The “exotic” nature of ideophones – from Khoekhoe to Xhosa
The present paper analyzes the exoticness of Khoekhoe-sourced ideophones as a possible factor that stimulated the introduction of certain phonological novelties to the sound system of Xhosa. Having analyzed Khoekhoe-sourced ideophones of Xhosa for five exotic features postulated crosslinguistically (aberrant sounds and configurations of sounds, length, tones and harmony), the author concludes the following: due to their intense phonological exoticness and the crosslinguistic propensity for unaltered borrowing, Khoekhoe-sourced ideophones may have played a relevant role in the Khoekhoe-Xhosa transfer. The efficiency of this transfer seems to be correlated with the frequency of a given exotic feature in the donor Khoekhoe lexemes.
Keywords: Khoekhoe; Xhosa; Ideophones; language contact