Onomatopoeia in English



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Onomatopoeia in English

Plan :


  1. Definition of Onomatopoeia.

  2. Types of Onomatopoeia.

  3. Uses of Onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeia refers to representation of sound by an imitation . This term is a word that phonetically imitates by ( resembling or suggestion ) the sound that it describes . As an uncountable noun onomatopoeia refers to the property of such words . Common occurrence of onomatopoeia include animal noises or voices , air , water and collision for example :

1-woof , moon , oink

2-whisper , murmur , grow

3-hiss , swish , whoosh

4-drip , drizzle

5-smash , bang , clap.

Onomatopoeia is defined as a word which imitates the natural sounds of a thing : It creates a sound effect that mimics the thing described , making the description more expressive and interesting for instance , saying , " The gushing steam flows in the forest " is a more meaningful description that just saying " The stream flows in the forest " . The reader is drawn to hear the sound of a gushing stream which makes the expression more effective.

In addition to the sound they represent , many onomatopoeia words have developed meaning of their own for example , " Whisper " not only represent the sound of people talking quietly _ but also describes the action of people talking quietly.

It is concluded that the onomatopoeia is a general expression used in ordinary spoken and written language . Some kinds of onomatopoeia words imitate sounds such as o'clock " Tick _tack " .

Onomatopoeia came into English via late Latin and ultimately traces back to Greek ' Onoma ' meaning "name" and "Poiein" .

For Simpso onomatopoeia has two types . The first one is a lexical onomatopoeia then he differentiates between them as follow :

lexical onomatopoeia is the first type recognized words in the language system , like thud , crack , slurp and buzz whose pronunciation enacts symbolically their reference outside language .

Non lexical onomatopoeia by contrast refers to cluster of sound which echo the world in a more unmediated way , without the incression of linguistic structure.

In addition , one has classified into distinct types : imitative ones and echoic ones . Imitative onomatopoeia are words that imitate sounds Produced by everything else than a vocal a paratus . Imitative Onomatopoeias focus on the production of the sound ( there is a " real imitation " and the speaker takes the place of the animal which he imitates ) which echoic onomatopoeias only focus on the sound itself.

Onomatopoeia is used in different aspects of life , it may used for emphasis or stylistic effect . It is featured very heavily in children's rhymes and poetry in general . It is also used extensively in advertising as in slogan , snap , crackle and pop ! Onomatopoeia is the only example in English of a word which has a direct and intrinsic connection with the thing it describes . For example , if one says that the boy makes " splash " jumping into pool , the noun "splash" actually imitates the thing to which it refers . Splash is not simply an arbitrary code for the sound made when someone jumps into swimming pool . It is an aural echo of that very thing .

Onomatopoeia is often used in literature to create aural effects that mimic the visual thing being described . Authors sometimes use combination of words to create an onomatopoeia effect not necessary using words that are onomatopoeia and of themselves , for example , in Samule Taylor Colridge's " Rime of the ancient Mariner " .

Onomatopoeia is a special language expression because its phonological form appears to be more directly associated with its meaning. Onomatopoeic words can convey imaginative, animated, and picturesque meanings that ordinary (i.e.non-onomatopoeic) words do not indicate. Unfortunately, onomatopoeia (especially in English) is one of the most undeveloped fields at the present day. In fact, onomatopoeia has been regarded as a “peripheral, immature, unnecessary, or less-linguistic” phenomenon in Europe and the United States, and little attention has been given to it. This tendency can date back to the argument by Saussure that onomatopoeia is not an element of language systems, and the number of onomatopoeic words is very small.

Onomatopoeia is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea, thunder, etc), by things (machines or taols, 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: direct and indirect.

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, dingdong, which represents the sound of bells rung continuously, may mean 1) noisy, 2) strenuously contested. Examples are:

a ding-dong struggle, a ding-dong go at something. In the following newspaper headline:

Ding-dong row opens on bill, both meanings are implied. Indirect onomatopoeia the aim of the utterance an 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 line above. The same can be said of the sound [w] if it aims at reproducing, let us say, the sound of wind. The word wind must be "Whenever the moon and stars are set, Whenever the wind is high, All night long" in the dark and wet A man goes riding by." (R. S. Stevenson).

Indirect onomatopoeia is sometimes very effectively used by repeating words which themselves are not onomatopoetic, as in Poe's poem "The Bells" where the words tinkle and bells are distributed in the following manner:

"Silver bells... how they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle" and further

"To the tintinabulation that so musically wells

From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells —

From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells."

Alongside obviously onomatopoetic words as tinkle, tintinabulation and jingling the word bells is drawn into the general music of the poem and begins to display onomatopoetic properties through the repetition.

Here is another example:

"Mostly he moved in urgent, precise, clipped movements— go, go ,go — and talked the same way — staccato sentences."

The onomatopoetic effect is achieved by the repetition of the unono-matopoetic word 'go' the pronunciation of which is prompted by the word 'clipped', suggesting short, quick, abrupt motions. One seems even to hear the sound of his footsteps, A skilful example of onomatopoetic effect is shown by Robert Sou-they in his poem "How the Water Comes down at Ladore." The title of the poem reveals the purpose of the writer. By artful combination of words ending in -ing and by the gradual increase of the number of words in successive lines, the poet achieves the desired sound effect. The poem is rather too long to be reproduced here, but a few lines will suffice as illustrations:

"And nearing and clearing,

And falling and crawling and sprawling,



And gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,

And in this way the water comes down at Ladore,"
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