Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 1 January 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Onomatopoeic Words in Manipuri

H. Dolen Singh, Ph.D.
S. Imoba Singh, Ph.D.

Onomatopoeia and Words in Languages

Onomatopoeia is a word or process of forming words whose phonetic form is perceived as imitating a sound, or sound associated with something that they denote (P.H. Mathews p.256). In other words, onomatopoeia is related to the process of the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (R.E. Allen, 1990). In every language some words are onomatopoeic words whose mere pronunciation expresses their meaning explicitly. Imitating some natural sound produced by birds, animals, instruments, etc. forms an onomatopoeic word.

This paper attempts to reveal the onomatopoeic words of Manipuri. Onomatopoeic words play a major role in the formation of Manipuri words. These might have helped in the emergence of Manipuri as a distinct language from within related languages/dialects. No doubt, onomatopoeic words are universally found in every language. In Manipuri, many of these may correspond to the sounds produced by a particular process, thing or being in the environment. They assume specific characteristics and become sort of native expressions in the language. In course of time because of sound changes, which may be regular or irregular, the degree of similarities between the sound produced by the process, thing or being in the environment is partially or completely modified. Sometimes it needs a lengthy historical process to examine the origin of the onomatopoeic words as they pass through many generations.

Onomatopoeic words differ from language to language. The sense of arbitrariness between the sound form and the meaning is not so arbitrary if onomatopoeia is responsible for the creation of linguistic expression. It is possible to recognize the meaning of a sound form from the very sound produced by a particular thing, being or process. Therefore the sound form and its meaning are very closely related.

If the words are created on the basis of onomatopoeia there should be a tendency of universal phonetic similarity in languages partially or wholly. But in course of time, language change took place and so the closeness between the sound form and the meaning may have disappeared. If the relation between the sound form and the meaning disappeared then it may be claimed that they are not onomatopoeic words.

Many a time we use onomatopoeic words particularly when we communicate with children and in the Motherese. A mother may communicate with her child through some sounds produced by the very object, creature, thing, etc. as an aid for the initial processes of language acquisition.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Language Shift Among Singaporean Malayalee Families | A Comparative Study of Gojri Double Verb Constructions | Trade in the Madras Presidency, 1941 - 1947 A Doctoral Dissertation | Conceptualization of Nationalism through Language - An Analysis of Malaysian Situation | Status of Urdu and Efforts and Strategies for Its Inclusion in the Mainstream of Indian Life | Language Learning Strategies - An Evaluation of Compensatory Strategies | Marriage and Self in the Selected Works of Henry James and Jayakanthan | King Richard II - Analyzing the Political Discourse of Power | Engaging Autobiography as an Expression of Self - Maya Angelou's Autobiographies and Her Black Self | Onomatopoeic Words in Manipuri | Historical Growth of Short Stories in Tamil and Telugu - A Comparison | The Gujral Committee Report on Urdu | HOME PAGE of January 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

H. Dolen Singh, Ph.D.
North Eastern Regional Language Centre

S. Imoba Singh, Ph.D.
Manipur University

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