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Onomatopoeia words are sound words; they resemble the sounds they mean. Take, for example, the word “bang”: “He lifted the gun and — bang, bang, bang! — he shot three times.” They are often used in comics or poetry, where sound is important.
Many onomatopoeia words come from the sounds of vehicles and machines. “Crash” is a sound word you probably already know. You can hear the terrible sound of a train crash in the word “crash.” A train chugs along like the sound of an old steam train. Toddlers will say a train “goes choo-choo.” A car or train may screech to a stop with the sound of the brakes. Fast cars go “vroom!”
Machines or noisy objects will bam, clang, clank, clatter and clink. When you say the words out loud, you can hear the noisy machine, can’t you? A household alarm clock rings and a computer beeps when it wants to tell you something.
Many animal sounds are onomatopoeia. A dog barks or woofs, a cat meows or purrs, a duck quacks and a chicken clucks. Onomatopoeia can be either verbs or nouns in English. You can say “my dog is barking loudly” or “my dog has a very loud bark.” Or you will see “bark bark bark” written in a speech bubble next to a barking dog in a cartoon.
Snakes hiss. People also hiss as a sign of disapproval. An audience watching a terrible performance will hiss to let the performers know that they aren’t enjoying it. If you say something to someone quietly and with anger, this is also called hissing: “‘Be quiet!’ hissed Tom to the children.” (Rob Horn)
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This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.