Ideophones are special. The knowledge of ideophones in multilingual contexts: A West African pilot study* G. Tucker Childs Portland State University, Portland, OR (USA) [email protected] Mimetics in Japanese and other languages of the world NINJAL Symposium 16, Tokyo 17-18 Dec 2016 * This work was supported by a Major Language Documentation Grant from the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. My thanks for that support and also to Theresa Byrne, Jeff Good, Mark Dingemanse, Taziff Koroma, Noriko Iwasaki, Friederike Lpke, and Suwako Watanabe for inspiration, criticism and advice at various stages of composing the paper. (1) Motivation for the study The ubiquity of multilingualism and its somewhat uncertain characterization The claim for linguistic repertoires vs. languages
How to evaluate and document a linguistic repertoire, economically and expeditiously Ideophones as functionally areal but formally local, thus a control for borrowings, an index of competence Testing the assumption: Is there any sharing in highly multilingual areas? Are ideophones less local than has been empirically shown? Tuesday, February 25, 2020 2 (2) Overview of the talk Introduction and motivation for the study Background to the study: location, ideophones and areality Ideophone knowledge as a metric Evaluating multilingualism Methodology Findings and discussion Conclusion
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 3 Multilingualism in Foya, Liberia, 1970-72 At the intersection of three colonial histories: France, UK, US Extractive industries, neo-colonialization, globalization Kisi the historical language, the language of the farmers Mandingo the language of markets and trade, transportation Resident pidgins: Liberian English, Krio, Guinea French English the language of the schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone (American vs. British), French in Guinea Other languages: Arabic, Fula (transportation, cattle) Missionaries, e.g., Swedish Free Mission, Church of England NGOs: UNESCO, UNDP, Peace Corps, Israelis, Taiwanese Tuesday, February 25, 2020
4 (3) the role of multilingualism in a community Tradition, tied to culture Needed in the marketplace for trade (tied to task) Communities of practice A survival mechanism, defense of the powerless At play in Foya, Liberia, in the tri-state area, fun, artistry, performance Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5 (4) Mimetics and ideophones in print Mimetics in manga: http://
www.japanpowered.com/anime-articles/manga-sound-effectguide Ideophones in folk tales: badamin, badamin; wasawusu; and krik, krik, krik Aardema 1975 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6 (5) English ideophones, no special class higgledy-piggledy in a messy way, without order willy-nilly? 1) whether one likes it or not. 2) without direction or planning; haphazardly. see Thun 1963: tick-tock, hurly-burly, and shillyshally galumphing walking heavily or awkwardly function often taken over by verbs in English Tuesday, February 25, 2020
7 (6) Why ideophones? Their association with high levels of competency in a language, beyond the instrumental and immediately functional or simply linguistic (ACTFL guidelines) Register local identity, Zuluness in southern Africa (Childs 1998) Register local identity (Childs 1998) Ideophones acquired early (Doctor 1992); onomatopoeic forms acquired early in Japanese (Akita 2009) Spanish and English (Perry, Perlman and Lupyan 2015); sound symbolism aids learning (Lockwood, Dingemanse and Hagoort 2015; cf. Dingemanse et al. 2015) A functional category across all languages in the area (Sherbro, Mende, Krio, etc.) A robust category across those languages Resistance to borrowing: ideophones as lexical items are not borrowed, though their function may be (Childs 1994b) Perceptually salient (fun?) Ease of administration for testing ideophone knowledge
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8 (7) Methodological desiderata for a multilingualism metric Results that are reliable and valid; results comparable across languages Extrapolation possible, sampling representative Buy-in from the community, active participation Sociolinguistically sensitive and informed, considers reigning attitudes and ideologies (including those of the researcher) Conducted in the participants language of choice No literacy required, fun and non-intimidating, more like a game not perceived as a test Easy and quick to administer, easy to analyze Tuesday, February 25, 2020 9
(8) A parallel to consider The Rapid and Anonymous Interview pioneered in Labov 1966 i.e., the famous query requiring an answer to a question with the fourth floor. Minimal intrusion, minimal equipment, minimal time Tuesday, February 25, 2020 10 (9) Peripheral measures: A sniff test for Alzheimers A set of cards with scratch-and-sniff test on each. The patient scratches a little button and then smells. Like a kid's scratch-and-sniff book, there'll be different odors that are on each page. A low score on the UPSIT was able to predict memory decline in older adults about as well as the PET scan or a spinal tap (highly intrusive and labor
