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Lesson Transcript

なおみ: Hello everyone. This is Naomi.
Peter: Peter here. Onomatopoeia Lesson 3. Sound and Non-Sound Imitations. Welcome to japanesepod101.com’s onomatopoeia series. In this series, we are exploring the wonderful world of Japanese onomatopoeia.
なおみ: そうですね。That’s right. We are studying Japanese onomatopoeia.
Peter: Onomatopoeia. It is the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. Examples in English include words like
なおみ: Crush and splash
Peter: Bam, bang, pow. The sounds of the words imitate the meaning. Also many animal sounds like
なおみ: Bowwow, meow!
Peter: Now Japanese has tons of onomatopoeia. So if you are going to take your Japanese to the next level, you will need to become familiar with as many of them as possible.
なおみ: But Japanese onomatopoeia is not only useful but it is also fun.
Peter: Really fun because there is such a wide selection. So without further adieu, let’s get into the wonderful world of Japanese onomatopoeia.
なおみ: はい。
Peter: Naomi Sensei, did you hear the previous lesson?
なおみ: Of course.
Peter: Were you in the previous lesson?
なおみ: No it was Sakura right?
Peter: Sakura.
なおみ: そう、可愛かった。
Peter: Yes.
なおみ: She was cute.
Peter: She is awesome.
なおみ: ワンワン、にゃんにゃんAnimal sounds.
Peter: That’s right.
なおみ: Do you know there is a kids song called 犬のおまわりさん
Peter: Dog police officer?
なおみ: そうそうそう。ワンワン、ワンワン、ワンワン、ワンワンっていう歌なんですけど。
Peter: Really?
なおみ: Yeah.
Peter: I never heard it. Is this song really popular?
なおみ: When I was a kid, it was pretty popular and I think it’s still popular.
Peter: All right. So let’s sing it.
なおみ: いやー、無理無理。 I can’t sing it because of the copyright.
Peter: We will take our chances.
なおみ: うーん、無理無理
Peter: And by the way 無理無理 is not a onomatopoeia.
なおみ: Impossible, impossible.
Peter: Yeah just
なおみ: Repeating the word.
Peter: For emphasis.
なおみ: はい。
Peter: Okay the two onomatopoeia we are talking about ワンワンand にゃんにゃんare called
なおみ: 擬音語
Peter: Imitation of a sound. In today’s lesson, we are going to introduce a type of onomatopoeia that works with both sound and non-sound senses. So basically, what this means is that some onomatopoeia in Japanese are not just for sounds but also can express the way someone looks, the way someone feels, the way something feels, the way something looks and to understand this concept is to really grasp onomatopoeia in Japanese and this is what this course will do. So are you ready Naomi Sensei?
なおみ: Of course.
Peter: Okay. Today we have one word. That is
なおみ: パラパラ
Peter: So we can’t translate this without the context. So just by hearing this word, we don’t know if it’s type 1 or type 2 onomatopoeia. What we have to do is hear it in context. So Naomi sensei, can we hear it in context?
なおみ: はい。私は本のページをパラパラとめくった。
Peter: One more time nice and slow.
なおみ: 私は本のページをパラパラとめくった。
Peter: I leafed through the book. Now in this case, パラバラis imitating the actual sound . Now we are going to look at the same word パラパラ but in this sentence, the パラパラis not representing a sound but rather an action. Naomi Sensei, can we have this sentence?
なおみ: 僕は雑誌をパラパラと見た In this case パラパラis referring to the skimming action. It means the person is not reading every single word of a book.
Peter: They are skimming through it.
なおみ: はい。
Peter: So picture someone with a book or magazine just flipping through with their finger kind of looking at the pictures, reading few words here and there and in this sentence, that’s what the パラパラ represents and in this incident, it’s not referring to the sound at all.
なおみ: そうですね。
Peter: It’s the action of the person skimming. So we just use the same word パラパラin two different instances. One via representative sound パラパラ the sound of the pages turning. Then we gave you a second nonsound example where パラパラrepresented the action of someone quickly flipping through the book. In the two examples, the sentences were different but I think if we can explain this, this will be the key to understanding onomatopoeia. We are going to give you a sample sentence and this sample sentence can mean two different things depending on the context. Previously I mentioned, we can’t translate onomatopoeia unless we hear them in context. This takes it to the ultimate test. Basically you have a sample sentence that you cannot derive the meaning from unless you know the context and Naomi Sensei, that sample sentence is.
なおみ: 雨がパラパラと降っている。
Peter: Which can mean it’s slightly raining or its raining here and there. Let’s take a look at the first one. It’s raining lightly or its light rain. Naomi Sensei, this is what type of onomatopoeia. It’s representing a
なおみ: Sound
Peter: Think of light rain and then Naomi is going to say the word three times.
なおみ: パラパラ、パラパラ、パラパラ
Peter: So the sound of the drops hitting something.
なおみ: パラパラパラパラパラパラ
Peter: So this one is based on the sound. Then the same exact sentence
なおみ: 雨がパラパラと降っている
Peter: It’s raining here and there.
なおみ: そうですね。It’s bit unnatural sample sentence.
Peter: But we are just going to stick with it just to exemplify this. Just bear with us. We are kind of stretching. We will give you better example afterwards but it’s raining here and there. So パラパラmeans separate. Think of the rain falling down you know. A rain drop falls here and then over there
なおみ: はい。
Peter: So the sound balance isn’t very natural. So here, then there, here, then there. Now in the rain, when it was actually raining and I am referring to the sound of the rain, those are the different sounds it makes. So let’s give you a correct example.
なおみ: 桜がパラパラと咲いている。
Peter: Cherry blossom started blooming here and there. So think of a bunch of cherry trees clustered together and when they first start to bloom, you have a little on the left side, a little on the right side. It’s not completely bloom yet. They just started here and there.
なおみ: そうですね。パラパラ
Peter: And separate, completely unrelated to the sound. So Naomi Sensei, this one word パラパラfrom it, we derived four meanings.
なおみ: そうですね。
Peter: Depending on the context. They were?
なおみ: The actual sound パラパラ、パラパラ
Peter: And that was a sound of pages being turned or rain falling.
なおみ: Right.
Peter: Then the nonsound
なおみ: Skimming action.
Peter: The action and
なおみ: Here and there
Peter: So two sounds, two non sounds. Okay now be sure to pick up the transcript for this lesson. Again, this one is a very, very important one to really understand the difference between the onomatopoeia based on sound and the onomatopoeia based on the appearance, the outward appearance of something. Naomi Sensei, did you read the transcript for this lesson?
なおみ: Yeah of course I did. Did you?
Peter: はい。パラパラと So I kind of skimmed through it.
なおみ: そうですね。You didn’t look at every single word of the script.
Peter: In the next lesson, we have a word that sounds very similar to today’s word.
なおみ: そうですね。Same repeat word.


Peter: But the meaning is completely different and it’s very, very useful. That’s all for this lesson. Now remember, learning onomatopoeia is essential for greater fluency and for taking your Japanese to the next level. Be sure to stop by the website japanesepod101.com and pick up the lesson notes. There you will find the detailed write up of onomatopoeia that appeared in this lesson. Also on the website, you can access some of the previous lessons. With the basic or premium membership, you can access all the audio and lesson notes from this and other lessons. To find out more, stop by japanesepod101.com. That’s going to do for this lesson.
なおみ: じゃあまた。


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