Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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(3,551 words)

Onomatopoeia (nǐshēngcí 擬聲詞 or xiàngshēngcí 象聲詞) are mimetic or “echoic” words (Chapman 1984:38) and expressions like hiss (in Mandarin 噓), snort (háo 嚎), and bang (pēng 砰) that are used to imitate the things or, more accurately, the sounds they refer to (Preminger and Brogan 1993:860). Classifications according to type of sound distinguish between the mimicry of human vocalizations, such as the ejections eek! and ow! (āiyō 哎喲), bodily sounds like groan or grumble (gūlūlū 咕嚕嚕) and the pitter-patter of running feet (jījīgāgā 嘰嘰嘠嘠), sounds produced by animals, such as woof or bow-wow

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Patricia MUELLER-LIU, “Onomatopoeia”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 31 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000308>
First published online: 2015

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