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Are there any rules for reading "!" as an onomatopoeia?

 先刻、 ! ! ! ! ! !  

 と、喫茶店ナイルの時計が、私の肩の上で鳴ったが、黒住は、まだ現れなかった。

蘭{らん} 郁二郎{いくじろう} 著 『蝕眠譜{しょくみんふ}』 青空文庫 No.43433

  • Does " ! " have a reading as an onomatopoeia in English? – Yuuichi Tam Dec 2 '15 at 15:28
  • @YuuichiTam We don't use "!" like this in English. – Robin Dec 2 '15 at 16:01
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    We rarely use "!" like this and I think there are no rules for reading "!" as an onomatopoeia. – Yuuichi Tam Dec 2 '15 at 16:14
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    @YuuichiTam Yup. That could be an answer, then. OP saw it in a real Japanese book, though, so it's a reasonable question. – Robin Dec 2 '15 at 17:12
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    It's likely that it's not meant to be read at all, only to know that's it's associated with a noise rather than an utterance. The reader sounds a chime in their head, rather than saying words or onomatopoeia. – sqrtbottle Dec 2 '15 at 18:58
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It depends on the clock.

For a big tower clock, it's ビーン・ボーン, with one of each for each peal. For a small radio clock, ピー is probably an appropriate rendition, and for a water clock, カタッン might very well be the way to go.

Ultimately, there's no entirely right answer, and it very much depends on the context in particular and specifically.

Simply reading it as "The sound this clock makes to mark the hour." to your mind's eye is probably the most appropriate.

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I have seen this mark "!" used in an old English language comic, albeit translated from French. It was used to denote the sound of the pips of the official clock one could telephone (the service may well still exist). I imagine if you had to verbalise the pip tones in Japanese you would say 「ピー」

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It's not an answer to your question directly but out of interest "!" does have a reading in both English and Japanese. In English it can be read as bang' and in Japanese it can be read as ビックリ.

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