intensive procedures). Explanation: odor signals coming from the nose processed in vulnerable areas of the brain, areas of the brain that degenerate early on in Alzheimer's disease Odor test scores also predicted which people most likely to develop dementia. Odor detection offers a quick and inexpensive way to help spot Alzheimer's. Other biomarkers: nerves of eyes Tuesday, February 25, 2020 11 (10) Areality in (West) Africa Areality is the rule rather than the exception (Heine and Leyew 2008, Heine and Nurse 2008) A palimpsest of migration and conquest (e.g., Hair 1967, 1968, Ajayi and Crowder 1985) Many linguistic features widely dispersed, e.g., S-Aux-O-V, labialvelars, meat = animal pan-West African: tag ny/nye? Right?, ha-a-a-a extensive in space or time
(Kisi, Bandi, Malink, Mende, Bom-Kim, Sherbro, Soso; Krio, Liberian English, and even Guinea French) pan-West African te-e-e extensive in time (with a consequent) wa okay, right (assent) originally Soso/General Mande (?) [sa ibe] Im coming (back). from French Jarrive. Tuesday, February 25, 2020 12 (11) Atlantic languages and the research area Atlantic the Atlantic languages Bolom / Sherbro = Greater Bolom Sherbro = Lesser Bolom Tuesday, February 25, 2020 13
A. Limba B. Mel 1. Temne-Baga a. Temne b. Baga Binari, Baga Koga, Baga Mandori, Baga Sitemu, Landoma 2. Bolom-Kisi a. Bolom: Mani, Sherbro, Bom-Kim b. Kisi 3. Gola C. Mansoanka Figure 1 The classification of South Atlantic Tuesday, February 25, 2020 14 (12) Approaches to linguistic competence I
The monolingual perspective sees second language (L2) users from point of view of the monolingual first language (L1) user second language added on to the speakers first language, something extra L2 users proficiency in the second language measured against the sole language of the monolingual research questions account for L2 users lack of success in learning how to speak like a monolingual L1 user. Tuesday, February 25, 2020 15 (13) Approaches to linguistic competence II The bilingual perspective (multi-competence) sees L2 users from the point of view of the person who speaks two or more languages other languages as part of the L2 users total language system, each language
potentially differing from that of someone who speaks it as a monolingual. irrelevant whether L2 users final ability is identical to that of a monolingual native speaker research questions about how L2 users use the other languages and how the languages connect in multilingual communities, not about how L2 users compare with monolingual individuals and communities. Tuesday, February 25, 2020 16 (14) The integration continuum of possible relationships in multi-competence ( Cook 2003: 9) All points along a continuum Languages may be totally separate, overlap, or coincide Parts of the languages of a multilingual may have different relationships separation Tuesday, February 25, 2020
interconnection integration 17 Figure 2 The ACTFL spike Tuesday, February 25, 2020 18 (16) Summary of techniques used by SIL A variety of techniques depending on the research question oral interviews self-evaluation tests SRT (sentence repetition test)
SLOPE (second language oral proficiency evaluation) Tuesday, February 25, 2020 19 Goods paradox A problem in characterizing multilingualism / multi-competence How can we describe languages if we dont know what a language is? The problem becomes even more pronounced in multilingual settings Logically, multilingualism implies more than one language, which, in turn, presupposes discrete languages, and gets us back into the same problem, but even worse. How can we admit constructs of language into a characterization of what we don't want to make into a construct, i.e., either Language or a multilingual variety, and do so without admitting that such constructs exist? Tuesday, February 25, 2020
20 (17) Some questions about African multilingualism What is African multilingualism? (Is it special?) How is it different from multilingualism in other parts of the world? What are the governing ideologies? Are they distinctive? What is the role of social factors in determining the extent to which an individual is multilingual, particularly gender and age? What is the role of local or ethnic identity? language and nationalism? What about the orientation of an individual towards urban and rural life? Is there a non-multi-glossic multilingualism in Africa i.e., multilingualism w/o multiglossia, monoglossic multilingualism? Are languages not distributed as to functions, communities of practice, etc.?? Does small-scale multilingualism still exist? Tuesday, February 25, 2020 21
Table 1 A sample of Mende ideophones from Byrne 1993 Ideophone Popular context 154. lii of being dark, overcast, or dull pli bi gbiding lii. Inside the house is actually dark 155. livaa
of seeing something appear suddenly from a far distance I saw the vehicle make a sudden appearance in the curve. 156. lgblgb of weakness when an object is maani kpl ynga ripe lgblgb. The plantains have got weak and masticated under the sun. 157.
lgbulgbu of being weak and feeble mangui gbwuil i y lgbulgbu. The mango got ripe, weak, and feeble 158. lplp of moving or lifting a heavy object slowly
ndakpoi sia ti kwui li l lplp k a gula. The guys mounted the box very carefully so that it does not fall. 159. lom of walking silently or cautiously ndopoi sia ti y a njia lom. The children were walking cautiously.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Mende sentence ngi mtui lil le i gbiyanga livaa kvihu. Translation 22 (18) MTK sample discussion.mp3 How ideophones were recorded and discussed. Establishing criteria for evaluation. (with linguist Momoh Taziff Koroma) 46. fio of swiftly moving around an object li bi pli na gala fio bi kom.
