Onomatopoeia: Cuckoo-Language and Tick-Tocking+◊

Tsur, Reuven (2001) Onomatopoeia: Cuckoo-Language and Tick-Tocking+◊. [Journal (On-line/Unpaginated)]

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This paper is a brief phonetic investigation of the nature of onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is the imitation of natural noises by speech sounds. To understand this phenomenon, we must realize that there is a problem here which is by no means trivial. There i s an infinite number of noises in nature, but only twenty-something letters in an alphabet that convey in any language a closed system of about fifty (up to a maximum of 100) speech sounds. I have devoted a book length study to the expressiveness of lang u age (What Makes Sound Patterns Expressive? -- The Poetic Mode of Speech Perception), but have only fleetingly touched upon onomatopoeia. In this paper I will recapitulate from that book the issue of acoustic coding, and then will toy around with two spe ci fic cases: why does the cuckoo say "kuku" in some languages, and why the clock prefers to say "tick-tock" rather than, say, tip-top. Only fleetingly I will touch upon the question why the speech sounds [s] and [S] (S represents the initial consonant of sh oe; s the initial consonant of sue) serve generally as onomatopoeia for noise. By way of doing all this, I will discuss a higher-order issue as well: How are effects translated from reality to some semiotic system, or from one semiotic system to ano ther.U.cns

Item Type:Journal (On-line/Unpaginated)
Additional Information:This is a paper in Cognitive Poetics
Keywords:Cognitive Poetics, Onomatopoeia, expressive sound, semitoic systems, translating from one code to another.
Subjects:Computer Science > Language
Linguistics > Semantics
Psychology > Psycholinguistics
Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
Computer Science > Speech
Linguistics > Phonology
ID Code:3232
Deposited By: Tsur, Reuven
Deposited On:18 Oct 2003
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

References in Article

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Gaver, William W. 1993. “How Do We Hear in the World?: Explorations in Ecological Acoustics”. Ecological Psychology 5: 285-313.

Jakobson, Roman l968. Child Language, Aphasia, and Phonological Universals (The Hague: Mouton).

Liberman, A. M. 1970. “The Grammars of Speech and Language.” Cognitive Psychology 1: 301–23.

Liberman, A. M., F. S. Cooper, D. P. Shankweiler, and M. Studdert-Kennedy. 1967. “Perception of the Speech Code,” Psychological Review 74: 431–61.

May, Janet, and Bruno H. Repp. 1982. “Periodicity and Auditory Memory.” Status Report on Speech Research SR-69: 145–49. Haskins Laboratories.

Repp, Bruno H. l984. “Categorical Perception: Issues, Methods, Findings,” in N. J. Lass (ed.), Speech and Language: Advances in Basic Research and Practice, 10:243–335. New York: Academic Press.

Tsur, Reuven. 1992a. What Makes Sound Patterns Expressive: The Poetic Mode of Speech-Perception Durham N, C.: Duke UP.


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