South African Journal of African Languages

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Chiikuhane/Chisubiya ideophones: A descriptive study

Joyce T Mathangwane, Ndana Ndana


This paper is a taxonomic and descriptive study of Chiikuhane (Chisubiya) ideophones. It demonstrates that just like many other Bantu languages, Chiikuhane has a list of ideophones which, phonologically, fall into three categories: monosyllabic, disyllabic and the reduplicated forms. Their tonal patterns vary as they are all pre-specified and cannot be captured by rule. In terms of meanings, Chiikuhane ideophones denote sound, intensity, motion, colour, and state of something. The paper further looks at a set of fossilized forms which describe different types of ‘talking’. On the surface, these forms were assumed to be ideophones as well because of their vividness, dramatic nature and expressive function conveying the personal feelings or attitudes of the speaker towards something, typical of ideophones. However, a closer look at their morphosyntactic features shows that these are derived verbs with some of those ‘infrequent’ affixes observed in some Bantu languages such as Tswana.

South African Journal of African Languages 2014, 34(2): 151–157
AJOL African Journals Online