Munda Mimetic Reduplication

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Canadian Journal Of Linguistics


The Munda languages of South Asia exhibit sound symbolism in their use of mimetic reduplication, to which they devote a surprisingly large percentage of their lexicons, typically upwards of ten percent. We present an extensive empirical typology of mimetic reduplication in seven Munda languages: Ho, Kera Mundari, Kharia, Mundari, Remo (Bondo), Santali, and Sora (Savara). Munda Mimetic forms can depict sensory qualities of sound, space, movement, texture, smell, taste, temperature, feelings, and sensations. The typology of mimetic reduplication in Munda varies across syntactic class, semantic domain and phonological form. This can shed light on the breadth of diverse structures in Munda languages, and may also be extrapolated to other languages and other examinations of reduplication and/or mimesis. This work provides a wealth of data to researchers of mimesis and reduplication, challenging the definition of what it means for forms to be sound-symbolic or reduplicated.


mimesis, reduplication, sound symbolism, Munda, India