senses with onomatopoeias
みゅるみゅる (myuru myuru) :
The sound of pouring milk into a glass or water dripping in a cave.
・みゅるみゅると牛乳が注がれた。(The milk was myuru myuru poured into [a container])
・洞窟の奥で絶えずみゅるみゅる水が滴る音がしている。(The sound of myuru myuru drops constantly echoes in the cave.)
To be defeated by fate. You feel piachi when there is no hope.
・He got up early in order to be here on time but eventually being piachi because of the traffic jam.
By Yungga Chen
Try to behave cool and stylish but in a wrong way, similar to “xia pa” in Taiwanese
・He makes his car donts donts by using lots of colorful led lamps, and it looks terrible.
By Yungga Chen
ナニナニ (nani nani):
To feel confused or startled.
オノマトペ (onomatope) is the loanword in Japanese for onomatopoeias. Onomatopoeia usually refers to words that imitate noises and sounds, however, Japanese sound-symbolic words are not only a representation of sounds in the language. In Japanese, onomatopoeia is a common way to describe appearances and impressions of things as well as expressing feelings and emotions, and are not necessarily related to sounds. Onomatopoeias are used widely in Japanese, from everyday conversation to formal writings, often appear as adjectives and adverbs.
Onomatopoeias that describe appearance or status:
キラキラ (kira kira): glittering; sparkling
ばらばら (bara bara): scattered; disperse; loose; disconnected; in pieces; in drops; rustling
たっぷり (tappuri): full; in plenty; ample
じろじろ (jiro jiro): staringly; scrutinizing
ふらふら (fura frura): unsteadily (e.g. on one's feet); staggering; wavering (in one's mind)
ゆらゆら (yura yura): swaying; shaking; wavering
くねくね (kune kune): winding; meandering; wriggling; waving; twisting and turning
Onomatopoeias that describe feelings:
むかむか (muka muka): feeling sick; feeling nauseated; being offended
いらいら (ira ira): to get irritated; to get annoyed; to lose patience
びっくり (bikkuri): Shocked, surprised
のろのろ (noro noro): slowly; sluggishly
めろめろ (mero mero): madly in love; falling down drunk
Onomatopoeias with multiple meanings:
ぼろぼろ (boro boro)
1. worn-out; ragged
2. crumbling; dry and crumbly
3. falling (in drops or clumps); scattering
4. (physically or mentally) worn-out; exhausted
5. (coming to light) one after another
(Definition from jisho.org/)
Japanese onomatopoeias show the potentiality of phonemes in spoken languages as a tool for describing appearances or feelings, and that onomatopeias can be a way to translate bodily experiences into a language form. In this workshop, we are going to focus on this distinctive way of using onomatopoeias in Japanese.
- Take something beside you. Or imagine something you have thought of a lot recently.
- How does it make you feel? (Its appearance/ smell/ taste/ touch/ emotion)
- Create an onomatopoeic word (with your intuition) to describe it.
- Write a definition for it.
- Write an example sentence using the onomatopoeia you created.
- Think of a sound-symbolic word in any language.
- What can it describe in terms of appearance/ smell/ taste/ touch/ emotion?
- Create a new definition for the word.
- Write an example sentence using the onomatopoeia you applied.
- Generate as many (new definitions of) onomatopoeias as you can.
- Post them on your Instagram story and tag . Or use the comment box below.
Please provide the English translation of the onomatopoeias if it the words are not in english.
You can either use component phonemes in any language to compose new words or use existing onomatopoeias to describe an aspect of a thing. If you decided to create new onomatopoeias that sound like Japanese words, I would suggest you use the component phonemes in Japanese (gojūon + Dakuon + Handakuon + Yōon) and create double form words such as goro-goro, pika-pika, etc.
Those onomatopoeias will be collected and shared on this site!
Contributor: Veronica Liu
To be irritated.
When someone offend you, you feel ding-dong.
He makes me ding-dong every time he acts as if the world is turning around him.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan. Currently studying MA Contemporary Art Theory at ECA.
Veronica Liu 2020