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Miriam
Onomatopeia

Every language has words that are derived from sounds. They are called onomatopeia. See some English examples here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/video/uncommon-and-surprising-onomatopoeia-words

I thought about this topic today because I learnt the word "squelch" today, in the meaning of ... well, it was in Games of Thrones and someone thrusted a sword through another person and this was described as "squelching" in the subtitles. According to this resource https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/squelch, to "squelch can mean to make a squelch-like sucking sound — or to slop, slosh, splash, and squish through the mud." Well, as squelching also means "to put an end to something", the one person squelched the other's life (yeah, I know, you normally don't use the word in that way) by thrusting the sword with a squelching sound through their body... 

The Japanese language is full of beautiful onomatopeia and has a peculiarity. Not only does Japanese have words to describe sounds (giongo) but also to describe actions or feelings in a sound-like manner (gitaigo). See some examples here: https://www.nihongomaster.com/blog/japanese-onomatopoeia-guide/ and here: https://www.japanesepod101.com/japanese-onomatopoeia/.

What are your favourite onomatopeia in your native tongue or in your target language?

May 4, 2019 7:24 PM
Comments · 5

Hi Miriam, 

I liked the topic. In Arabic we’ve got a lot of onomatopoeic words like,

صليل السيوف the sound of swords are like the word Saleel


حفيف الشجر the sound of tree leaves when air blows is like the word Hafeef

etc.

May 4, 2019
There are heaps of Korean examples: http://www.myseoulsearching.com/2015/05/Korean-Onomatopoeia-Fun-Words.html
They are used quite commonly in everyday language.
콸콸 (kwal-kwal) – bubbling stream water
솔솔 (sol-sol) – leaves on a gentle breeze
활활 (hwal-hwal) – a burning fire
쨍쨍 (jjaeng-jjaeng) – a blazing sun
추록추록 (chu-rok-chu-rok) – falling raindrops
우르릉 (oo-ruh-rung) – the rumbling of an earthquake or landslide
휭휭 (hwing-hwing) – the wind
철썩철썩 (cholssok-cholssok) – splashing
따끈따끈 (ttaggeun-ttaggeun) – a feeling of warmth
방글방글 (banggeul-banggeul) – to smile beamingly
반짝반짝 (banjjak-banjjak) – to be glittering or sparkling
미끌매끌 (mikkeul-maekkeul) – to be slippery, taken from 미끄럽다 (mikkeuropda, to be slippery)
올긋볼긋 (olgeut-bolgeut) – to be many colors / picturesque
보들보들 (bodeul-bodeul) – soft and cuddly
뽀글뽀글 (bogeul-bogeul) – the bubbling of boiling water
May 4, 2019
What I find interesting is that onomatopoeia in German follow a certain pattern when the vowel changes:

tick tack, plitsch platsch

ping pong, ding dong

It's not possible to say tack tick and pong ping. Does anyone know why "i" has to come first?

May 7, 2019
Thanks for all these great onomatopoeia!
May 5, 2019
I'm learning Italian. Like my native English, it has onomatopoeic words for many of the sounds made by humans or animals, e.g. mormorare (murmur), urlare (howl), sussurrare (whisper). One that I love in Italian that English lacks is chiacchierare (to chitchat). It gives me a quiet giggle every time I hear it because I hear it like a caricature of people making talking sounds, kind of like clucking hens. 
May 5, 2019
Miriam
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)