SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

Grammar of Mimetics

{Grammer of Mimetics}

Date: 10 May 2013Time: 10:00 AM

Finishes: 11 May 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B104

Type of Event: Workshop

Mimetic or “sound-symbolic” words in Japanese (giongo/giseigo/gitaigo) constitute a significant lexical category. Due to the prominent non-arbitrary relationships between form and meaning, their sound symbolism has been extensively studied, especially from phonological and semantic perspectives. Mimetic words appear to exist as a grammatical sub-system in all languages, but their scope and productivity varies greatly. They play a central role in the grammar of Japanese, featuring very early in children’s language. The workshop aims to focus on these grammatical aspects, using Japanese as a model or starting-point for analyses of mimetics in other languages.

We aim to publish an edited volume in English of selected papers from the workshop.

The workshop organisers are Noriko Iwasaki (SOAS, University of London), Mika Kizu (SOAS, University of London) and Peter Sells (University of York).


Friday, 10 May 2013
10:00Opening & Introductory Remarks
10:10-10:40Overview: The Grammar of Mimetics
Peter Sells (University of York)
Keynote 1

The position of to-/zero-marked Mimetics in Japanese Sentence Structure
Kiyoko Toratani (York University)

Session 1: Grammar of Mimetic Adverbs

Mimetics of Quantity in “Movement” Contexts
Ann Wehmeyer and Yukari Nakamura-Deacon (University of Florida)

Adverbial Mimetics and Lexical Aspect
Judit Kroo (Stanford University)

Keynote 2

What does Mimetic Meaning Mean?  
Natsuko Tsujimura (Indiana University)

Session 2: Typological/Comparative Perspectives

Expressiveness and System Integration: On the morphosyntactic typology of ideophones
Mark Dingemanse (MPI Nijmegen)

Expressiveness in Mimetic Syntax: Quantitative evidence from Japanese and English
Kimi Akita (Osaka University)

Some Notes on Noun Formation by Derivation and Compounding of Mimetics in Japanese and Romanian
Anca Focseneanu (University of Bucharest)

17:00-18:00Drinks Reception
Saturday, 11 May 2013
Keynote 3

Mimetics and Onomaopoeia as Japanese Root Infinitive Analogues
Keiko Murasugi (Nanzan University)

Session 3: L1 & L2 Acquisition of Mimetics

Is There Any Similarity in the Use of Mimetics between L1 and L2 Japanese?
Keiko Yoshioka (Leiden University)

Describing Motion Events in L2 Japanese: Rolling, flying up and crashing
Noriko Iwasaki (SOAS, University of London)

Session 4: Mimetics and Translation

The Grammar of Mimetic Neologisms in Japanese Translations of Lewis Carroll’s Poem “Jabberwocky”
Mareike Hamann (University of Manchester)

The functions of Japanese Sound Symbolic Words in Different Types of Texts and their Translation
Hiroko Inose (Dalarna University)

Translating into Japanese Mimetics
Mika Kizu (SOAS, University of London) and Naomi Cross (Himeji Dokkyo University)

15:30-16:20Discussion and Future Planning



Organiser: Co-organized by SOAS Dept of Linguistics and Dept of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4892/3

Sponsor: The workshop is generously supported through a Meiji Jingu Research Grant, a Daiwa Foundation Small Grant, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation