Sound Symbolism in The Disputation between Bird and Fish 102-109

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Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

This paper investigates the poetic structure of a passage from The Disputation between Bird and Fish (lines 102-109). The unusual thing about this passage is that it is the only place within the disputation literature where physical violence (and death) takes the place of the vcrbal combat that typically occurs in the disputations. Although this passage is characterized by the total absence of speech, various words with the phonological form /sik/ act as a form of sound symbolism (phonological iconism) that points to the decisive moment in the passage: the fish's attack on the bird's nest, which results in the destruction of the bird's nest and its young. These eight lines (102-109) can be juxtaposed to the eight line sequence that immediately follows (lines 110-1] 7), which are also non-verbal, but whose poetics are organized along entirely different lines.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-241
Number of pages12
JournalAltorientalische Forschungen
Volume37
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010

Keywords

  • sound symbolism, literary disputations, Sumerian literature