Japanese Onomatopeia

onomatopoeia

a classic disney onomatopoeia

You might remember learning about onomatopoeia in grade school. You probably enjoyed saying these words out loud and marveling at the fact that they sound the way they are spelled. In English, it’s words like “pop” “meow” and “whoosh”. The Japanese language is filled with symbolic ideophones, or words that evoke a feeling, memory or vivid image. Hira hira is Japanese onomatopoeia that means “to flutter”. Kira kira means to sparkle. When a Japanese person hears the word kirakira, it is like they can actually se things that are sparkly. To English-speaking people, these words might now sound like what they mean, but that’s the beauty of different languages. Here are some more Japanese words that are really fun to say. Practice saying them with your little citizen to make the foreign a little more familiar in your home. Can they name things that take on these attributes?

nurunuru

nurunuru – slimy
What in your world is slimy?

pikapika

pikapika – bright
What is something that is bright to you?

wakuwaku

wakuwaku – excited
What makes you excited?

iraira

iraira – angry
What makes you angry?

guzuguzu

guzuguzu – moving slowly
What moves really slowly?

kurukuru

kurukuru – spinning around
What makes you spin around? How many times can you spin around without getting dizzy?

kosokoso

kosokoso – walking quietly
Who or what walks really quietly? Can you walk quietly?

gochagocha

gochagocha – messy
When was the last time you were messy?

garagara

garagara – empty
What is currently empty in your house? The garbage? The bathtub?

tsurutsuru

tsurutsuru – smooth
What around you is smooth?

 

Make sure to share your little citizen’s answers and experiences with onomatopoeia with us in the comments below!

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