Internet searches produce lists of onomatopoeia/mimetic words, but I have found little guidance about how and when to use—or not use—them. Besides scouring this website, I’ve looked at as many other sites as I could find without securing answers to the following questions.
One writer stated that these words can be used as adverbs, adjectives, or verbs, giving the examples:
• はっきりと話す (speak plainly) adverb
• はっきりとした赤と青 (clear red and blue) adjective
• 記憶をはっきりさせる (refresh one's memory) verb.
Another writer commented, “Some gitaigo may be used like nouns: びしょびしょになる (become wet).” [my emphasis added] Is there some pattern that determines which ones can be used as nouns and which cannot?
Some writers say that it is optional whether one adds the particle と after the mimetic word, one person on this website stating that と makes the expression slightly more formal. So is it fair to say that there are no possible etiquette or grammar stumbles in adding/not adding that particle?
I am guessing that the と following these words serves the same purpose as it does immediately after quotations. Is this so?
Are there situations in which using these kinds of words would be inappropriate? If so, when/where?
Finally, is it acceptable, or perhaps even commonplace, for people to use their own interpretations of sounds, feelings, or emotions rather than the words given in lists? For example, the foxes where I live do not bark in a way that sounds like コンコン. To me, the sound is ヤッーヤッー. And the frogs around here don’t seem to call ケロケロ, but rather ウリープッウリープッ. I understand that mimetic words are learned/memorized in the same ways as other words, but some people also invent new words that are immediately understood by their listeners/readers.
Apologies for asking so many questions in one post, but this vocabulary category is a new frontier for me, and I’ve found limited usage guidance.