The phonology of Kafi Noonoo ideophones


  • Teferi Mulugeta Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  • Girma Mengistu Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia


click-like sounds, consonant lengthening, ideophones, phonology, tones


This paper is the first and original work on the phonology of Kafi Noonoo ideophones. All of the data used in this study are collected through fieldwork. Ideophones are attested word classes with peculiar phonology in that they break some phonological rules of the prosaic language. Kafi Noonoo ideophones also undergo unique phonological features from the regular phonology of the language.  Kafi Noonoo ideophones use all the phonemes of the regular language and additional five click-like sounds (ʘ, ǃ, ǁ, ʞ, and tchip).  The click-like sounds do not found in the language and the regular phonology of Ethiopian Afro-Asiatic languages in general. Kafi Noonoo ideophones show different suprasegmental features from the regular phonology of the language. Another striking phonological feature in ideophones of the language is that ideophones break the phonotactics and suprasegmental features rules of the prosaic language. Moreover, Kafi Noonoo ideophones exhibit some syllable structures that are specific to ideophones. These are the (C1VC2C2), (CVVV…), (C1VVV…C2) and (C1VC2C2C2…). Furthermore, Kafi Noonoo is a tone language. The language has high and low tones. As the result of the study depicts ideophones of the language constitute both open and closed syllable shapes.



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How to Cite

Mulugeta, T., & Mengistu, G. (2022). The phonology of Kafi Noonoo ideophones . Macrolinguistics and Microlinguistics, 3(1), 15–38.