Questions tagged [sound-symbolism]

音象徴語. Japanese sound symbolism, i.e. the representation of sounds, states, or mannerisms using words such as どきどき or きらきら.

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11
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3answers
15k views

Is “あらら” (arara) a word or just a “vocal noise”?

A friend just wrote this as a comment on a photo of mine on Facebook. Is it an actual word or is it what I call a "vocal noise"? By "vocal noise" I mean those things which convey some meaning but ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are there so many sound symbolic words?

Wikipedia states that "sound symbolic words occur more often in Japanese than in English..." Indeed, Amazon.jp has a 4500-word dictionary just for these words. Is there any research or solid ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Is the scream “gya” masculine and “kya” feminine?

I don't speak Japanese, but I notice in some manga (like Mr. Fullswing for example), male characters tend to scream "gya" or "guwa" while female characters tend to scream "kya". Is it true that "gya" ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Desu pronounced dess: what about other words? [duplicate]

On a CD that came with my text book I hear that desu is pronounced dess. Are there many other words in Japanese, where done of the sound from the kana spelling actually falls off, like in this example,...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

What does the onomatopoeia ジワリと mean?

I tried going to my sound effect dictionary for this one but nothing came up, any help in figuring out what that bolded bit of the sentence means is much appreciated. ジワリと赤い血が滴り落ちる。
1
vote
2answers
365 views

Do the Japanese speak with On and Kun in daily conversation?

I am trying to wrap my head around how the Japanese speak and how that differs from kanji. On and Kun makes a difference when reading kanji, depending usually how the sentence is made up of kanas and ...