Diachronic problems in phonosymbolism by Yakov Malkiel

By Yakov Malkiel

Phonosymbolism, or sound symbolism (Lautsymbolik), is an important element of language development. Many critical students, besides the fact that, have looked it with embarrassment or indifference. A wary reintroduction of phonosymbolism as an element chargeable for adjustments gone through, in various levels, by means of such a lot languages may now appear to be so as. the current quantity brings jointly a few contemporary articles in this topic, focusing totally on difficulties from Romance languages, in particular Spanish; yet English additionally figures prominently.

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Diachronic problems in phonosymbolism

Phonosymbolism, or sound symbolism (Lautsymbolik), is a crucial factor of language progress. Many critical students, although, have appeared it with embarrassment or indifference. A wary reintroduction of phonosymbolism as an element accountable for alterations passed through, in various levels, via so much languages could now appear to be so as.

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1921. Lexikalisches aus dem Katalanischen und den übrigen iberoromanischen Sprachen. Biblioteca delľArch. , II: 1. S. Olschki. Steiger, Arnald. 1932. Contribución a la fonética del hispano-árabe.... Suppl. 42 DIACHRONIC PROBLEMS IN PHONOSYMBOLISM 17 to Revista de Filología Espanola. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Históricos. H. 1943. Los italianismos en espanol, desde la formación del idioma hasta principios del siglo XVII. V. NoordHollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij. Thomas, Antoine. 1906. Le Laterculus de Polemius Silvius et le vocabulaire zoologique roman.

In this context recall that baby-talk and phonosymbolic utterances have cer­ tain features in common. Both medial consonant lengthening and repeti­ tion of syllable-initial consonants, especially where it occurs in consecutive syllables, have for many years been recognized as highly characteristic manifestations of «expressivity», which is just an alternative label for phonosymbolism 23. Imagine the potentialities for phonosymbolic effects where both phenomena come together! To put it differently, ciccu, whatever 22 I a m here falling back o n the information provided by E r n o u t and Meillet (1959-60: 119a) as well as Walde and Hofmann (1938: 211), in addition to standard dictionaries.

1938. From Latin to Portuguese. Historical phonology and morphology of the Portuguese language. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Rev. , 1962, 1968. Studies in Secondary Phonosymbolism In memory of Giacomo Devoto Both primary and secondary sound symbolism (or phono­ symbolism) pose serious and provocative problems which, far from having all been safely solved, all too frequently seem not to have been cogently phrased, let alone effectively attacked. Because there exists no universally adopted terminology in this subfield from country to country and from one generation to the next, it may be wisest to start from a working definition of these two labels.

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