Examples of Onomatopoeia

Definition of Onomatopoeia


We have all passed by at the time of acquiring our mother tongue by the childgame to imitate the different voices or sounds of animals, the dog: wow; the cat: meow-miau; the frog: cro-cro; the cow: muuuu; the rooster: kikiriqui; the wolf: auuuuuuuu. The moment we pronounce these words we are making use of Onomatopeya. But what exactly is it?

According to the Royal Spanish Academy of Language onomatopeya is the verbal imitation of a sound, that is, a word that tries to imitate a specific sound or visual effect. In this sense, Onomatopeya is a word that tries to establish a motivation for the linguistic sign, which is conventional and unmotivated, that is to say that it has no relationship or link to what it seeks to represent.

To better illustrate this, it would suffice to ask, for example, what is the relationship between the word chair and the object to which it refers? No. In the case of Onomatopeya the speaker would be trying to make (unconsciously clear) that the signifier actually resembles or relates some kind of relationship to meaning.


Some linguists have defended Onomatopoeia as a natural and individual feature of the speaker, however they are also part of the convention, being passed down from generation to generation, and are present in all known languages, each having its own ways of emulating sounds or visual phenomena (such as the word Zig-Zag that tries to verbally mimic the shape an object takes in its displacement).

Spelling and uses

Onomatopea differs from language to language, and has a specific spelling in each language, even if they refer to the same object: for example, in Spanish the word muuu is used to refer to the muir of the cow, but it changes according to the language.

So in German it is muh; in French: meuh; In English: moo; and in Hungarian: bú. Thus it also happens that there are languages where there is a greater presence of them than in others. For example, Japanese is defined by most linguists as one of the languages that has the most presence of this linguistic phenomenon, being able to find only for the act of walking at least seventeen onomatopeas, among the hundreds that exist in the Japanese language .

In the case of Spanish we also find several onomatopoeia that we use daily to imitate the voices of some animals, the sound of some machines, illustrate some action, and in short enrich our speech, since, the Onomatopoeia also plays an important role in each speaker’s language proficiency, which uses these words to help make their speech as explicit as possible. Examples of onomatopea in English may include:

Animal voices

Meow: cat sound, called meowing

Glu-Glu: sound produced by drinking a liquid

Bzz-Bzz: sound belonging to the buzz of the bee

Quiquiquiquiquiquiqui: onomatopeya used to imitate the crowing of the rooster

Pio-pio: sound used to represent the piar of the chicks

Wow: sound that seeks to imitate the dog’s bark

Cuack-cuack: words used to mimic the sound that ducks make

Cro-cro: onomatopeya used to represent the croaking of frogs

Muuuuu: voice that mimics the cow’s moan

Oink-oink: a word that aims to emulate the sound made by pigs

Uho-uho: sound that seeks to imitate the owl’s ulular

Grrrrrrrrr rr arrggg grrrrrrrr: sound used to mimic the growl of a wild animal

Iiiiihiiiiii: sound that purports to imitate the horse’s squealing

Cri-cri: onomatopeya used to mimic the sound of crickets at night

Cua-cua-qua-cua: sound used to emulate the cloquear of hens

Beeeee: word that tries to imitate the balar

Auuuuu: onomatopeya used to mimic wolf howling

Voices to mimic machine sounds

Ding-dong: sound referring to the folding of the bells

Tic-tac: sound that emulates the clock’s walk

Bang-Bang: words used to emulate gunfire

Crash: sound to mimic a hit or crash between vehicles

Click: onomatopea used to mimic the sound produced by pressing a button

Ring: Word used to emulate the sound the phone makes when it receives a call

Zas: Sound that serves to illustrate a blow or sudden action

Boom: word used to represent the sound of an explosion

Voices used to evoke sensations

Oh, even though it’s listed as an interjection, some linguists categorize it as an onomatopea that would be pointing to the presence of pain in the speaker.

Buuuuu!: sound used to indicate contempt, a booing.

Hip!: word used to mimic the sound someone makes when they’re being

Muuuuac!: onomatopeaya used to emulate the sound of a kiss

Paff!: Sound used to mimic a slap

Ha ha ha: words used to imitate laughter

Ñomi-ñomi: word used to refer to the act of eating

Buaaaaa-Buaaaaa: words used to mimic crying

Chssss: Sound used to ask someone to be silent

Image source: containfo.com

Examples of Onomatopoeia
Source: Education  
August 28, 2019


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