What is Onomatopoeia?
Onomatopoeia (on-O-mat-O-P-ya) is a word that’s hard to spell but easy to understand. Derived from the Greek words for name and making, onomatopoeia refers to the literary device of making words that imitate sounds. It’s a way to emphasize the sounds and it’s a technique we use often. In fact, many of us may not know it, but we’re using onomatopoeia when we teach children the sounds that animals make.
Words like baa, meow, quack, oink, neigh and woof all attempt to mimic the sounds that we hear the animals make. Onomatopoeic words exist in many languages, with the words varying according to how those speakers perceive those sounds. For example, the same animal that says cockadoodledoo in English, says Cocorico in French and quiquiriqui in Spanish.
Other noise words include, crash, buzz, crunch, sizzle, hiss, splash, gush, boom, purr, squeak, clang, whirr, tinkle, click and slurp. There are many others; care to add a few to the list?
Here are some quotations from newspapers:
… D. Cha, who negotiated with North Korea during the George W. Bush administration, said its tough words were “a splash of cold water on all of those who thought this was going to be easier and different this time.” He predicted th … (www.nytimes.com)
… who has been in Bangkok, Delhi or Cairo will be familiar with the lawnmower whirr of the mighty tuk-tuk. Nimble enough to weave through traffic jams and narrow streets, the three-wheeled auto … (www.theguardian.com)