Go move right around that house quickly. (Byrne 1993) Tuesday, February 25, 2020 23 (19) Criteria for selecting ideophones Iconicity. Onomatopoeic ideophones being the most iconic: the bleating of a sheep, the ringing of a bell, movement of air (featuring labials and labiodentals, e.g., fiyofiyo, fwaa) Other formal features relevant? E.g., mix of Vs and Cs; vowel harmony; reduplication; prosody Specificity of semantics: narrowness vs. breadth of meaning Specificity of context of use, situational and linguistic Sensual appeal across five senses (ideophones preponderantly visual) Domains: color, physical dimensions (large-small), movement, sound Familiarity to subjects? Tuesday, February 25, 2020
24 (20) Structure of the stimuli (Warm-up: Three practice ideophones; see Slide 22: Practice ideophones.) Ideophone produced in isolation from a written list provided to the speaker (see Table 1). Ideophone pronounced twice by itself (out of context). Ideophone used in one or more sentences, not necessarily the sentence provided in the thesis but sometimes another one felt to be more appropriate by Mr. Koroma. Subjects could listen to the recording as many times as they wanted. Tuesday, February 25, 2020 25 Table 3 Ideophones from Byrne 1993 used in study
Idph Popular context 14 bondi-bondi state of being thin and kwa lukui yale small bondibondi. The monkeys arms are very thin and small. 7 be
sound of animals, esp. nbali a yee gula bleating of sheep be. The sheep is bleating. 31 dmi underscoring dizzy or weak haata nya ngahu yale dmi. Today my body feels weak and dizzy.
42 fesafesa of walking swiftly kina wai y a njia fesafesa. The elderly man was walking swift and faster. 30 d sound of rain falling
consistently njei yejita wa yle d. The rainfall today fell in a consistent and steady manner. Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Mende sentence Translation 26 (21) The subjects characterized 1. Speakers of Sherbro (and no Mende)
5 2. Speakers of Sherbro and some Mende 4 3. Speakers of Mende (and no Sherbro) 5 4. Speakers of Mende and some Sherbro 1 (All subjects spoke Krio and some spoke English.) (15) All of the speakers were well educated (some secondary education) and ranged in age from 13 to 73. Nine females, six males Tuesday, February 25, 2020 27
(22) Instructions to subjects (Consent form see Appendix .) You will be asked to provide the meanings of this set of twenty Mende words, some of which you may not know, depending on your language background. Please, however, even if you dont know, make the best guess you can at what the word means. There are no right or wrong answers. The words all come from Mende but may also be found in other languages you know. Again, in many cases you will just be guessing, but we are interested in what your guesses are The words can refer to almost anything but usually say something the manner or the way in which something was done. It can be the way something sounds or smells or tastes, the way it looks or feels, or even the way you feel about it. For example, the first practice word, bafubafu, describes the way a pipe is being smoked, the second, bau, describes the way someone bows insolently, and the third practice word, bele, describes how disappointed or crestfallen someone is after making a bad deal. Some of the words may refer to sound youre familiar with like the barking of a dog or rain falling, but most of them are not based on sound. Listen to them now. Lets start with the practice ones first. [Show subjects how the device works.] As you see they are numbered Practice 01, Practice 02, and Practice 03 (located in AM files on the E drive). Start with Practice 01. Press the center part of the button once to hear the word pronounced by itself, then used in a sentence. You may listen to each recording as many times as you like. Simply press the button again. [Discuss.] Now lets try the other two practice words. [Discuss.] Ready to begin? Remember that your responses will be recorded. After you play the ideophones on the recording
device, you will explain what each one means. Tuesday, February 25, 2020 28 (23) Some findings related to multilingualism Patterns of knowledge generally coincided with reported levels of linguistic competence Mende speakers, especially older ones, got most if not all of them right Sherbro speakers who speak some Mende did better than those who did not Missing cell: Performance of speakers of Mende who spoke some Bolom (language shift) Ideophone knowledge seems to correlate with expected competence Bipolar distribution of scores Tuesday, February 25, 2020 29
(24) Some findings related to ideophony Young people dont know ideophones as well as adults Sound of a goat or sheep (be) correctly identified by all (100%) Falling object ideophones (bi and gbai) (over 90%) Heavy rain falling (d) (80%) Rushing air (fiyo-fiyo birds in flight) (73%) Areal patterns elusive but hinted at in shared knowledge across language boundaries Universality? Areality? Tuesday, February 25, 2020 30 (25) Some improvements Better independent variable for knowledge of ideophones / multilingual competency
Use ideophones from other languages in a multilingual area Combine and compare ideophone findings with language surveys and ethnographies Exploit the passive or absent researcher Automatic speech recognition (ASR) 20 hours of carefully transcribed speech Include non-educated speakers in sample Tuesday, February 25, 2020 31 (26) What methodology is best? A combination of qualitative and quantitative A combination of survey and ethnography Draw on both monolingual and multilingual models of competence (though how to do the latter unclear) Train and involve native speakers
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 32 (27) Further directions and research questions Need to develop similar measures for Krio and Sherbro and ask, Do the same facts obtain with an extended pidgin (Krio, a second language for many) and an endangered language being shifted from? Research socioeconomic asymmetries and see how they affect measures of multicultural competence Develop an additional correlative for evaluating the validating ideophone knowledge as a measure of (socio-)linguistic competence Discover how ideophones behave diachronically likely exceptional there as well. Do ideophones resist change the same way sound symbolic forms do, e.g., Mithun 1982, Nuckolls 1999? How can we represent multilingualism graphically? How to map it? Tuesday, February 25, 2020
33 References Available on request from the author, [email protected] Tuesday, February 25, 2020 34
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