Onomatopoeia – sound effect words make storytelling live

Delores E. Topliff

Profound thanks to the Greeks for creating sound effect words. The term comes from two combined Greek words, onoma meaning “name” and poiein meaning “to make” or create words that sound like the action described. This post gleaned information from http://examples.yourdictionary.com/5-examples-of-onomatopoeia.html

Onomatopoeic words can be verbs or nouns. “Slap” is the sound heard when skin hits skin but also describes the action of hitting someone with an open hand. “Rustle” is the sound of dry things, like papers, brushing, but also describes the sound when they are moved around and brush each other.

Here are examples for you to see, hear, and sound out. These words sound like water or liquid: splash, spray, sprinkle, squirt, drip, and drizzle.

These describe vocal sounds made in the back of the throat or by air passing over or through the lips, tongue, and teeth: Giggle, growl, grunt, gurgle, mumble, murmur, and chatter.

More describe the sounds of two or more objects colliding: bump, bang, cling, clank, clunk, clang, chop, click, clip, thud, thump, and clap.

Others describe air blowing through things or rushing through the air: flutter, swish, swoosh, whoosh, whiff, whizz, or whisper.

Distinctive identifying animal sounds include bark, bray, buzz, chirp, hiss, moo, oink, purr, quack, tweet, and warble. However, they are described differently in various parts of the world. For example,chickens may cluck, bok, tok, or kot.

Chug, puff, ding, dong, and buzz, are action words. We all know Alka Seltzer’s successful slogan, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.” In the U.S. and Canada, Rice Krispies snap, crackle, and pop, but in Spanish-speaking countries they go pim, pum, pam.

The Greeks created this word category gift to express life and fun. Let’s clap our appreciation and invent more sound words to capture the woofs, bangs, toots, cracks, crashes, snaps, and sizzles, that express life.

Now, please share your favorite onomatopoeia word or create your own.

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