Do you like manga and anime? If you do, you probably know about Japanese onomatopoeia. As a Japanese learner, you may have wondered if it is necessary to learn onomatopoeia words. The answer is yes! Learning Japanese onomatopoeia is a must if you want to speak fluently in Japanese. Today we will learn about onomatopoeia and how to use them. Also, we will see 29 of the most useful Japanese onomatopoeias so that you can include them in your daily vocabulary immediately.
Are you ready? 始めましょう！
What Are Onomatopeia?
Onomatopoeia refers to a word or expression that represents sound effects. Other languages also use them, but not as frequently as Japanese. For example, there are many English onomatopoeia that mimic the sounds of animals (quack, roar), humans (clap, gulp), and objects (boom, click). Japanese people use オノマトペ(onomatopeia) in daily life not only to mimic actual sounds but also to describe feelings. A sound effect resembling “emotional feelings” or “sensations” doesn’t exist in other languages.
Types Of Japanese Onomatopeia
There are five kinds of Japanese onomatopoeia:
1. Giongo (擬音語)
Refers to natural and inanimate sounds
2. Gitaigo (擬態語)
Words that somehow describe conditions and states.
3. Giseigo (擬声語)
Words that mimic actual animal and human sounds.
4. Giyougo (擬容語)
Sounds that are used to describe movements and motions.
5. Gijougo (擬情語)
Sounds to express feelings or emotions.
How To Use Japanese Onomatopoeia?
Japanese onomatopoeia is usually used as adjectives, but they function as adverbs, too. There is no strict way to write them. Some authors say that it’s “better” to use both of the Japanese writing systems: hiragana for “soft sounds” and katakana for “hard sounds” or emphasis. However, that’s not mandatory. You don’t need to overthink this! You can use either and just focus on the context.
You can use these mimetic words in conversational Japanese to sound more natural and expressive. However, since there are thousands of them, it is recommended that you learn the most common ones first. Pay close attention when you are reading manga, watching doramas, or listening to a conversation in Japanese. The best way to learn onomatopoeia words is to see them in action.
Alright, enough about theory! Let’s see more examples.
28 Surprising Japanese Onomatopoeia
- Anoko wa aisukurīmu o peropero namete imasu.
- That girl is licking her ice cream.
- Ashita kara ryokōnanode wakuwaku shite imasu.
- I’m excited because I’m traveling from tomorrow.
- 彼は何かを言いたそうに もじもじ しています。
- Kare wa nanika wo iita-sō ni mojimoji shite imasu.
- He is fidgeting as if he wants to say something.
- Otōto wa tenisu ga dandan umaku natte imasu.
- My younger brother is getting better and better at tennis.
- Kare no kotoba ni wa itsumo kyunkyun shite imasu.
- His words always make me quiver.
Are You Ready To Express Your Feelings With Onomatopeia?
As you can see, the Japanese language is quite versatile. Onomatopoeia words allow you to describe things you would not be able to in another language. So, enhance your communication with Japanese onomatopoeic expressions and connect with your Japanese friends on a different level. If you want to supercharge your language-learning process on this topic, there’s nothing more that we can recommend than the Ling App! Check it out below!
Master Japanese Onomatopeia With Ling
Are you ready to practice Japanese onomatopoeia?
The Ling App offers you a unique experience, where you can access hundreds of gamified activities that will allow you to learn Japanese while having fun. So make the most of your time with bite-size lessons you can complete in 15 minutes. The best part? You can download it for free from the App Store or Play Store.
Want to further enhance your skills? Combine your Ling lessons with our weekly blogs, where you will learn vocabulary, grammar, and everything you need to speak Japanese like a pro. Happy learning!