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Rhyme over Reason


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Phonological motivation in language evolution and development; 3. Phonetic symbolism; 4. Onomatopoeia; 5. Rhyme and alliteration in blends and compounds; 6. Words, words, words: rhyme and repetition in multi-word expressions; 7. Conclusions: the piggy in the middle.

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The sound shape of words carries meaning for its users and also bears a range of social and interactional functions.

About the Author

Reka Benczes is Associate Professor at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences and Communication Theory, Corvinus University of Budapest, and is also an affiliate of the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, Melbourne. She is the author of Creative Compounding in English (2006), and Kognitiv nyelveszet (Cognitive Linguistics; with Zoltan Koevecses, 2010), and has edited Defining Metonymy in Cognitive Linguistics (with Antonio Barcelona and Francisco Jose Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, 2011) and Wrestling with Words and Meanings: Essays in Honour of Keith Allan (with Kate Burridge, 2014).


'Rejecting the long dominant Saussurean view that language consists very largely of arbitrary sound-meaning associations and is primarily designed for the communication of referential meaning, Benczes takes us on a richly illustrated journey into a world of interrelated English word forms and of meanings affected by sounds and sound patterns. These lexical interactions are the expressive source of everyday language that serves to entertain, arouse, soothe and instruct as much as to inform. This is a book to tickle the reader's fancy, tempting us to try our own hand at discovering such phenomena as onomatopoeia and phonesthemes, rhyming compounds and irreversible binomials. These unconscious influences between form and meaning and form and form are all ways in which our language is continually shaped by what we already know - information essential for anyone concerned with first or second language learning or simply with delving more deeply into the nature of language.' Marilyn Vihman, University of York

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