Analysis of onomatopoeic words in different languages
Modul: 04-001-1003 Introduction to Linguistics for American Studies (LS I) Übung: Spoken Academic Discourse
Sommersemester 2013 P. J. Tosic
Eingereicht am 04. Juli 2013
von Julia Schumkov
Matrikelnummer: 306 20 77
BA American Studies / FS 2
Thus it can be argued that sometimes a full match of onomatopoeic words occurs in several languages, in other cases we observe only partial coincidence and some words don’t coincide at all. It is easy to think of onomatopoeic words, for instance, whizz, splash, thump. Onomatopoeia indicates word formation based on the imitation of natural sound, for example, whisper, bang or hiss in English. The concept of onomatopoeia words can be difficult to understand without examples. Examples give you the chance to better understand the onomatopoeia concept and to see and sound out actual words. Onomatopoeia (from Greek) is a word that phonetically imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. In the English language the term onomatopoeia means the imitation of a sound. The onomatopoeic word is based on either the nature of the sound itself, as crash or the name of the source of the sound, as cuckoo. The interpretation of sound changes as language changes. Conventional onomatopoeic words have permanent phonemic structure: meow (cat), quack-quack (duck), bow-wow (dog), doodle (rooster), oink-oink (pig). In terms of Grammar onomatopoeic words are close to interjections and often refer to them. Grammatically onomatopoeic words are not isolated from the rest of the words and can be used in the function of subject, predicate and object. In terms of Stylistics onomatopoeia is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea, thunder, etc.), by things (machines or tools, etc.), by people (sighing, laughter, patter of feet, etc.) and by animals. Combinations of speech sounds of this type will inevitably be associated with whatever produces the natural sound. Therefore the relation between onomatopoeia and the phenomenon it is supposed to represent is one of metonymy. There are two varieties of onomatopoeia: 1.
Direct onomatopoeia is contained in words that imitate natural sounds, as ding-dong, burr, bang, and cuckoo. These words have different degrees of imitative quality. Some of them immediately bring to mind whatever it is that produces the sound. Others require the exercise of a certain amount of imagination to decipher it. Onomatopoetic words can be used in a transferred meaning, as for instance, ding - dong, which represents the sound of bells rung continuously, may mean 1) noisy, or 2) strenuously contested. 2.
Indirect onomatopoeia is a combination of sounds the aim of which is to make the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense. It is sometimes called "echo writing". An example is 'And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain' (E. A. Poe), where the repetition of the sound [s] actually produces the sound of the rustling of the curtain. Indirect onomatopoeia, unlike alliteration, demands some mention of what makes the sound, as rustling (of curtains) in the example above. We are interested only in the first meaning of the term. We will try to compare some sounds in different languages. Our task is to analyze the examples of onomatopoeic words in English, German, Russian, and French, to identify similarities and differences, and to try to explain them. It’s important for linguists because there are few dictionaries of onomatopoeia, and peculiarities of the translation of onomatopoeia have not yet been fully identified and cleared up, which sometimes leads to certain difficulties in their translation. Onomatopoeia is the imitation of natural noises by speech sounds that is a great concern of linguists. Nowadays to understand this phenomenon, we must realize that there is a problem here which is by no means trivial. There is an infinite number of...
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