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Sounds Like Life Sound-Symbolic Grammar, Performance, and Cognition in Pastaza Quechua

by Janis B. Nuckolls

  • ISBN: 9780195089851
  • ISBN10: 0195089855

Sounds Like Life Sound-Symbolic Grammar, Performance, and Cognition in Pastaza Quechua

by Janis B. Nuckolls

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 04/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780195089851
  • ISBN10: 0195089855
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Description: All languages feature sound symbolism, which occurs when the form of a linguistic utterance resembles in some way what it describes or refers to. Onomatopoeic words, such as thump and whack, are a couple of examples from English. For English speakers and other westerners, however, sound symbolism is relegated to whimsical styles of speech and writing. In Sounds Like Life, Janis Nuckolls argues that sound symbolism is integrated with the grammar of Pastaza Quechua, a dialect spoken in eastern Ecuador. With data from brief exchanges, sustained dialogues, explanatory accounts, narratives of personal experience, and myths, Nuckolls explores the ways in which abstract grammatical concepts, such as duration and completiveness, are communicated through sound-symbolic images. Moreover, the evidence from sound symbolism's grammatical patterning, its performative foregrounding in multiple contexts of use, and its ability to trigger memories of key life experiences, suggests that for the Pastaza Quechua sound symbolism is more than a style of speaking. It is a style of thinking about oneself as connected, by the sounds that resonate through one's body, with the natural world. This book offers the first detailed study of the grammatical properties of sound symbolism, which has significant implications for grammatical theory. Nuckolls challenges the traditional conceptions of aspect grammar, demonstrating that in Pastaza Quechua, grammatical representations of duration and completiveness depend on speakers' spatial and perceptual experience, and are embodied within the nature of linguistic communication.
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