Onomatopoeia Desu Yo!
April 1, 2010 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Having trouble translating the Japanese sound effects written in your favorite manga? Try looking it up in the Japanese Onomatopoeia Guide.
posted by Babblesort (17 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I found this guide while doing a bit of searching for this AskMe question and thought it was fun and handy.
posted by Babblesort at 4:16 PM on April 1, 2010


This is awesome. Thank you.
posted by reductiondesign at 4:31 PM on April 1, 2010


Will this help me pronounce "peepshi"?
posted by telstar at 5:09 PM on April 1, 2010


Ideally, this page would pop up a sound effect balloon that reads "TRANSLATE!!".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:11 PM on April 1, 2010


Isn't onomatopoeia self-explanatory?
posted by DU at 5:14 PM on April 1, 2010


pi = beep, peep, any other short high-pitched sound
ka(a) = light
chu = kiss

posted by not_on_display at 5:16 PM on April 1, 2010


Isn't onomatopoeia self-explanatory?

It's not always that clear. Different cultures assigned different sounds for onomatopeia.
Can you guess doki doki is equivalent to lub dub (both are sound of beating heart)?
posted by Carius at 5:19 PM on April 1, 2010


Isn't onomatopoeia self-explanatory?

Not at all, as Carius mentioned. Animal sounds, for example, vary widely across languages.
posted by jedicus at 5:37 PM on April 1, 2010


Isn't onomatopoeia self-explanatory?

Dear god no. I'd honestly say my weakness in Japanese (my major weakness, mind you, aside from Kanji, grammar, and vocabulary) is that onomatopoeia used here have absolutely no connection to what I grew up with, and I haven't had much luck in finding a resource for studying them. This list looks quite handy, thanks for posting it.

Mind you, for those of you who imagine it would all be the same, you're talking about a culture that believes the stoplight is red, yellow and blue. It's the same color light as in the U.S., but they'll never say it's green. Mo, cokoriko, wan, and nyan indeed.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:44 PM on April 1, 2010


Dang, forum post. So this is going to be around for maybe 3-4 years, tops...anyway, thanks for the link.
posted by circular at 5:52 PM on April 1, 2010


Animal sounds, for example, vary widely across languages

I remember when I first heard that the French feel that ducks go "coin coin!" It was a revelation! I was like, "Holy crap! That's so much more accurate than 'quack'!" and then spent a good five minutes going "coin! coin coin!" with a French accent and chuckling.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:10 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


not_on_display: Close. The real etymology is pika (flash of light) + chu (squeaking noise a mouse makes).

"Bulbasaur" is left as an exercise for the poke-trainer.
posted by No-sword at 12:31 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Original version from the Internet Archive
posted by Sharcho at 4:15 AM on April 2, 2010


Much more discussion, with links, here. (Alas, the link in the LH post I linked in that thread is long dead.)
posted by languagehat at 9:18 AM on April 2, 2010


Japanese as a language is way more into onomatopoeia than any other I've experienced. Actually, Japanese has both giongo 擬音語 【ぎおんご】(lit. imitate sound word) which are words that sound like actual sounds and gitaigo 擬態語 【ぎたいご】(lit. imitate condition word) which are words that sound like soundless things or ideas. I think it says something interesting about the Japanese psyche that there are sound words for feeling difficulty or being fluent.

On the other hand, most giongo and almost all gitaigo are two syllables repeated twice (e.g., "naka-naka" or "pera-pera") which does tend to make even grown men's speech sound vaguely childish.
posted by Cogito at 10:50 AM on April 2, 2010


My personal favorite is shiiin, the sound of silence.
posted by rifflesby at 7:33 AM on April 3, 2010


Welcome darkness, my old friend.
posted by SPrintF at 9:51 AM on April 3, 2010


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