Archive for October 26th, 2011

October 26, 2011

Onomatopoeic Words

Onomatopoeia in action, pic:

I know from my own experience as an ESL (English as Second Language) speaker that “onomatopoeic” is an extremely valuable word when it comes to impressing native speakers.  It is kind of hard to pronounce but that does not matter – since most people don’t know it it does not matter if one gets it slightly wrong or quickly rushes through the back part of the word with it’s difficult combination of vowels.

So what does onomatopoeic mean? An onomatopoeic word  imitates the sound it represents.  Huh?

The concept is easiest explained with a few examples:

Cuckoo – the name of the bird imitates the sound the animal makes

Sizzle – imitates the sound of something hot in a pan

Gurgle -imitates the sound of somebody – well, gurgling – water

A few more: rattle, roar, screech

A lot of words used in cartoons fall into the onomatopoeic category: plop, bang, honk, boom, zap, whack, vroom, wham, zoom –  my 7 year old son would probably know a lot more of these words.