Monday, September 9, 2013

Japanese Onomatopoeia

Morning at a mountain hotel.

Quiet. Aaah.
You say it with some relief.
Nights up here can be quiet. Always something though. Cicadas going chirr, chirr… Or in Japanese… Miin min min miin.  Rain shower sprinkling drops … potsu potsu in Japanese. Dog barking woof, woofwan wan in Japanese
That's outside.
Yes, and inside. Karaoke… yeow, yeow. Table tennis… click, click, Yay! Pass the kitchen… clatter clatter crash, whoosh. In the bathroom… spush, slosh, squirt, spray, clatter and the hair drier whining. And in the room after lights out… the thunderous sound of four men snoring… snrkkxx or guu guu.

Japanese language includes a large number of onomatopoeia words (aka phonomimes). These sound symbol words consists of three main groups: 
Giseigo (擬声語) 
are approximations of sounds made by animals and people.
Giongo (擬音語)
 are words represented by sounds made by inanimate objects such as the nature or machines.
Some linguists also include Gitaigo (擬態語)
 or mimetic words that describe actions or emotions.

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