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Onomatopoeia words are great ways to describe how a person sounds when they talk. Words beginning with “gr” — like “grunt, growl and groan” — tend to indicate harder sounds that come from the back of the throat. “I asked my teenage son to get up for school. He groaned that he was too tired to get up.” “The men grunted as they tried to lift the heavy table.” On the other hand, words beginning with “mu,” like “mumble and murmur,” are spoken softly or without moving the lips much. “Eventually, my son got up and mumbled something to say he was ready for school.”
Sounds from nature are common onomatopoeia words — the rustle of leaves, the whoosh and whizz of wind, the gentle flutter of the wings of a bird, the flash of lightning and the rumble of thunder. Drip, drop, pitter patter, drizzle, dribble, sprinkle and splash all express the sound of water and rain. Can you imagine what the water is doing from the sound of the word?
Just like in Japanese, there is a rich variety of informal onomatopoeia found in cartoons. You can imagine the fight between two characters with words like “Pow! Smash! Boom! Blam! Kaboom!” The bad guy falls to the ground with a loud “thud!”
Try using onomatopoeia when speaking English with your friends for dramatic or poetic effect.
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.