The Aesthetics of Grammar

The Aesthetics of Grammar : Sound and Meaning in the Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia

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The languages of mainland Southeast Asia evidence an impressive array of elaborate grammatical resources, such as echo words, phonaesthetic words, chameleon affixes, chiming derivatives, onomatopoeic forms, ideophones and expressives. Speakers of these languages fashion grammatical works of art in order to express and convey emotions, senses, conditions and perceptions that enrich discourse. This book provides a detailed comparative overview of the mechanisms by which aesthetic qualities of speech operate as part of speakers' grammatical knowledge. Each chapter focuses on a different language and explores the grammatical information of a number of well- and lesser-known languages from mainland Southeast Asia. It will be of great interest to syntacticians, morphologists, linguistic anthropologists, language typologists, cognitive scientists interested in language, and instructors of Southeast Asian languages.
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Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 4 b/w illus. 2 maps 25 tables
  • 1139030485
  • 9781139030489

Review quote

'A groundbreaking introduction to an important, long-neglected phenomenon. The descriptive and theoretical problems posed by expressive systems are a serious challenge for the next generation of linguists, and scholars seeking to engage this challenge will begin with this volume.' Scott DeLancey, University of Oregon
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About Jeffrey P. Williams

Jeffrey P. Williams is Professor of Anthropology and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas Tech University.
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Table of contents

1. Introduction Jeffrey P. Williams; Part I. Austro-Asiatic: 2. Expressives in Austro-Asiatic Paul Sidwell; 3. Aesthetic elements in Temiar grammar Geoffrey Benjamin; 4. Decorative morphology in Khmer John Haiman; 5. Why is sound symbolism so common in Vietnamese? Marc Brunelle and Le Thi Xuyen; 6. Grammatical aesthetics in Wa Justin Watkins; 7. Beautifying techniques in Kammu vocal genres Hakan Lundstrom; Part II. Tai-Kadai: 8. Proverbs, proverbial elaboration, and poetic development in the Tai languages Thomas John Hudak; 9. Lexicalized poetry in Sui James N. Stanford; 10. Attitudes towards aesthetic aspects of Thai grammar Wilaiwan Khanittanan; Part III. Hmong-Mien: 11. White Hmong reduplicative expressives Martha Ratliff; Part IV. Austronesian: 12. The aesthetics of Jarai echo morphology Lap M. Siu and Jeffrey P. Williams; 13. Expressive forms in Bih - a Highland Chamic language of Vietnam Tam Nguyen; Part V. Tibeto-Burman: 14. Aesthetic aspects of Khmui grammar David A. Peterson; 15. Delight in sound: Burmese patterns of euphony Julian K. Wheatley; 16. Psycho-collocational expressives in Burmese Alice Vittrant; 17. Grammatical aesthetics of ritual texts in Akha Inga-Lill Hansson.
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