I formulate an approach to ideophone semantics which, though based on a corpus from Pastaza Quichua, a South American indigenous language, has potential for analyzing the semantics of ideophone systems more generally. Research on ideophones’ formal properties has preoccupied an increasing number of scholars, while systematic semantic analyses are lagging. Ideophones’ semantics pose challenges because of their intonation and gesture, sound symbolism, and sensory complexity. These qualities require an approach going beyond the traditional mono-sensory classifications, which have dominated ideophones’ semantic descriptions. Using a sensory cluster diagram featuring an implicational logic based on 10 super- and subcategories of sensory experience, this paper analyzes a sample of ideophones drawn from an online corpus featuring 500 archived ideophones.
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