borrowing, Khoekhoe-sourced ideophones may have played a relevant role in the Khoekhoe-Xhosa transfer. The efficiency of this transfer seems to be correlated with the frequency of a given exotic feature in the donor Khoekhoe lexemes.

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