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      The at-issue status of ideophones in German: An experimental approach

      1 , 2 , 3 , 4
      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Open Library of the Humanities

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          Abstract

          Formal linguistics generally assumes that form-meaning relations in spoken language are arbitrary and not iconic. Ideophones, such as the English splish-splash have been considered exceptions to this rule of arbitrariness. Recently, however, researchers have begun to examine iconicity in spoken language more closely. Following work which established the default not- at-issue status of iconic co-speech gestures, here we discuss the crosslinguistic evidence for the (not-)at-issueness of ideophones and the factors that may have an influence upon this. We also present what we believe to be the first experimental work on the at-issue status of ideophones, conducted with German speakers. Although German may not be a prototypical ideophonic language, we argue that German ideophones follow crosslinguistic patterns in terms of at-issueness and provide initial evidence for the not-at-issue status of sentence- medial adverbial ideophones in German. This evidence comes from sentence-context matching tasks, where the mismatch effect was significantly larger for sentences containing standard adverbials than those containing sentence-medial adverbial ideophones. We presume that speaker judgements concerning how well target sentences match discourse contexts should be more impaired by mismatches induced by material relevant to the Question Under Discussion (QUD), i.e. at-issue material, than those induced by material irrelevant to the QUD, i.e. not-at- issue material. We thus argue that speakers’ ratings indicate that sentence-medial adverbial ideophones in German are not at-issue. This paper suggests a starting point for investigating the pragmatic status of ideophones crosslinguistically and also allows for comparison to previous research on other iconic enrichments, in particular gestures. This then has implications for our understanding of the at-issue status of iconic enrichments and how these enrichments interact with each other.

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          Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought

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            The Origin of Speech

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              Iconicity as a General Property of Language: Evidence from Spoken and Signed Languages

              Current views about language are dominated by the idea of arbitrary connections between linguistic form and meaning. However, if we look beyond the more familiar Indo-European languages and also include both spoken and signed language modalities, we find that motivated, iconic form-meaning mappings are, in fact, pervasive in language. In this paper, we review the different types of iconic mappings that characterize languages in both modalities, including the predominantly visually iconic mappings found in signed languages. Having shown that iconic mapping are present across languages, we then proceed to review evidence showing that language users (signers and speakers) exploit iconicity in language processing and language acquisition. While not discounting the presence and importance of arbitrariness in language, we put forward the idea that iconicity need also be recognized as a general property of language, which may serve the function of reducing the gap between linguistic form and conceptual representation to allow the language system to “hook up” to motor, perceptual, and affective experience.
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                Author and article information

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                Journal
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Open Library of the Humanities
                2397-1835
                January 14 2022
                May 24 2022
                : 7
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main
                [2 ]Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
                [3 ]Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen
                [4 ]Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin
                Article
                10.16995/glossa.5827
                7021a47d-7113-4261-8752-f5c8c70f5a08
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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