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さくら: さくらです。
Peter: Peter here. Onomatopoeia lesson 1, Getting Started. Sakura san
さくら: はい。
Peter: Welcome to the wonderful world of Onomatopoeia.
さくら: Yes you could see it. It’s a big word, isn’t it, Onomatopoeia, I couldn’t say it properly.
Peter: And to let you in on, kind of a secret we’ve been practicing.
さくら: Yes Onomatopoeia.
Peter: Onomatopoeia. Sakura san, what is Onomatopoeia?
さくら: According to the dictionary, Onomatopoeia is the formation of a word from a sound associated with its name, sound.
Peter: Examples in English include words like?
さくら: Crash
Peter: And
さくら: Splash.
Peter: The sounds of the words imitate the meaning. I think another really good way to see this is animals. Many animal sounds like
さくら: ばうわう
Peter: And
さくら: めえ~~
Peter: But that’s a really good one. Our examples of onomatopoeia.
さくら: Onomatopoeia.
Peter: I also think of comic books. Have you ever seen an American comic book?
さくら: Yes bang and…
Peter: Like in the bite scene, yes Bang Pow Whack Bam.
さくら: Yes, yes. そうそうそうそう、ね。
Peter: Now all of these are words that represent sounds or kind of imitate sounds. Now the Japanese language has tons of, Sakura san?
さくら: Onomatopoeia.
Peter: So if you are going to take your Japanese to the next level, you need to become familiar with as many of them as possible but Japanese onomatopoeia. See I kind of put it together. I kept saying onomatopoeia but onomatopoeia is not only useful, Sakura san,
さくら: But it’s also fun.
Peter: So good.
さくら: It is, it is fun though.
Peter: But really it’s fun.
さくら: Yes, yes.
Peter: Just the delivery…So we hope you will enjoy this series because this will really give you an inside look into onomatopoeia and in Japanese, it’s used to touch high frequency levels that becoming familiar with this is really the key to taking your Japanese to the next level.
さくら: Yes I think so.
Peter: Okay let’s take a look at Japanese onomatopoeia. Sakura san, in Japanese, how many types of onomatopoeia are there?
さくら: There are two types.
Peter: What’s the first kind?
さくら: 擬音語
Peter: And the second type.
さくら: 擬態語
Peter: There are two types because some Japanese onomatopoeia don’t actually mimic sounds but they do use the same techniques. Let’s take a look at the two types. The first type, one more time?
さくら: 擬音語
Peter: Just break it down.
さくら: (slow) ぎおんご (natural speed)擬音語
Peter: These are the true onomatopoeia. Basically they mimic sounds just like the English onomatopoeia. How about the second type?
さくら: 擬態語  (slow) ぎたいご (natural speed)擬態語
Peter: Now on the other hand, these words attempt to use similar sound patterns as 擬音語even though they don’t mimic actual sounds. The key to understanding the second type is, the Chinese characters that make up the word and primarily the second character. The second character is
さくら: 態
Peter: So the key to understanding 擬態語 is the characters, the Chinese characters that is. So what’s the meaning of that character 態
さくら: Condition.
Peter: So this type represents a feeling or condition, not a sound. Now we are going to elaborate on this and I believe the difference will become clear but this is one of the really interesting characteristics in Japanese. In English, we have almost none of these. We have almost all of the first kind. Words that mimic sounds but not the second type, words that represent feelings or emotions or conditions. So this is where Japanese gets fun. Sakura san, let’s have an example of each kind. First let’s have an example of
さくら: 擬音語
Peter: Which mimics sounds. Sakura san お願いします。
さくら: ドアがバタンと閉まった。
Peter: The door closed with a bang. What’s the onomatopoeia in this sentence?
さくら: バタン、バタン、Bang.
Peter: And it mimics the sound the door made. Okay how about an example of the second type which is
さくら: 擬態語
Peter: Now again, if you remember the meaning of the second kanji character in this word, condition, this is going to be a word that represents a feeling or some kind of state or condition. Sakura san, example please.
さくら: 明日はデートだ。ウキウキする。
Peter: I am going on a date tomorrow, I am excited but it’s kind of like Sakura san, would this be okay? My heart is bouncing.
さくら: うん、そうですね。
Peter: Now what is the onomatopoeia in this sentence?
さくら: ウキウキIt describes happy and bounding mood.
Peter: Now is it ウキウキ
さくら: It’s not うっき it’s ウキウキ. You don’t need the small つ
Peter: And is this related to the verb 浮くto float?
さくら: Maybe.
Peter: I guess we will look at that a little – check the comments. Now a couple more additional notes. You will notice that many Japanese onomatopoeia are repetitive. Basically Sakura san, what does this mean?
さくら: Like ぺこぺこ
Peter: That is the syllables or pair of syllables are often repeated. For example
さくら: ぺこぺこ
Peter: Means empty stomach and it repeats the syllables
さくら: ペコ
Peter: Also Japanese onomatopoeia can be used as adverbs. Adjective like words, parts of adjectival phrases and as verbs when they are combined with suru and やるand other verbs depending on the onomatopoeia. In these lessons, you will see how to use each onomatopoeia correctly. Now Sakura san, anything we should kind of pay attention to about the writing system?
さくら: Yes onomatopoeia are not written in kanji, but it’s usually hiragana or katakana.
Peter: So keep this in mind when you are reading Japanese. If you see two katakana or two hiragana repeated, Sakura san, chances are
さくら: It could be onomatopoeia.
Peter: Okay. So Sakura san, that’s going to do it for this lesson.
さくら: はい。
Peter: We hope that you enjoyed this introduction lesson to…
さくら: Onomatopoeia. 擬音語と擬態語


Peter: And we look forward to exploring this exciting world of onomatopoeia with you over the coming weeks. This is going to be a 25-lesson series and throughout in each lesson, we are going to cover different onomatopoeia and this is really going to add some muscle to your Japanese.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: Fun, really interesting to use and the better you get at these, the more you will understand around you and it will really improve your fluency quite a bit. In the mean time, please visit the website and leave us a post. That’s going to do it for today.
さくら: またね。


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