Sunday, March 1, 2009


Onomatopoeia (also spelled onomatopœia, from Greek: ονοματοποιΐα) is easier to define than it is to spell or say. It is what my wife does every time we pass ducks swimming on the canal. It is the sounds Scouts make when they are being especially rude and bothersome. In English, it is word or name creation usually popular in comic books and generally found in Calvin and Hobbs strips as in the sounds made by snowballs "whiff." Perhaps my ears are really bad, but I have yet to hear the sound of a snowball except when one hits my head, whap, sqwoosh, swat, pow.

English slang is full of onomatopoeia. So is Spanish, all you have to do is read Mafalda to know that. If we spent more time inventing words and less time using the ones we have, maybe the world would be a better place, splat, crunch, paf paf paf, clank.

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