Words of Sound Symbolic Origin in Etymological Research
(Investigation Based on Slavic Languages)
DSc Thesis (in Bulgarian)

Keywords: sound symbolism, onomatopoeia, etymology, reduplication, semantic
reconstruction, cognitive linguistics, Slavic languages

According to etymological dictionaries of Slavic languages there should not be any words of
synesthetic sound symbolic origin (i.e. words with a direct linkage between their sound form
and non-sound meaning) in these languages or their number should be very small. This fact,
however, contradicts the typological assumption of primitiveness and universality of
phonetically motivated words.
The dissertation attempts to formulate the principles of etymological investigation of words of
synesthetic sound symbolic origin and on their basis to show that this kind of words is not
alien to Slavic languages. Two main points of the etymological analysis of words of
synesthetic sound symbolic origin are discussed: (1) how to recognize them and (2) how to
define the groups of cognates between them in Slavic languages. In the identification of
synesthetic sound-symbolic words reduplication is regarded as a most reliable criterion. If a
series of words which convey the same non-sound meaning contain reduplicated clusters of
sounds, they could be continuants of a synesthetic sound symbolic etymon. In discussing the
possibilities of defining the groups of cognates between these words following points are
emphasized. Since the relationship between the continuants of the same phonetically
motivated etymon cannot be established by phonetic laws and the continuants of different
sound-symbolic origin in different languages and dialects can have the same or similar
phonetic forms and convey the same meaning, the groups of cognates between these words
cannot be defined with much confidence. Since similar reduplicated forms can be created as
synesthetic sound symbolic denominations of different meanings, the blending of synesthetic
sound-symbolic groups of cognates is possible during their evolution. There exist parallel
forms with full and partial reduplication, which convey the same meaning of synesthetic
sound-symbolic origin. This fact supports the hypothesis that partial reduplication is
historically nothing else but a reduction of full reduplication.

Колева-Златева Живка Стефанова


Жанр работы: Докторские диссертации ,

Язык аннотации: Английский,

Язык исследования: Болгарский