Monday, April 2, 2012

Out of curiosity, what in the world is an ONOMATOPOEIA?

design by Tatiana Jacobson

An onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like the word it describes, for example: boom! crash! whoosh! snap! woof-woof!! oops! tap, buzz...  This word found its way into English from the Greek words 'onoma', 'onomat' (name), 'poiein' (to make), and 'oeia' (word-making).  Here are some other fun ones:

  • We enjoyed the crackling of the fire as we sat around the campfire in the  forest and stared at the stars.
  • I couldn't sleep last night as the faucet went drip, drip, drip.
  • Pardon me, I couldn't hear what you were mumbling.  Could you say that again, please?
  • Without any manners and in a rush, he slurped up every last bit of his spaghetti with the most obnoxious sounds! 
  • The kids splashed around in the pool until the entire patio was soaked. 
It is especially funny, yet unsurprising, how languages all of the world interpret the same sound, as in the sound a cat makes:
  • Arabic: muwá
  • Chinese: meu-meu
  • English: meow
  • French: miaou
  • Japanese: nya
  • Portuguese: miau
  • Turkish: miyav

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