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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Examples of Onomatopoeia Poetry

See also Onomatopoeia Poems on Funny Rhymes

"Onomatopoeia" might sound like a funny word in English. However, knowing the meaning of this funny word can lead us into discovering a universe of even funnier words. It is a known fact that language is a social convention and words are mere instruments invented by man to communicate facts, feelings, and ideas. Most of the times, nothing in the way a word sounds like bears any ressemblance to the object or action it refers to.

There’s nothing in the letters of the word „blue” that looks like blue, there’s nothing in the word „song” that sounds like a song. The only reason why we know what „blue” or „song” refer to is because we have learned their meaning. But what about when we say „meow”, „quack quack” or „woof woof”? Could we figure out what these words stand for without learning their meaning? Most probable, if we had a cat or a dog around.

An onomatopoeia is a word or a combination of words that imitates sounds from real life. These can be animal noises such as „meow”, „woof”, „quack”, „ribbit”, „cuckoo”, words suggesting an impact between two or more objects such as „bang”, „splash”, „boom”, „click”, „clang” or any other word suggesting a sound or an action accompanied by a sound („beep”, „buzz”, „hiccup”, etc.).

One would expect that onomatopoeias should be the same in all languages. Funny enough, different languages perceive the same sound in different ways, dependind on the phonetic structure of that particular language and on other factors. Therefore, although a cat is just a cat anywhere around the world, an English cat will say „meow”, a French one „miaou”, a Japanese one „nyan” and a Chinese „mao”. Of course, it’s not the cats who make different sounds, it’s people who interpret them differently.

To read more about animals, the noises they make and the way various languages interpret them, go to Noises animals make in different languages.

To view a complex list of onomatopoeias from different areas of life, visit Written Sounds.

Onomatopoeia is also used in poetry as a powerful literary / poetic device. Onomatopoeias in a poem often create a stronger effect and a more vivid image than conventional words and they are better at expressing emotions or moods. One can often find onomatopoeias in nursery rhymes because they are funny and kids can relate to them more easily.

Here are some examples of Onomatopoeia poetry taken from nursery rhymes and not only.
Five Little Ducks

Old McDonald
Alice the Camel
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo (From "Cinderella")
Horsey horsey
Of Sound Mind by Patrick Winstanley

Onomatopoeia Poems by Lee Emmett:
Bake a Cake
Wash, Wash, Wash
Wind and Rain
Running Water
Swimmers’ Strokes

Last but not least, our little poem on Funny Rhymes:
A Dog Saw A Cat On A Lonely Roof

I'm sure there are many more examples of onomatopoeia poetry online but I chose just a few to illustrate this figure of speech and its amazingly funny effects.

Further Documentation on Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia and word origins
If You Were Onomatopoeia (Word Fun)
KA-BOOM! A Dictionary of Comic Book Words, Symbols & Onomatopoeia
Clang Went the Cymbals: An Onomatopoeia Alphabet Book
Cock-A-Doodle Doo!: What Does It Sound Like to You?/Learning Sounds in Other Languages
Who Says a Dog Goes Bow-Wow?
Hear! Here!: Sounds Around the World

See also Onomatopoeia Poems on Funny Rhymes.  

1 comment:

Julie said...

this rhyming thing is so helpful i am in 5th grade and i had to wright i 2 page report on poetry and evan though poetry doent half to rhyme this was a big help !!!!