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Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics

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The “exotic” nature of ideophones – from Khoekhoe to Xhosa

Alexander Andrason

Abstract


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




http://dx.doi.org/10.5774/48-0-286
AJOL African Journals Online