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Anglophonic Influence in the Use of Sound Symbolism in Italian Disney Comics: A Corpus-based Analysis

Pier Simone Pischedda
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, Leeds, UK
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Published Online: 2017-12-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0030


This article will explore the linguistic implications of employing and creating sound symbolism (ideophones, onomatopoeia and interjections) in Italian Disney comics. It will endeavour to investigate the way sound symbolic forms in both imported Disney US comics and original Italian stories have profoundly influenced the development of Italian sound symbolism in the last century. The diachronic analysis is carried out thanks to the creation of a corpus of ideophones and interjections from 210 Disney stories published between 1932 and 2013. The corpus will allow the author to investigate how these forms have changed diachronically throughout the eighty years under investigation with the final aim of highlighting changes and patterns in both original and translated Italian stories. The unique status of ideophones, confirmed by language, sociological and neurological studies, has led to interesting experimentations but also to complicated dynamics. Certain linguistic settings seem to foster a better affinity towards the device- particularly if compared to Romance languages, such as Italian and Spanish, that often have to rely on Anglophone renditions. Anglicisation has indeed overshadowed previous original attempts. Nevertheless, recent creations, particularly from cartoonists, bear witness to a willingness to stretch language again in order to enhance language iconicity.

Keywords: sound symbolism; ideophones; onomatopoeia; Disney; comics studies; Italian language; semantics; historical linguistics; interjections; neology


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About the article

Received: 2017-08-11

Accepted: 2017-11-20

Published Online: 2017-12-07

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 591–612, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0030.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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