Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Write the alphabet down the side of the page. For each letter write a word that represents a sound like vroooom, glooosh, ding, splat.

They don't have to be "official" word sounds. Have fun and make them up. (It's harder than you think! Though probably easier for kids.)

Anyone who's read any manga knows the Japanese have a huge repertoire of sound words!

Addendum: As I found out, strictly speaking some are not onomatopoeia but sound effects -- eg, growl is onomatopoeia but grrrr is a sound effect -- or even more strictly speaking for these Japanese words, situation effects, eg, shiiiin is the "sound" of silence.)

But onomatopoeia is a lot more fun to say!

Here's a sample from Japanese Sound effects and what they mean:

bari bari = crunch, as in eating. K-san: "Pori pori is the quietest crunching. Pori pori is for cookies; bari bari is for chips. Kori kori is for broccoli and asparagus." (see also kori, pari, pori)

bashan = medium splash (see also zabun for a very big splash)

batan = door slamming (see also patan)

bo = flame, fire (see also gooo, guooo, po). W-san: "'Bo' is like the 'whoosh' of a gas range turned on."

bota = dripping, possibly something thick dripping, like blood. Compare to pi, picha, po, pota. (see also dara dara for thick liquid dripping)

chapon, chapu = plunk (water sound) (see also shapu)

chichichi = how you call a cat

da da da, daaaaaaaa = running away (see also do do do, ta, ta ta ta)

dan = bang, boom, sudden impact

Dobi = missed kick

don = BIG impact

don = sometimes added to a scene for dramatic effect, to show that something astonishing or important has happened (see also ban)

doron, dororonpa = the sound of magical transformation (see also bon, pon, pom)

shiiin = the sound of staring, of silence, or of remaining frozen/ motionless. Often used in djs to indicate that a character is moved beyond words, stunned beyond words, or just generally beyond words. (see also jiiiin)

shiku shiku = sobbing, whimpering

shire = shrug (we think) Definitely a strange 'don't look at me' look.

zuru, zuru zuru = something heavy dragging or being pulled

zururu = slurp (see jururu)

zusasa = zu (vigorous) plus sasa (quick motion). We've seen it used for a quick scuttling recoil.

zuzu = sip (see also zuru)

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