Do you know the right words to describe a certain action or sound in the Korean language? Are you aware of the difference between Korean onomatopoeia and mimetic words? In this blog post, we will walk you through all these important constructs and provide proper examples for you to learn from. Let's get started!
Onomatopoeia and mimetic words are the words that represent sounds. Onomatopoeia and mimetic words are similar somewhat, but mimetic words are used more to describe movements, while onomatopoeia is particularly for sounds. These words are found in every language and add beauty to it. In Korean, these words are a part of Hangul which are Korean alphabets.
Here we are going to discuss Korean mimetic words and Korean onomatopoeia words. These words are a unique kind of vocabulary that adds specialty to Korean. Vitae is a Korean word for them. And it is called 의태어.
Korean onomatopoeia is the word for sounds of animals and objects as well.
Korean mimetic words and Korean onomatopoeia also help in learning the Korean language as these words contain Korean dialects.
These fun Korean words are different from English onomatopoeia words, example sentences would be the sound of a dog which is woof woof in English, and Mekong Mekong in Korean.
An example sentence would more clear the concept if you say that I heard a few bikes pass by doing vroom vroom in my street. In this sentence, vroom is an English mimetic indicating the sound of bikes. However, Koreans would indicate the bike's vrooming differently i.e 부릉 부릉 (bu reung bu reung).
Mimetics and onomatopoeia have one main difference, which is, that onomatopoeia describes sounds, but mimetic words are found to describe movement. An example would solve the remaining knots in your mind. Imagine a street mime that got stuck in some box. He has movements but can't speak, so those motions are described by mimetics. Korean onomatopoeia is very cool to listen to as well.
Nature has given lots of unique facts to Korea and one of them is their mimetic words. These mimetic words and onomatopoeia are so catchy because of their richness, that they are also called colorful words as they add many colors to the words, sounds, and movements.
Koreans who have to explain these onomatopoeic words to foreigners, find it tough to describe the meaning and pronunciation of these words.
의태어 (vitaeeo) is the Korean word used to describe Korean mimetics. Following are some mimetic words used in Korea.
This is the word that describes twinkling or glittering. Mostly associated with sparkling things. When you observe and hear such things you realize this sound. It describes also the sound of Jewelry.
This is used to describe heart throbbing, for example, if you see your crush in your college and whenever you have the feeling that the person is around, your heart starts throbbing. Moreover, in conversation with the person you love and during a kiss as well, you observe this sound.
This is the sound that describes rain pouring. This one is associated with the sound of dripping and is also written as a churok churok in Korean.
This word describes thump notices, like the sound of your shoes while going upstairs. This Korean alphabet also describes the sound of dripping anything on the floor.
This one describes the blazing hot sun.
This is a mimetic word for a gentle breeze. This is a Korean letter for demonstration of softness and gentleness.
This is for the description of chewy food like snacks etc. Chewy food makes a sound and Koreans demonstrated this sound through the onomatopoeia MallangMallang.
All these words are a romanticized form to read Korean and make it easy for the people who want to learn Korean.
There are Korean onomatopoeic words for animal sounds as well.
Learning these words enhances your vocabulary and is a fun activity as well. Korean comics help with learning Korean as well. You can't be an expert on the first day and sometimes people make fun and comment in the beginning on the pronunciation specifically, but you need to just enjoy the language rather than focusing on the demotivators.
Here is a list of some Korean words which can be used to describe the actions.
|Action in English||Action in Korean||Romanized Hangul||Korean Mimetic||Romanized Hangul|
|Eating Happily||행복하게 먹기||haengboghage meoggi||냠냠냠||nyam nyam nyam|
|Knock||노크||nokeu||똑똑똑||ttog ttog ttog|
|Mumble||중얼중얼||jung eol jung eol||중얼중얼||jung eol jung eol|
|Confused||혼란스러운||honlanseuleoun||헐레 벌떡||heolle beol tteog|
|Police Siren||경찰 사이렌||gyeongchal sailen||삐뽀삐뽀||bbi bbo bbi boo|
|Dripping water||떨어지는 물||tteol eojineun mul||뚜벅뚜벅||ttubeog ttubeog|
One way which works the best is by learning through the poems and one such poem to learn the Korean onomatopoeic words in Korean is 멋쟁이 토마토 (meosjaeng-i tomato) which is known as A Stylish Tomato.
Below are the lines from the poems which you can learn from.
나는야 주스 될거야 꿀꺽 (naneun-ya juseu doelgeoya kkulkkeog)
나는야 케첩 될거야 찍 (naneun-ya kecheob doelgeoya jjig)
나는야 춤을 출거야 헤이 (aneun-ya chum-eul chulgeoya hei)
뽐내는 토마토 토마토 (ppomnaeneun tomato tomato)
The direct translations of the first three lines are
I'm gonna be the juice gulp
I'm gonna be ketchup
I'm gonna dance hey
Flamboyant tomato tomato
꿀꺽 (kkul kkeog) is a Korean word for the sound of a gulp. You can use it while you describe drinking anything. 찍 (jjig) is a word that is used to describe the sound of a liquid coming out of a bottle or tube-like ketchup.
We are happy to educate you about the Korean onomatopoeia and mimetic words and now you should be aware of the different sounds in Korean! Ling App brings you wonderful opportunities of learning the Korean language more effectively. You should learn the Korean letters and the basic phrases in Korean if you haven't started already! You can also learn about the endearing phrases and saying cheers in Korea. Feel free to comment down below anything that you would like to submit as the feedback since we are always willing to make amendments according to the work your suggestions.