Onomatopeias question... just out of curiousity! :D

Hercule   Friday, October 31, 2003, 15:01 GMT
Et oui Pif ton nom est une onomatopée et pas le mien, c'est pas juuuuuuuuuste!
Landgren   Saturday, November 01, 2003, 20:34 GMT
Some in Swedish:

Pretending to shoot: Pang!
Explosion: Kabom!
Dog: Voff
Pig: Nöff (pronounced like french neuf)
Cat: Mjau
Sheep: Bää (pronounced something like English "bad" without the "d"
Clock: Tick, tack, tick, tack
Car horn: Tut (pronounced with long u sound not found in many other languages)
Brazilian Guys   Saturday, November 01, 2003, 21:35 GMT
It seems to me that these words originated many English verbs like smack, plop, swat, smash, crash, yawn. I've read sentences like: "The girl hummed to the song."

Em português isso seria como: "O cahorro auauzou a noite toda.", "O carro fonfonzava/bibizava na minha porta."
messire lavoisel   Sunday, November 02, 2003, 16:54 GMT
To Brazilian Guy,

actually I think that many English onomatopeias originated from English verbs, and not the other way around. But I may be mistaken.

To A.S.C.M,

I find your onomatopeias original and what is more, funny! I recognise some French one and some other sound Chinese. But are they?
Jim   Thursday, November 06, 2003, 02:04 GMT
If they originated from verbs, they wouldn't be onomatopoeia.
Ricardo   Thursday, November 06, 2003, 15:38 GMT
Answering messire lavoisel Thursday, October 30, 2003, 22:52 GMT
( "French and Portuguese seem to share many onomatopeias in common. I wonder why? " )

Maybe I can help with your curiosity, Messire : Brazilian Portuguese, as spoken in the North starting from Rio de Janeiro, has a strong phonetical influence from French. For example, I pronounce the R´s in my name exactly as you probably do. An we have a lot of words of French origin => abat-jour for lampshade, desolado for desolée, soutien for bra, metrô for subway, just to cite a few.

This is related to Brasil´s history. Basically, the North was the economical center and most populated area from 1700´s until 1920´s, a period in which immigration was low and France was the world reference of literature, technology, politics and diplomacy. The Portuguese rulers and descendants were very influenced by French culture, just like today several countries are influenced by USA language and culture. It was very "chic" to use French expressions, accent and ideas...

By the 1930´s we started receiving millions of Italian, German, Polish, Ucranian and Japanese immigrants in the South, from São Paulo to the border with Uruguay, generating several influences in the language in this area. At the same time, the World Wars distributed differently the influence of the economical powers.

Just to illustrate the difference, I studied 3 years of French and only 2 years of English as part of the mandatory scholar curriculum until 1971, when a significant reform was made. My teenagers sons don´t know a word of French, and will have studied 6 years of English when they go to college !

So, don´t take these similar onomatopoeyas as a general rule, maybe in Portugal they use some others... ;-)
Richard   Thursday, November 06, 2003, 17:04 GMT
A bottle of window cleaner goes, squirt, squirt, when you spray it on the window. A dog goes, woof woof. A cat goes, meow. a cow goes, moo. a pig goes, oink. a duck goes, quack. a sheep goes, baa. a doorbell goes, dingdong. a ketchup bottle goes, squirt. a car horn goes, honk, honk. A pager goes, beep beep beep. a frog goes, ribbit. a snake goes, ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. an explosion goes boom. a gun goes bang. a bee goes, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
A.S.C.M.   Friday, November 07, 2003, 02:06 GMT
Hello, Messire Levoisel:

Yes, some of my onomatopoeia are French and a few (e.g. "wong wong" for dog bark) are Chinese. Most are my own inventions. I don't think any are English.
messire lavoisel   Sunday, November 09, 2003, 15:40 GMT
"If they originated from verbs, they wouldn't be onomatopoeia."

if we stick to the acceptation of the word "onomatopeia", you are right. But then, how would you call it when in a comic, the word "slam" is written in big, bold letter with aggressive shape and colour to represent the sound of a door being violently shut?

Ricardo, many thanks for this short history lesson! :D
I have heard that some whole districts are filled with Japanese people in Brazil. Is that true?

A.S.C.M, it would be very funny if some of your relatives begun to use your onomatopeias without noticing they did. Has it ever happened?
Jim   Monday, November 10, 2003, 01:15 GMT
Messire Lavoisel,

Well, if "in a comic, the word 'slam' is written in big, bold letter with aggressive shape and colour to represent the sound of a door being violently shut", I still wouldn't call it onomatopoeia.

Am I a stickler for the correct usage of words? Perhaps I am. What's wrong with that? The word "onomatopoeia" is not one that just rolls off the tongue. It's a bit of a technical word. It's not the kind of word that would spring to my mind if I saw "slam" in big bold colourful print in a comic book.

Now if someone were to describe that word "slam" in that book as onomatopoeia, I might even feel the urge to point their mistake out. Nope, it would be nothing but an ordinary verb, nothing fancy like onomatopoeia.
messire lavoisel   Monday, November 10, 2003, 21:39 GMT
Jim, I don't find anything wrong in being sticked to the original acceptation of the words.

This said, I was really curious to know how to call this verbs in big bold colourful print in comic books. But I have found out the proper name: interjections.

To my mind some American comics interjections based on English verbs really ressemble to the sound they are meant to represent.

to ring ;
to crunch ;
to click ;
to clap ;
to skruntch ;
to splash ;
to ding ;
to crash
to sniff ;
to crack ;

And some other don't

to smash ;
to knock ;
to smack ;

I am really tempted to call the formers "coincidential onomatopoeias".

What about you ?

messire lavoisel   Monday, November 10, 2003, 21:41 GMT
Sorry. "I don't find anything wrong WITH".
Jim   Tuesday, November 11, 2003, 04:13 GMT
Better still: "I don't find anything wrong with sticking to the original meaning of words."

I don't think "interjection" is the right word. Here's what the Cambridge Dictionary says. "In grammar, an interjection is a word which is used to show a short sudden expression of emotion: 'Hey!' is an interjection."


I'd say that some of those words, "ring", for example, are onomatopoeia. The same dictionary defines "onomatopoeia" as "the creation and use of words which include sounds that are similar to the noises that the words refer to".

Words like "ding" and "crunch" probably did originate from the actual sound and so would count as onomatopoeia. The others, could fit the title "coincidental onomatopoeia-like words".