An Introduction to Japanese Ideophones
University of Trier
Japanese has a group of words which express sounds of animate and inanimate referents, the manner of motions/events, the state of referents including weather conditions, sensory perception of people including pain, characteristics of referents, and finally human emotions. These lexical items are defined as ideophones in this volume. They are used not only in both spoken and written language but also in many different semantic domains. They all share the same linguistic characteristics in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and graphemics. The book gives the reader an overview of the linguistic features of Japanese ideophones with numerous concrete examples, and is written for linguists who are interested in ideophones and for students of Japanese.
This volume consists of seven chapters. Chapter 1 is an introduction explaining the classification and terminology of Japanese ideophones in both Japanese and English literature related to this topic. It also provides the reader with a basic Japanese grammar so that the reader can understand the explanations given in the book. Chapter 2 explains phonological properties: the basic phonological components for forming ideophonic lexemes, and phonosemantic features. Chapter 3 describes morphosyntactic characteristics as to how Japanese ideophones are formed on the word level, and how they are used on the clause/sentence level. Chapter 4 elaborates on the semantic features such as polysemy and monosemy of Japanese ideophones, and also broad semantic domains where ideophones can be used in practice. Chapter 5 introduces studies conducted by the author to see which ideophones occur and how they are used concretely in the Japanese media, such as newspaper editorials, television news programmes, and manga. This chapter also analyses the orthography of ideophones to see which of the graphemes, i.e. hiragana, katakana, kanji (Chinese characters), and letters of the Roman alphabet, are used to write Japanese ideophones. Chapter 6 is a contrastive analysis between Japanese ideophones and their German equivalents based on the lexical entries in the lexicon of Katsuki-Pestemer (2012). It aims to discover the similarities and dissimilarities between the two languages, and further shows how Japanese ideophones can be translated into German. A short summary and conclusion are given in Chapter 7.
ISBN 9783862885930. LINCOM Studies in Japanese Linguistics 08. 353pp. 2014.