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February 24, 2007

Beep Beep!

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (198-225) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

In its broader sense, onomatopoeia means using words in such a way that they seem to exemplify what they denote, not just in terms of sound but also of such qualities as pacing, force, touch, movement, or duration as well" (221).

I have known what onomatopoeia means for years. It is one of those lit terms that you learn in school that actually sticks with you because it just sounds cool and because, of course, who doesn't want to know the name of words like "moo" and "squeak"? Anyway, just this year I keep learning more about them. I always thought onomatopoeia was just words to describe sounds. Then while doing research for a paper last semester I found out about the words actually resembling the sound they represent. Even after that I never thought about how they can represent actions and other things that appeal to the senses. Language is so cool. It fascinates me.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 24, 2007 12:22 AM


That's so cool. I've never thought about onomatopoeias being words other than "bonk!" and "pow!" But the examples they use in "I felt a Funeral in my Brain" definitely still represent sounds without being actual sounds. Subtle things like the repetition of "treading" and "beating" really create the sounds for you as well as create tension.

Posted by: Matt Henderson at February 24, 2007 1:14 PM

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