Pyoon! Nyan! Pachi! – Learning the Japanese Onomatopoeia 2
In our last post about Japanese onomatopoeias, we talked about the first type which is the giseigo or words that mimic human and animal sounds. This time, we will talk about the other two types: giongo and gitaigo.
As we mentioned in the last post, the Japanese language is full of onomatopoeias. Some of them sound funny and some are hard to say. Though you will sound childish, but you can actually describe something that happened through the use of these onomatopoeias.
These words are sound effects that don’t fall under the first type, giseigo, which are words that are naturally produced by humans and other living things. It may describe the rainfall, the movement of the clock, an explosion, or the blowing of the wind. These type of words are also usually seen in Japanese manga (Japanese for comics).
|Sound||Japanese (romaji)||Japanese (katakana)|
|knock on the door||don-don||ドンドン|
|heat (from fire/sun)||kan-kan||カンカン|
Unlike the first two types, the giseigo and giongo, this type doesn’t try to imitate a sound of what it is describing. They don’t have a direct English equivalent. Gitaigo are called mimetic words because they try to mimic actions or qualities without necessarily imitating a sound. They describe feelings, qualities, and other silent actions.
|Sound||Japanese (romaji)||Japanese (katakana/hiragana)|
|stare||jitto / jii||じっと・じー|
|menacing/something big is approaching||gogo (can be repeated many times)||ゴゴ|
Japanese onomatopoeias sure are interesting. They add liveliness to a conversation and enhances your imagination. What are other Japanese onomatopoeias that you know? Share it with us in the comments section below!
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