The principles behind the drafting of the Onomatopoeic Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorJolanta Zabarskaite
TitleThe principles behind the drafting of the Onomatopoeic Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language
AbstractThe Lithuanian language has preserved a vast layer of iconic lexis. This type of lexis is interesting from the perspective of onomasiologic definition, pragmatics, and the history of language. Of all the language parts, it functionally covers onomatopoeic words. Elements of iconism are also typical of some words from other parts of language, as defined by the level of pragmatism, such as emotives and expressives, some interjections (and invocations in particular), as the emotional – expressive element embedded in their semantic structure is also the basis of their existence in the language. Iconic nature can also be a definitive feature of words of child-speak and any other lexical periphery: riddle words, some of the euphemisms, refrains, etc. Word formation can be iconic as well. The phonetic structure of an iconic word has references of phonetic or phonosemantic motivation that can be described linguistically, actualised language sounds and sound complexes with articulative and acoustic properties. Such properties, when transformed from the psychophysiological audible stimulus to phonologically described acoustic and articulative properties of phonemes are one of the key principles of describing the iconic lexis in lexicographic resources.
In language, expressive words serve the function of conveying the impression or emotion of the speaker/writer so that the target can experience/feel it too. M. Grammont has indicated that the ability of language sounds to give connotation to the meaning of a word is often potential and that it emerges in the process of the act of speaking (with the exception of the “pure” onomatopoeias that have a phonetic motivation). For instance, the connotational qualities of sounds of language make the narrator choose a member of the phonosemantic opposition (or triad) of synonymous onomatopoeias – kaukšt: taukšt: paukšt; bumpt : bliumpt; kapt : knapt; pliaukšt : paukšt; čiaukšt : taukšt, etc. – to be able to disclose the specifics and details of the image, sound or sense/experience being described (imitated) better. However, the choice of pragmatic situations is unlimited and therefore, when presented on its basis, the lexical meaning might be very inaccurate. Thus, the drafting of a lexicographic inventory has to begin with identifying the type of descriptive imitatives, i.e. the impression (visual, acoustic, sensual/experiential) they carry. Describing the semantic system of specific imitative requires the identification of certain tools, i.e. the phonic (or formative) instruments that are used to create the correlation of meaning and expression.
Instead of employing the conventional classification of onomatopoeias, in the Onomatopoeic Dictionary such words are categorised by the method of imitation, forming a total of four groups: onomatopoeias (construed as only those onomatopoeic words that imitate real-life sounds using linguistic tools, turning them into words), imitatives, mimemes and verbal onomatopoeic words (which are not considered iconic words). The idea here is to demonstrate the versatility of their iconic features and the variety of pragmatics, and therefore a systematic approach to presentation under the behaviourist scheme has been adopted. For instance, onomatopoeic words of a punch are presented systematically, and their lexicological articles are broken down against other attributes, i.e. a punch to a soft/hard surface or a vertical/horizontal punch and so on. The unique phonetic structure of onomatopoeic words is considered, describing some of the features, like frequent replication and consonantal variations of onomatopoeic endings, like plept:plep:ple, etc. as universal in the inventory. The systematic relationships are presented in several languages, which makes the Onomatopoeic Dictionary more accessible for linguists and semiotic scientists from other countries. The type of the lexicographic work being presented is an ideographical dictionary.
Keywordsiconicity, onomatopoeia, dictionary
author = {Jolanta Zabarskaite},
title = {The principles behind the drafting of the Onomatopoeic Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language},
pages = {961--966},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 15th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2012},
month = {aug},
date = {7-11},
address = {Oslo,Norway},
editor = {Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld and Julie Matilde Torjusen},
publisher = {Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo},
isbn = {978-82-303-2228-4},