Author Topic: Onomatopoeia  (Read 1446 times)

Mandos

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Onomatopoeia
« on: March 10, 2009, 09:22:50 PM »
My scientific linguist self is a bit allergic to this kind of thing, but on some days I can't help but notice how onomatopoeic some words are.  I was just contemplating the Urdu/Hindi (and Turkish, and probably Persian) word hava, which means "air".  Pronounced as "huvvah", but the "v" is touched only lightly, almost a "w", and both syllables are unstressed.  It does sound kind of...airy, but my linguist self reasserts itself at that point and says that I am probably being reminded of "hover" which sounds very similar.  But then the smidgen of poet left whispers that maybe "hover" sounds they way it does for a reason.

deBeauxOs

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Re: Onomatopoeia
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2009, 10:01:55 PM »
There must be a linguist who has studied the creation of words and observed whether the onomatopeia factor is constant or frequent enough to formulate a working theory on its significance.

Many onomatopoeia exist in French; the most obvious are the verbs used for the sound produced by animals, machines, bodily functions.

My favourite is borborygme.  Gargouillis is good too.

Mandos

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Re: Onomatopoeia
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2009, 10:45:34 PM »
Well, actually, I misused "onomatopoeia".  I believe "onomatopoeia" is usually used to refer to the really obvious ones where an attempt is made to mimic the object in question.  "Meow."  Even so, things don't line up across languages enough for it to really be a popular subject among linguists, particularly of the specific variety in which I've been trained.  I mean, the ancient Greeks used "rekekekex koax koax" to refer to the sound a frog makes.

Hava in this case is technically an "ideophone".  It attempts to convey the sensory perception of the word.  Of course, I have no idea whether it is actually intended to do so, or does so across a large sample of the Urdu-speaking public unbiased by me telling them its so.  That kind of thing is very very hard to study.  That's why the linguist in me looks at it with a skeptical eye.

Catchfire

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Re: Onomatopoeia
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2009, 06:28:41 AM »
Some of my favourite onomatopoeic words: 'articulate', 'curt', 'straight', 'trochee' and 'erudite.'

 

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