Sunday, June 26, 2011


How do we explain slight difference or situation to other people in our conversation ?  I think Japanese often use onomatopoeia and it is easy for us to explain things, feeling, atmosphere or situation concretely.  Especially there are a lot of onomatopoeias of repeating one word twice. We can understand several shades of meaning more clearly. 

We can express actual sound by onomatopoeia.
 Pan Pan , Pata Pata : a pat or hitting something
 Don Don : beat a drum 
 Bun Bun : the sound that bees are humming 
 Gishi Gishi,  Mishi Mishi : the sound that something ginds   

For example, When we want to say softness of feather or cushions, we say  "it is so Fuwa Fuwa. ふわふわ. Or when we have dizziness, we say " my head gets Kura Kura くらくら, Gura Gura ぐらぐら, Fura Fura ふらふら." Impression of the situation changes by differences of initial letter. We imagine  "Kura Kura" and "Fura Fura" is slight dizziness but Gura Gura is heavy dizziness. We can express slight differences of dizziness

These words are a few of abundant onomatopoeia. Expression is different by each people, however, it is convenient to give many information and express various situations. 


Ken said...

こんにちは! Hi, I came across your website while searching for some Japanese phrases. I think it's fantastic that you take the time to share Japanese language and culture in English with everyone。 I'm already learning a few things that I hadn't before.


JIN said...

My favorite onomatopeia is Puni Puni(ぷにぷに). ;>
That mean is cute version "push push!".

( 〃ω〃)σ)Д`*)puni puni

クルッ(〃ω〃)σ) Д`*)ピタッ
Did you get it?

(クルッ kuru is a turn sound. ピタッ pita is a stop sound.)

Sweet Memory said...

Hello Ken, こんにちは!
Thank you for your first comment. I'm happy that you enjoy my blog and you are interested in Japanese culture and my country.

I think it is so hard to for foreign people learn Japanese. There are three kind of letters, kanji,kana and katakana. Especially kanji is very difficult to learn.

I hope you keep learning Japanese.

Sweet Memory said...

Hi, JIN.
Thank you for your comment. I think "puni puni" is new onomatopoeia. Off course, I understand the feeling of puni puni.

It will be interesting for other countries people. These words are useful in our conversation.

S said...

Dear Sweet Memory
Lovely post! :D

I like ''kira kira'', indicating a sparkling thing.

In Italian we write/say ''brill brill'', ahaha, I think in Japanese it is more serious!! :D

Anyhow, as for kanji learning, I think you are totally right :( I can actually speak japanese fairly wekk but I can hardly read it :(

cuteandcurls said...

Very interesting read about onomatopoeia in Japanese.